Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly is Ghostbusters?

by | July 15, 2016 | Comments

The new Ghostbusters is an all-out comedy, but if you’re thinking about taking the kids to see it, you should know whether or not some of the ghosts might still be a little too freaky for the littlest ones. Read on to see what Christy thought about it, as well as a couple of new DVD releases.


NEW IN THEATERS

 

Ghostbusters (2016) 74%

Rating: PG-13, for supernatural action and some crude humor.

This remake of the 1984 comedy-action classic finds four women busting ghosts in New York City rather than men. Comedians Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones star as paranormal investigators who run around town with their makeshift, high-tech gear, wrestling and capturing an ever-increasing number of ghouls who’ve invaded. It’s mostly played for laughs, but younger viewers might be frightened at first by the appearance of the ghosts, which are more detailed than they were 30 years ago. An early scene in particular finds a long-dead woman floating over our heroes menacingly with her wild eyes and sharp teeth – only to shoot projectile green slime all over Wiig’s character. That’s the way a lot of the bits go: They initially may seem scary but they’re ultimately played for laughs. There’s a bit of language here and there in addition to the complicated scientific jargon, which may confuse younger viewers. But the underlying theme of strong, smart women who stick by each other no matter what is more than worthwhile for both girls and boys to see. I brought my son (who’s almost 7) with me to the new Ghostbusters, and while he felt briefly frightened during the opening sequence in a haunted mansion, he quickly laughed when things turned silly. This is probably fine for viewers around 8 or 9 and older.


NEW ON DVD

 

The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016) 11%

Rating: PG-13, for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity.

Viewers around 13 and older should be fine watching this second-to-last movie in the Divergent franchise – especially if they’ve seen the previous two. And yes, there’s still one more coming; as usual, the last book in Veronica Roth’s trilogy is being split into two movies. This time, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and their rag-tag band of buddies dare to climb the wall surrounding Chicago to investigate the outside world. As in all of these movies (and post-apocalyptic Young Adult fare in general), there’s a ton of violence, much of it involving gunfire and hand-to-hand combat. But toward the end, there’s also the climactic threat that an orange gas being pumped through the ventilation system will cause massive memory loss. Adults are universally nefarious figures. Several young people are shot to death, children are hunted down and snatched from their parents for scientific experiments, and one little boy watches as his father is fatally shot in front of him. There’s also a bit of nudity during a shower scene.


Miracles from Heaven (2016) 45%

Rating: PG, for thematic material, including accident and medical issues.

Kids around 7 and up will probably be fine watching this real-life drama. It’s based on the story of Texas mom Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner), whose 10-year-old daughter, Annabel (Kylie Rogers), suddenly suffered from a rare and potentially fatal intestinal disorder – and, just as suddenly, was cured. A 30-foot fall through the hollowed-out trunk of a cottonwood tree miraculously healed Annabel. But while she was trapped on the ground, she says she had an out-of-body experience in which she went to heaven and God told her she’d be fine. Hence the title. Miracles From Heaven contains many stressful moments as Christy and Annabel travel back and forth to Boston for treatment, which doesn’t seem to be working. Anna and a young girl in the hospital bed next to her, who’s battling cancer, discuss very frankly whether they’re afraid of dying. But there are also many moments of uplift, kindness and faith.

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