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) 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

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