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) 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

MSNBC festivals TCA Winter 2020 Marvel hist new star wars movies Cannes sports GoT black Hulu stoner Dark Horse Comics romantic comedy Fall TV BBC Marvel Studios canceled golden globes book adaptation Starz asian-american 99% Universal Sundance talk show Food Network Mary poppins OneApp Pacific Islander fast and furious 2015 golden globe awards Sony Pictures Discovery Channel batman spy thriller transformers ID kong Heroines comics finale fresh comic documentary TV movies HBO laika HBO Go Amazon Studios Kids & Family independent CBS All Access Endgame joker A24 Britbox LGBT animated Marvel Television sitcom game of thrones Interview DC streaming service nbcuniversal DGA MCU james bond ABC Pop TV Fantasy Awards Tour rt archives The Walt Disney Company worst telelvision justice league Adult Swim Rocketman die hard streaming movies australia TCA APB comedies child's play crossover Pride Month space See It Skip It based on movie south america Black History Month Sundance TV kids Ghostbusters 72 Emmy Awards Comedy Spectrum Originals TLC Alien worst movies new york Lifetime Christmas movies nfl ABC Family free movies Academy Awards ITV french Walt Disney Pictures classics Disney harry potter binge RT History Logo trailers RT21 game show spanish FXX technology what to watch Biopics Grammys TCA Awards Nat Geo pirates of the caribbean El Rey sequels dragons 2020 Comic Book TNT Music hispanic satire Winners video on demand Mystery SundanceTV women CBS monster movies vampires quibi rom-coms The Academy DC Universe E3 suspense Nominations universal monsters werewolf TCM PlayStation award winner christmas movies toy story TCA 2017 Writers Guild of America cancelled TV series The Witch Spring TV docuseries Captain marvel Women's History Month twilight a nightmare on elm street Watching Series Turner dark new zealand Syfy 21st Century Fox Thanksgiving Hallmark Christmas movies LGBTQ breaking bad chucky social media scene in color canceled TV shows live action MTV obituary psychological thriller reviews politics adaptation superhero Star Trek prank mission: impossible razzies Mary Poppins Returns all-time Ovation Fox Searchlight screenings Lifetime Martial Arts Sci-Fi Showtime Christmas dc travel renewed TV shows 90s spider-man FOX series Best and Worst Red Carpet Amazon Summer Masterpiece ABC Signature Arrowverse Character Guide A&E aapi YouTube Red Peacock comiccon cartoon singing competition witnail Marathons Mudbound Amazon Prime medical drama Superheroe criterion Sundance Now reboot elevated horror dceu Super Bowl robots YouTube Premium crime olympics blockbusters cinemax Turner Classic Movies anthology high school Film emmy awards President NBC nature Crackle disaster directors thriller 45 romance zero dark thirty rotten movies we love Ellie Kemper TV Land Horror FX Countdown Hear Us Out 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Calendar Western Year in Review The CW remakes 007 Tarantino casting Legendary godzilla crime thriller DC Comics Travel Channel SXSW Film Festival OWN richard e. Grant composers blaxploitation Comedy Central Reality Competition boxoffice 2019 theme song WGN Bravo ratings HBO Max miniseries italian documentaries Paramount Network concert true crime Apple TV+ ESPN Lucasfilm movies 1990s Holidays Emmys Apple cancelled TV shows Television Academy VH1 American Society of Cinematographers Broadway kaiju cars historical drama Opinion Netflix Christmas movies Disney Channel Photos jurassic park crime drama Superheroes Musicals Winter TV international Crunchyroll Song of Ice and Fire Valentine's Day green book Lionsgate Freeform movie Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt video Holiday BET Awards 2018 rotten adventure Sneak Peek Nickelodeon X-Men Classic Film zombie political drama archives Infographic Toys Mary Tyler Moore japan scorecard name the review boxing Cartoon Network AMC Paramount Plus Fox News blockbuster IFC Films GLAAD Animation Binge Guide news The Walking Dead natural history Warner Bros. lord of the rings comic books TV cancelled television streaming Polls and Games Musical book Disney streaming service strong female leads TIFF 24 frames First Reviews versus cops biography saw Action Premiere Dates Paramount DirecTV Quiz Pop Mindy Kaling New York Comic Con IFC Television Critics Association 4/20 Chernobyl jamie lee curtis hollywood Baby Yoda TV One 20th Century Fox 71st Emmy Awards Rom-Com Awards parents Video Games Funimation stand-up comedy japanese Schedule know your critic best Spike popular Reality Shudder Pirates E! cats Exclusive Video Oscars Trophy Talk Election ghosts PaleyFest Teen cults Family spinoff franchise heist movie police drama Vudu 2016 Country CW Seed hidden camera GIFs Elton John war Tumblr SDCC Tubi period drama TV renewals Anna Paquin television latino YouTube films Chilling Adventures of Sabrina FX on Hulu Trivia Emmy Nominations basketball critics serial killer zombies marvel cinematic universe cooking ViacomCBS Tomatazos BBC One sequel halloween tv spain YA Rocky slashers Acorn TV stop motion Disney+ Disney Plus Rock USA Network Set visit football dramedy Columbia Pictures Trailer Esquire revenge mockumentary Cosplay deadpool indiana jones CNN Podcast children's TV indie Avengers TBS 93rd Oscars 2021 Tokyo Olympics Comics on TV 2017 Black Mirror USA teaser discovery dogs docudrama BAFTA BBC America BET supernatural sag awards Brie Larson NYCC Extras foreign Drama NBA diversity Epix Box Office Pixar screen actors guild spanish language Stephen King WarnerMedia TruTV adenture venice PBS Certified Fresh aliens National Geographic Disney Plus Shondaland San Diego Comic-Con mutant Comic-Con@Home 2021 The Purge cancelled unscripted VOD Star Wars anime CMT First Look Hallmark Image Comics facebook doctor who scary movies festival Pet Sematary tv talk science fiction king kong toronto target Wes Anderson Apple TV Plus VICE psycho Creative Arts Emmys Netflix History Amazon Prime Video The Arrangement halloween superman