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

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