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

comic books Martial Arts blockbusters Esquire Academy Awards dexter Fall TV emmy awards Marvel Crunchyroll Reality Competition Arrowverse black comedy franchise Trailer theme song Quiz ABC Family reboot Tumblr prank Chernobyl new zealand south america mob miniseries See It Skip It TV Land teaser RT History book australia Cosplay series Infographic Brie Larson Year in Review YouTube Premium Best Actor gangster Awards Tour Awards technology Musicals Marvel Television ID Mary Poppins Returns Alien The CW Endgame true crime FXX movies Discovery Channel witnail criterion nbcuniversal SDCC sequel BET Awards BET Pop canceled TV shows ghosts golden globe awards History Best Director fresh satire women summer preview Christmas political drama mission: impossible medical drama Super Bowl halloween 2021 YouTube legend Sundance TV comiccon Baby Yoda child's play Song of Ice and Fire Character Guide Amazon Prime Video MSNBC Comics on TV spider-verse saw Sony Pictures aapi The Academy Food Network universal monsters YA serial killer kids game of thrones New York Comic Con Thanksgiving Summer anime new star wars movies zero dark thirty 45 Film Festival 2016 dark mutant BBC One Lionsgate monster movies Sundance CW Seed Family toronto 2020 Disney Channel Peacock laika Vudu HFPA all-time zombies chucky international mcc Ovation independent dogs latino 007 streaming movies Fargo Hear Us Out TBS President streaming comic movie Universal rt archives 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards ABC Lucasfilm Television Critics Association crime mockumentary summer TV preview slasher 20th Century Fox action-comedy 2017 young adult Bravo TCA 2017 documentary pirates of the caribbean Amazon scorecard SXSW joker X-Men Mystery genre Ghostbusters Hollywood Foreign Press Association 1990s scene in color social media E3 war Oscar psychological thriller TIFF spinoff SundanceTV Showtime Extras Stephen King hidden camera spy thriller stop motion Writers Guild of America Winter TV biography ITV Paramount Pictures spanish language IMDb TV science fiction MGM crossover space USA Network nfl Exclusive Video Red Carpet heist movie Amazon Prime spanish venice cars TCA Awards dceu TruTV HBO Max Funimation The Purge obi wan crime drama facebook spider-man composers Wes Anderson Countdown sag awards Box Office french doctor who Tubi AMC Plus Travel Channel Black History Month Superheroes Pet Sematary Kids & Family TNT First Look Columbia Pictures tv talk game show VH1 AMC LGBTQ Best and Worst transformers rt labs natural history FOX award winner revenge japan screenings unscripted DGA Tags: Comedy richard e. Grant indiana jones American Society of Cinematographers sopranos The Arrangement dragons comic book movies Epix boxing Tokyo Olympics DC Universe Holiday Women's History Month Warner Bros. 99% Syfy Focus Features comic book movie hispanic heritage month NYCC elevated horror FX on Hulu thriller justice league olympics free movies GLAAD Hallmark cooking rt labs critics edition directors new york TV renewals adaptation suspense films halloween tv adenture TCA popular television what to watch National Geographic Logo Lifetime boxoffice obituary Video Games Disney+ Disney Plus Turner dreamworks debate BBC America Black Mirror Apple TV Plus news comedies werewolf strong female leads Horror Western broadcast Holidays A&E Apple TV+ razzies Set visit Adult Swim Animation Drama docudrama streamig FX jurassic park blockbuster twilight nature documentaries book adaptation a nightmare on elm street cancelled TV shows 2018 90s Sundance Now police drama football toy story remakes LGBT Sci-Fi dc finale OWN DC Comics asian-american golden globes IFC Calendar Trophy Talk adventure 72 Emmy Awards animated OneApp San Diego Comic-Con Fox News king arthur Marathons Mary poppins El Rey 4/20 DC streaming service Hulu stand-up comedy versus Valentine's Day Dark Horse Comics Nat Geo Turner Classic Movies The Witch A24 Neflix NBC romantic comedy 73rd Emmy Awards video Winners black The Walking Dead superhero sequels Crackle TV Paramount CBS All Access interviews rom-coms Rom-Com Biopics APB 2019 Classic Film Action die hard japanese TLC classics cartoon politics casting Comedy Central historical drama psycho 79th Golden Globes Awards MTV Podcast HBO Go basketball renewed TV shows archives IFC Films live action Best Actress Fox Searchlight Freeform binge VOD vampires high school robots sports Disney Plus royal family Trivia Paramount Plus First Reviews critics leaderboard children's TV TV One WGN blaxploitation rotten Emmys Spike screen actors guild cancelled television Watching Series ViacomCBS Shudder GIFs batman Nominations Rocketman Superheroe Film Masterpiece crime thriller Disney The Walt Disney Company South by Southwest Film Festival Hallmark Christmas movies trailers zombie marvel comics singing competition discovery Netflix Christmas movies Opinion Apple video on demand superman scary movies italian Pop TV posters TCA Winter 2020 Grammys canceled live event Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Rock worst movies cinemax Binge Guide disaster harry potter slashers Mindy Kaling Spectrum Originals Amazon Studios Mudbound reviews Anna Paquin feel good lord of the rings marvel cinematic universe foreign cults HBO Best Picture Starz Shondaland DirecTV Prime Video stoner 24 frames worst NBA CBS based on movie telelvision cops Lifetime Christmas movies ABC Signature Netflix PaleyFest Election Teen Walt Disney Pictures BBC Avengers Nickelodeon summer TV Fantasy wonder woman Premiere Dates Pixar christmas movies MCU ESPN target spain sitcom romance Rocky anthology green book quibi cancelled WarnerMedia best scary critic resources Star Wars supernatural Oscars Instagram Live breaking bad travel parents period drama deadpool Tomatazos 21st Century Fox kaiju Legendary comics Creative Arts Emmys Polls and Games Certified Fresh 71st Emmy Awards Tarantino Chilling Adventures of Sabrina kong cats Star Trek king kong Pirates SXSW 2022 concert hist Britbox Emmy Nominations TV movies E! trophy Reality Comic Book CNN Television Academy ratings festival RT21 YouTube Red Musical Pacific Islander CMT Music dramedy Captain marvel VICE diversity hispanic Interview know your critic aliens jamie lee curtis art house festivals james bond hollywood Broadway talk show name the review GoT Acorn TV Comedy PlayStation BAFTA rotten movies we love Paramount Network vs. Mary Tyler Moore godzilla Marvel Studios cancelled TV series 2015 indie Image Comics Disney streaming service TCM Comic-Con@Home 2021 fast and furious Elton John Schedule 94th Oscars Universal Pictures Cartoon Network Photos PBS Toys 93rd Oscars USA biopic Country Sneak Peek Spring TV Ellie Kemper Heroines docuseries Pride Month Cannes