Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: On DVD The Wolverine, Smurfs 2 and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | December 6, 2013 | Comments

New On DVD:

The Wolverine


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

An extremely hard PG-13 film, which should be a given considering that its central character is a tormented comic-book mutant with fierce, metal claws sprouting from his knuckles. Still, The Wolverine may push the limits of what you consider acceptable for your children to watch, even in the form of escapist entertainment. Hugh Jackman returns as the X-Men hero Logan/Wolverine — his sixth time in the role — in an adventure that takes the Marvel Comics character to Japan. There, many, many people die swift deaths in beautifully choreographed ways. But the rare bit of actual blood surprisingly comes from Wolverine himself, when he discovers how it feels to ache and bleed without the benefit of instant healing. A breathtaking fight on top of a speeding bullet train also results in some peril and serious injury. Older kids who’ve played a lot of video games and/or read a lot of comic books probably won’t be bothered by any of this, but it’s probably too intense for those younger than tween age.

Smurfs 2


Rating: PG, for some rude humor and action.

Sure, you could let your kids of any age watch this painfully pun-packed sequel and you’d find nothing inappropriate about it. The PG rating is essentially for some fart jokes, and truly, who’s offended by those? The plot of this flat and unfunny follow-up to 2011’s The Smurfs finds the cheery blue creatures briefly in danger, with the villainous Gargamel (Hank Azaria) kidnapping Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry) to extract her essence and use it to turn innocent victims into his pawns. The humor is physical and sometimes gross but without much inspiration. This is still by far my 4-year-old son’s least-favorite movie of all the ones he’s accompanied me to see. (He likes Monsters University best, FYI.)

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones


Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content.

This tween-tastic fantasy extravaganza is as overstuffed and convoluted as the title itself. It’s got angels and demons AND vampires and werewolves, as well as a love triangle and some awkward romantic sibling urges. The overblown, effects-laden action sequences are probably fine for the young-adult audience that’s the target of both the film and the book that inspired it. There are plenty of fistfights, swordplay and supernatural scares — including some shape-shifting beasts that are truly disgusting — but very little bloodshed results from all this violence. The overlong running time and dark, dense mythology are probably too heavy for anyone much younger than 10.