Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly Is The Great Wall?

by | February 17, 2017 | Comments

The big movie this week is Zhang Yimou’s epic period action film starring Matt Damon, and it’s exactly the kind of “good guys vs. monsters” PG-13 spectacle intended to draw wide-eyed younger audiences. That said, how young is too young to see the movie? Read on for details on The Great Wall, plus a Best Picture-nominated sci-fi mystery on DVD.


NOW IN THEATERS

 

The Great Wall (2017) 35%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of fantasy action violence.

So apparently, the Great Wall of China was built all those centuries ago… to keep out ravenous hordes of marauding monsters? Such is the alternative history this 3-D action epic offers. The Great Wall is the most expensive movie ever made entirely in China (with a reported budget around $150 million), and it shows. Chinese master Zhang Yimou’s first English-language film is massive, with elaborate production design, an enormous cast and high-tech special effects. At the center of it all is Matt Damon as an Irish mercenary who learns to be a part of something larger than himself when he joins an elite force of Chinese warriors to fend off these hideous creatures. And here’s where The Great Wall will be way too intense for younger kids. The monsters look like a speedier, angrier version of the “Jurassic Park” dinosaurs, with gnashing teeth reminiscent of the “Alien” franchise. Zhang shows them to us at a distance, moving as an organized pack, but also up close and personal as they rip individual soldiers to shreds. He creates sweeping battle scenes, full of swords, arrows and explosives. Even though it’s all computer-generated imagery, it’s scary and gory. I’d say kids around 11 or 12 and older will be OK here.


NEW ON DVD

 

Arrival (2016) 94%

Rating: PG-13, for brief strong language.

Older kids – especially those with a taste for science fiction – will find this slow-burn drama compelling. But they might be a little confused by the movie’s time-hopping narrative structure; then again, you might be, too. Nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Denis Villeneuve, Arrival is an inventive take on the alien-invasion thriller. Amy Adams plays a linguist trying to understand the aliens’ intricate language; Jeremy Renner plays the biologist hoping to study their complex makeup. The images are beautiful and haunting at the same time, with a mix of mystery and wonder. There’s a bit of language and a few intense situations. And part of the film’s drama comes from the death of a little girl who’d been suffering from a disease. But for the most part, Arrival defies your expectations of this ordinarily panicky, heart-pounding genre. It’s beautifully shot and ultimately, surprisingly, hopeful.

Tag Cloud

E3 Set visit docudrama ABC Family Nominations composers Universal Infographic crime drama SundanceTV Disney Interview technology MTV Amazon comiccon Country aliens Starz historical drama war Countdown TCM TV Pop IFC Summer Opinion singing competition sitcom Biopics supernatural Kids & Family Polls and Games ESPN Writers Guild of America Podcast cops TBS Best and Worst serial killer TIFF E! LGBTQ Action RT History Superheroes Horror BBC psycho Lionsgate Box Office political drama Cosplay NYCC Musical Drama science fiction Winter TV CNN Thanksgiving Premiere Dates Oscars social media 2017 FOX YA VH1 Syfy Food Network Bravo crime 24 frames Comic Book Photos cats Calendar Martial Arts Toys sports 45 harry potter Warner Bros. Reality Competition Lifetime Election Valentine's Day Marvel BBC America Holidays Rock discovery CBS All Access CMT GLAAD Trailer Video Games Logo talk show Fox News Comedy Nickelodeon Watching Series thriller SDCC NBC politics Tumblr FXX period drama boxoffice 007 Star Trek OWN VICE Super Bowl TCA Showtime Nat Geo GIFs Rom-Com cinemax ABC TNT President AMC Mindy Kaling Ghostbusters Emmys El Rey Star Wars GoT 2015 Tomatazos DC Comics American Society of Cinematographers travel FX Ellie Kemper Sci-Fi Winners USA biography Esquire Dark Horse Comics Teen WGN Year in Review Music Trivia Comedy Central Animation crime thriller cooking Sundance Masterpiece vampires Hulu MSNBC Sneak Peek Certified Fresh TruTV A&E Extras zombie HBO TCA 2017 DC Universe Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Red Carpet Awards Rocky Disney Channel dramedy Paramount TV Land Musicals TLC Cartoon Network The CW PBS based on movie First Look CBS ITV adventure BET Mary Tyler Moore 2016 police drama Pirates X-Men Spring TV transformers The Arrangement Schedule Marathons Character Guide Adult Swim PaleyFest Reality Mystery Grammys Netflix diversity Fall TV Crackle Freeform History APB DirecTV Fantasy