There’s only one new wide release out this week that’s anywhere near appropriate for family viewing, and that’s the latest in the Despicable Me franchise. It’s probably mostly fine for your kids, but read on for Christy’s take on it, as well as a look at the recent Power Rangers movie that just arrived on DVD.
NOW IN THEATERS
Rating: PG, for action and rude humor.
Gru and the Minions are back for yet another wildly colorful animated adventure. If you’ve seen the previous two Despicable Me movies – and really, how could you avoid them? – you’re in for a lot more of the same. This time, Gru (voiced as always by Steve Carell) finds out he has a long-lost, identical twin brother named Dru (also voiced by Carell). But whereas Gru wants to live a quiet life with new wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and their young daughters — Margo, Edith and Agnes – Dru wants to drag him back into the excitement of super villainy. Together, the two team up to fight an ‘80s child star turned bad guy, Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who has stolen a giant pink diamond to use as a giant laser. And they have to do it without the (dubious) help of the Minions, who’ve been thrown in prison. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot going on here. But it’s all so zany and high-energy, kids will probably be laughing too hard to realize how convoluted the plot is. Despicable Me 3 features the usual crass humor as its predecessors: tiny, yellow Minion butts, fart guns, gibberishy jokes about boobs, that sort of thing. At one point, the girls wander into a dive bar, but it’s populated with harmless, amusing lowlifes. There are big, noisy chase scenes and action sequences, as well as some mass urban destruction in Hollywood, but everything turns out fine in the end. Suitable for the whole family.
NEW ON DVD
Rating: PG-13, for sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, language, and for some crude humor.
Kids around 9 or 10 and older should be fine watching this latest incarnation of the Power Rangers saga, an update on the the cheesy TV series you may have grown up watching in the early 1990s. Essentially, it’s a superhero version of The Breakfast Club, with five disparate high school students finding colorful crystal coins in an abandoned mine that give them unexpected powers. But they also find themselves in the middle of a battle for the planet that’s millions of years old. In the process, the fictional small town of Angel Grove gets decimated. There’s quite a bit of big, noisy violence here, as well as some more intimate, hand-to-hand combat sequences with monsters that look like a bunch of boulders stacked on top of each other. There’s also language throughout, some suggestive humor off the top involving a cow’s bodily fluids, and a police chase and car crash. And the villain, former Power Ranger Rita Repulsa (a campy Elizabeth Banks), may seem scary to little kids, particularly at the beginning of the film when she looks especially witch-like and hasn’t regained her full power and splendor. That’s the only thing that my 7-year-old son found disturbing: an especially violent scene in an alley at night involving Rita and a hobo who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it’s brief.