Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly is Max Steel?

by | October 14, 2016 | Comments

Only one of the wide releases this week is rated PG-13 or below, and it’s the superhero action film based on the line of Mattel toys. Christy breaks it down for the little ones and looks at a few choices on DVD. Read on for details.


NEW IN THEATERS

 

Max Steel (2016) 0%

Rating: PG-13, for some sci-fi action violence.

Based on the Max Steel games and toys by Mattel, this sci-fi action comedy is aimed at tweens and teens, but it’s borderline incomprehensible regardless of your age. Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) moves back to his father’s hometown with his widowed mother (Maria Bello). There, he begins to piece together the details of the accident in which his scientist father died. But Max finds strange things are happening to him, too – like, he can shoot strings of liquid, blue-tinted energy from his fingertips and cause things to explode. Thankfully, a cheeky, drone-like alien named Steel (voiced by Josh Brener) arrives to explain his newfound powers and show him what the two can achieve when they join forces. When they do, they become a superhero known as … wait for it … Max Steel, complete with head-to-toe body armor, super strength and flying abilities. Essentially, he’s Iron Teen. But if only it were that simple. Max is in constant peril, with armed bad guys chasing after him to capture him and harness his energy. There’s also a giant, evil, tornado-like creature with a mean face and glowing red eyes that might also be an alien. But even without those nuisances, Max is frequently in pain as energy surges through his body, giving him painful headaches and causing him to panic. There are also several intense flashbacks that gradually reveal what really happened to his father. This movie wasn’t screened for critics, and while it’s probably OK for kids around 9 or 10 and up, I’d find something else to do. Anything else.


NEW ON DVD

 

Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) 17%

Rating: PG, for mild rude humor and some action/peril.

This movie is harmless for the whole family. It’s also not very good. The fourth or fifth film in the Ice Age franchise (it’s hard to keep track) finds Scrat landing inside an alien spaceship, where he inadvertently sends a fiery asteroid hurtling toward Earth in his eternal pursuit of an acorn. All the prehistoric creatures down below must scurry about, seeking safety and working together to avoid obliteration. Yes, the characters (voiced by Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, Jennifer Lopez, Keke Palmer, Adam Devine and – the rare highlight – Simon Pegg) are in constant danger, but the threat seems far away and cartoonish. There’s a scene in which a bunch of animals luxuriate in a hot tub and flirt with each other. And there is exactly one poop joke. But the antics and action are suitable for all ages, and your kids will probably think Scrat is cute. So there’s that.


Ghostbusters (2016) 74%

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

Viewers around 8 or 9 and older should be fine with this remake of the 1984 comedy-action classic, which was a worldwide box-office hit this summer. This time, four women bust 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 goofy. 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 was about 6 ½ at the time) to see it in the theater, and while he felt briefly frightened during the opening sequence in a haunted mansion, he quickly laughed when things turned silly.


The Legend of Tarzan (2016) 36%

Rating: PG-13, sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue.

Tweens and older probably will be fine watching this latest telling of the familiar legend, although it is extremely violent. Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) – or, rather, John Clayton III, the fifth Earl of Greystoke – leaves genteel London to revisit the Belgian Congo of his youth with his wife, Jane (Margot Robbie). He’s going as a trade emissary and doesn’t realize he’s being lured into a trap. Along the way, the couple – along with an American diplomat who has tagged along (Samuel L. Jackson) – find themselves the targets of various jungle animals as well as well-armed human mercenaries, led by the greedy and devious right-hand man to the Belgian king (Christoph Waltz). Massive amounts of gunfire and brutal brawls between Tarzan and his former gorilla brethren ensue. Much of the animal action is beautiful and even adorable, but a lot of it is intense and frightening, and it surely will startle younger viewers. Jane also is in peril much of the time – a damsel in need of rescuing, despite her smarts and pluck. There’s also a love scene – or at least the suggestion that Tarzan and Jane are about to have sex, followed by the two snuggling in bed, basking in the afterglow.

Tag Cloud

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