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.


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) 91%

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

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