Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: The Hobbit, Annie, Night at the Museum, and More

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

by | December 19, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:



The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

59%

Rating: PG-13, for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.

It’s the last film in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy and it has the words “battle” and “armies” in the title, so naturally it has a ton of graphic violence and a high body count. But even before all the fighting begins between various orcs and dwarves and elves, the fearsome dragon Smaug (menacingly voiced once again by Benedict Cumberbatch) wreaks fiery havoc on the innocent citizens of Laketown. If your kids are old enough to have seen any of the previous J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations and have been OK with them — and they’re curious to know how this series ends and then leads up to The Lord of the Rings — they’ll probably be fine. But for younger and less mature viewers, this is pretty intense, and the mythology might be confusing, and it is extremely long at nearly two and a half hours.



Annie

28%

Rating: PG-13, for some mild language and rude humor.

This modern-day version of the enduring stage musical has been moved from the Great Depression to the present day, with the plucky orphan Annie (Quvenzhane Wallis) moving in with a billionaire cell-phone mogul (Jamie Foxx) and melting his heart… in song! The notion that material wealth equals happiness is definitely magnified in this adaptation, with Annie enjoying a helicopter ride around New York City and distributing free phones to her foster-kid friends. So that’s kind of a bummer. Cameron Diaz is rather shrill and inept as Miss Hannigan but she’s not as intimidating as she’s been in previous versions; she’s more pathetic than anything else. And Annie is briefly in peril when she goes off with a couple who pretend to be her parents, but she’s not hurt in any way. All in all, this movie is harmless. But it’s also terrible.



Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

47%

Rating: PG-13, for mild action, some rude humor and brief language.

The third and (theoretically) final film in the Night at the Museum trilogy finds security guard Larry (Ben Stiller) and the rest of the historical gang traipsing off to London to solve the mystery of their mobility. Everything here is pretty tame (and often lame). The giant, marauding dinosaur skeletons might seem briefly scary for very young kids. The tiny Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan characters are in danger when they get stuck in an air-conditioning vent, but it’s played more for slapstick humor than anything else. And there is the vague threat that these museum pieces might transform into their formerly stiff selves — including the impish Capuchin monkey — in a way that’s slightly sad, but resolves itself quickly. Decent for all ages.

New On DVD:



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

21%

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

This live-action reboot of the franchise featuring modified, crime-fighting, pizza-eating turtles is a Michael Bay production. So it’s essentially a Transformers movie, complete with shiny action sequences and destructive battles that place innocent bystanders in harm’s way. The turtles themselves may be cute and cool and wacky in other incarnations but here, the special effects make them odd-looking in an off-putting way. Still, they emerge from the sewers to defend New York City, as they must, with the help of Megan Fox as a fearless TV reporter. The enemy is a giant robot samurai named Shredder. He’s working with a wealthy, evil scientist (William Fichtner) who wants to rule the city by releasing a deadly toxin. Explosions, gunfire and general mayhem abound as a roaming group of marauders called the Foot Clan terrorize the city and take hostages. My son wasn’t quite 5 years old when I took him to see this, and he was a bit frightened of Shredder, but only briefly. “I really liked it,” he said. So there you go.



The Maze Runner

65%

Rating: PG, for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images.

Because there aren’t enough sci-fi thrillers based on young adult novels set in rigidly structured, dystopian futures, here is yet another. The tween and teen readers who are the targets for the James Dashner book will know what they’re getting into here. Still, this is a pretty violent and often harrowing PG-13 film. Dylan O’Brien stars as Thomas, a young man who finds himself in a pastoral square called the Glade. He has no idea who he is or how he got there, similar to the dozens of other teenage boys who arrived before him and have forged their own society. But Thomas soon grows curious about the dangerous maze that lies outside the giant concrete walls surrounding the Glade. Ravenous, speedy creatures await in those dark corridors, and we see them tear some of the characters apart. The big reveal which explains how all these kids ended up here and what they’re intended for is filled with gunfire and it grows deadly pretty quickly. This is not for the young or the squeamish.

Tag Cloud

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