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) 92%

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

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