Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly are Independence Day: Resurgence and The Shallows?

by | June 24, 2016 | Comments

This week, Christy lets us know whether or not the big sci-fi blockbuster or the smaller — but possibly more thrilling — shark attack movie might be too intense for younger viewers. Then she also revisits a couple of movies now available on DVD, in case you choose to stay home with the little ones. Read on for details.


NEW IN THEATERS

 

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) 29%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of sci-fi action and destruction and for some language.

The aliens are back, and this time they want… more of the same thing they wanted before, maybe? Not that it matters, because this sequel to the 1996 smash-hit blockbuster Independence Day is all about the spectacle. And it is big, shiny and noisy in the over-the-top tradition of Roland Emmerich, but without the kind of visceral thrills you usually get with the director’s outlandish action extravaganzas. Twenty years after the original film’s alien battle, humans have learned to use their technology for everything from space exploration to getting across town more efficiently. But just as America is about to celebrate the anniversary of that victory, the aliens return — in a spaceship that’s 3,000 miles wide, no less — to lock onto our planet and drill into its core for resources. Or something. Anyway, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Brent Spiner are back — Will Smith opted out, wisely — fighting alongside newcomers Liam Neeson, Maika Monroe, Jessie T. Usher, William Fichtner, and (in the strangest bit of casting of all) Charlotte Gainsbourg. There’s massive urban destruction, ostensibly resulting in massive death, little of which we actually see. The aliens are big, gooey and relentless in typical alien fashion. Children are in peril — a school bus full of them, for good measure. There’s a bit of language. And there are lots of battles in which human and alien ships shoot green lasers at each other that go “Pew! Pew! Pew!” I brought my 6 ½-year-old son with me (because he’d seen the original Independence Day and was actually curious to know what could possibly happen next) and he was never scared, but he also slept through about half of it. Lucky him. As for your kids, they’ll probably be OK if they’re around 10 and older.


The Shallows (2016) 79%

Rating: PG-13, for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language.

It’s Blake Lively vs. Shark: Who will win?! That’s the premise of this lean, mean genre picture. Lively stars as a young woman who goes surfing alone at a secluded beach in Mexico. Ignoring warnings to come out of the water before it gets too dark, she stays for one last wave and becomes the target of a particularly insistent great white shark. It’s pretty gnarly, I gotta say – in all the best ways. Lively’s character suffers a serious bite on the leg and stitches up the bloody limb in clever, makeshift fashion. The few other people who exist in this remote setting don’t fare nearly so well. She’s in constant peril but she’s also incredibly resourceful as she runs through her options for survival. And she gets the one well-chosen F-bomb you’re allowed in a PG-13 movie. This is an intense, frightening, well-made, and surprisingly fun little movie. Kids around 12 or 13 and older will be fine watching it.


NEW ON DVD

 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016) 28%

Rating: PG-13, for some suggestive material.

Viewers around 9 or 10 will probably be fine watching this sequel to the 2002 surprise hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding, although I’m not sure why they’d want to do that. The wacky Portokalos family is back in all its overbearing, obnoxious glory. And yes, there is indeed another big, fat, Greek wedding. This time, Toula (writer and star Nia Vardalos) must help orchestrate the event when it turns out that her parents (Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan) never were married officially 50 years ago in Greece because the priest didn’t sign the certificate. Madcap hilarity (and lots of Windex spritzing) ensue. The only possibly offensive part of this movie is the thoroughly inappropriate sex talk from Toula’s outspoken Aunt Voula (Andrea Martin). She also buys Toula a racy, red negligee to help her spice things up with Ian (John Corbett), the WASPy dude she married in the first film.


Midnight Special (2016) 83%

Rating: PG-13, for some violence and action.

Mature tweens and older will probably be fine watching this sci-fi thriller from indie auteur Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud), which reunites him with the great Michael Shannon. This time, Shannon plays the father of a young boy (Jaeden Lieberher) whose mysterious powers make him a prophet for some and a target for others. Father and son go on the run with the help of an old friend (Joel Edgerton) as they try to elude both the religious cult to which they’d belonged and federal authorities. There’s great tension throughout as well as some startling special effects, including chunks of a satellite raining down on a gas station. The boy’s eyes beam a bright light at various points, which may be frightening for younger viewers to see, and he’s in constant danger. There’s also a bit of gunfire. But it’s a powerfully written and acted story about a father-son bond, sacrifice, and love.

Tag Cloud

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