Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly Are Aquaman and Bumblebee?

Film critic Christy Lemire breaks down what to expect if you're taking the whole fam to see the latest DCEU movie or the Transformers prequel.

by | December 21, 2018 | Comments

With a total of seven new films either opening in wide release or expanding from limited this weekend, it’s no surprise that at least three of them will be competing to draw in younger viewers. Of those three, two are rated PG-13, namely the latest entry in the DC Extended Universe and a prequel to the Transformers franchise. Both have gotten solid reviews, but exactly how much do each of them lean into that PG-13 rating? Christy Lemire offers the parental perspective on both, in case you’re in the mood to treat the family to a pre-Christmas big screen adventure.


NOW IN THEATERS

Aquaman (2018) 65%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.

Over-the-top, underwater adventures abound in this insane DC Comics prequel from Furious 7 director James Wan. Jason Momoa stars as the titular superhero, a half-human, half-Atlantean living on the land who reluctantly accepts that he must take his place as heir to the throne of Atlantis in the sea. A multitude of obstacles lie in his path, including entire armies of men, sea creatures, and men riding on sea creatures. It’s knowingly silly and outlandish, but it can also be extremely violent. The hulking Momoa’s Arthur Curry takes on countless foes with his bare hands, flattening and flinging people across the room with ease. One scene finds Arthur and the Atlantean princess Mera (Amber Heard) fighting off a terrifying swarm of ravenous, sharp-toothed monsters. We also see several perilous chases, stabbings and a ton of gunfire from a variety of weapons. The script includes quite a bit of language, as well as some romantic tension and kissing between Arthur and Mera. It’s all the usual comic book movie stuff, but even more so – and that includes a running time that pushes 2 ½ hours. I’d say this is suitable for viewers around 10 and older, especially if they’ve seen other blockbusters like this before.


Bumblebee (2018) 90%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of sci-fi action violence.

This is a shockingly good Transformers movie. It’s also the only good Transformers movie, but its joys aren’t merely relative. Director Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) has managed to find actual humanity within one of these behemoth action spectacles about robots in disguise, so much so that Bumblebee might even bring a tear or two to your eye. Set in 1987, the movie serves as an origin story for the good-natured, yellow Autobot who communicates through songs on the radio. The tomboyish, teenage Charlie (a charismatic Hailee Steinfeld) finds him as a beat-up Volkswagen Bug, brings him home and fixes him up. Once he reveals his true self, the two become fast friends (no pun intended). But Charlie and her smitten neighbor, Memo (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), soon get sucked into the intergalactic battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons. There’s quite a bit of rock ’em, sock ’em robot action here — giant, noisy, punishing brawls resulting in mass injury and destruction — but not as much as you’d ordinarily see in a Transformers movie. In a lot of ways, Bumblebee actually has more in common with E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial, especially as Charlie copes with the absence of her father by befriending a sweet alien being. I brought my 9-year-old son with me to a screening and we both loved it. I’d say this is fine for viewers around 8 or 9 and older; this is one of the rare occasions in which a PG-13 rating seems too harsh.

Tag Cloud

WarnerMedia travel Anna Paquin 71st Emmy Awards Opinion Netflix Christmas movies Holiday franchise 2016 talk show Election Disney streaming service what to watch scorecard Shudder Mystery comics Freeform suspense doctor who Oscars rom-coms FOX blockbusters Endgame concert Legendary jurassic park Fox News Valentine's Day olympics Action NBC Pride Month Holidays heist movie VICE Countdown live action Logo Nominations Discovery Channel reboot El Rey Esquire video on demand Marvel Studios nbcuniversal Horror ITV ghosts TCA 2017 AMC SundanceTV GLAAD vampires Fall TV BBC One Disney+ Disney Plus OneApp saw Adult Swim Trophy Talk Martial Arts Vudu chucky quibi Pop TV technology canceled TV shows San Diego Comic-Con TCA TCA Awards canceled pirates of the caribbean cops 2021 dc Musical crime thriller ratings documentary natural history USA worst movies The Academy classics laika italian Walt Disney Pictures TBS TV 2020 VH1 cooking asian-american book adaptation TCM spider-man CW Seed Video Games X-Men NBA transformers Marathons CNN spain Tubi Reality TV Land Spike Rocketman hist hispanic TLC Rocky cancelled TV series President award winner PlayStation supernatural Box Office space Nickelodeon Winter TV popular PBS series Television Critics Association Food Network adenture First Reviews dramedy comic books YA 2019 LGBTQ Mary Poppins Returns Comedy strong female leads CBS All Access Creative Arts Emmys Sundance The CW 24 frames WGN Summer CMT wonder woman social media new york political drama binge sequels unscripted Quiz Travel Channel james bond Amazon Prime Lifetime Animation Disney Plus DGA 45 blockbuster Extras Hear Us Out spinoff directors First Look Certified Fresh Trailer movie stoner TNT monster movies scene in color Song of Ice and Fire MTV remakes video festival Biopics ABC Family composers fast and furious superman boxoffice RT History BAFTA zombies TIFF SXSW foreign Classic Film dark DC Comics Emmys streaming Star Wars A24 Disney Cosplay Spring TV romantic comedy Rom-Com Ghostbusters kids Cannes Ovation stop motion twilight ESPN nature Broadway Tumblr DC Universe Film Festival Writers Guild of America Country Pirates cancelled Exclusive Video Epix halloween tv telelvision sequel international BBC America singing competition HBO Go See It Skip It Lionsgate name the review TV renewals streaming movies facebook Emmy Nominations Academy Awards ViacomCBS golden globe awards Family TV One fresh New York Comic Con Mary Tyler Moore free movies Comics on TV Fox Searchlight hollywood a nightmare on elm street batman sag awards diversity docuseries The Arrangement 2017 anime halloween psychological thriller versus 21st Century Fox razzies Schedule Comic-Con@Home 2021 best GIFs BET Awards zombie Mary poppins 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards parents Marvel Television science fiction sitcom Christmas cartoon Year in Review IFC Mindy Kaling movies werewolf Fantasy Pop History YouTube Premium basketball E3 Mudbound A&E black high school revenge die hard king kong festivals lord of the rings boxing FX Apple blaxploitation Paramount true crime golden globes trailers Masterpiece game show obituary joker The Purge deadpool TCA Winter 2020 FXX Elton John book justice league romance Britbox Dark Horse Comics ABC Signature war godzilla Binge Guide Polls and Games Syfy HBO Max Black Mirror cults BBC mission: impossible dceu comedies target HBO Podcast Sneak Peek Arrowverse The Witch Television Academy E! American Society of Cinematographers theme song The Walking Dead comiccon Starz richard e. Grant Pet Sematary south america Super Bowl Red Carpet harry potter king arthur jamie lee curtis adventure rotten Disney Channel 2015 all-time children's TV disaster finale cinemax Universal YouTube psycho Superheroes miniseries casting critics Showtime Warner Bros. period drama DirecTV Lucasfilm independent worst satire know your critic Ellie Kemper robots slashers japan Pixar Film cars Captain marvel Cartoon Network Chilling Adventures of Sabrina green book dogs Set visit mutant cancelled TV shows prank new zealand women Amazon Studios Nat Geo rotten movies we love Peacock kong australia Infographic 4/20 Superheroe 2018 spanish Tokyo Olympics animated Kids & Family superhero Calendar 72 Emmy Awards spy thriller Wes Anderson Photos LGBT Musicals Toys child's play Awards Tour Lifetime Christmas movies Hallmark Christmas movies Image Comics Amazon CBS new star wars movies Watching Series venice historical drama Paramount Network Sony Pictures Apple TV Plus Apple TV+ japanese Black History Month crime discovery aliens Alien 1990s toronto biography rt archives TV movies adaptation DC streaming service screenings toy story french Chernobyl Best and Worst Spectrum Originals dragons teaser indiana jones MCU Grammys Trivia news Winners Star Trek Tomatazos APB cats archives VOD legend GoT Tarantino ID Teen Pacific Islander ABC kaiju serial killer Bravo cancelled television hidden camera Marvel Comic Book Crunchyroll Netflix aapi documentaries SDCC comic crossover Character Guide politics Stephen King based on movie MSNBC Music 93rd Oscars Turner Classic Movies marvel cinematic universe witnail spanish language Turner Crackle Amazon Prime Video Reality Competition television latino Premiere Dates renewed TV shows YouTube Red 99% Baby Yoda Awards OWN tv talk Heroines stand-up comedy Acorn TV Brie Larson universal monsters Shondaland USA Network Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt game of thrones emmy awards Sundance TV docudrama films The Walt Disney Company elevated horror NYCC Sundance Now Western FX on Hulu medical drama zero dark thirty sports Hulu Rock TruTV scary movies police drama 007 Avengers BET Hallmark RT21 thriller Drama anthology Funimation criterion 90s Interview Comedy Central christmas movies indie screen actors guild Paramount Plus mockumentary breaking bad Women's History Month Thanksgiving IFC Films football 20th Century Fox reviews Columbia Pictures PaleyFest nfl National Geographic Sci-Fi crime drama