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.



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.



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

DC Universe political drama Valentine's Day 2016 Awards GIFs what to watch TIFF NYCC social media Election TCA MSNBC American Society of Cinematographers Photos El Rey Certified Fresh spy thriller police drama Britbox YA Masterpiece VH1 Winter TV Superheroe OWN ITV LGBTQ dceu Reality Competition SDCC ABC zombie romance Sundance Superheroes ratings Nat Geo Musicals discovery Crackle Food Network Writers Guild of America sports Horror CW Seed The Arrangement period drama transformers 20th Century Fox docudrama BBC America GLAAD Opinion Oscars Extras cults Emmys dramedy See It Skip It 24 frames sitcom justice league USA Network DC streaming service PBS YouTube Red Musical composers dc ABC Family Comedy Central Spike Action FXX History Super Bowl X-Men Ellie Kemper Syfy golden globes Mindy Kaling Acorn TV Calendar crime Sneak Peek aliens cops harry potter RT History Watching Series psycho Podcast war President cooking CBS travel Esquire Rock Thanksgiving 2015 Nominations boxoffice Creative Arts Emmys Logo science fiction Martial Arts Star Wars Trivia Shondaland 21st Century Fox robots Adult Swim TruTV Dark Horse Comics Cartoon Network Set visit BET FX Reality Starz Comedy Universal AMC Grammys Western Pop The CW Interview Comic Book crime thriller VICE medical drama Drama based on movie Rocky Lionsgate politics thriller Year in Review Summer TV A&E Marathons Music APB TBS Nickelodeon NBC Biopics Hulu Best and Worst Freeform crime drama Box Office First Look Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt adventure Premiere Dates FOX 007 IFC Tumblr Ghostbusters Marvel TV Land Pixar IFC Films 2017 serial killer TCM Character Guide talk show Disney E! Paramount Network Paramount singing competition binge Netflix Spring TV unscripted TCA 2017 vampires biography Kids & Family Red Carpet BBC Schedule Sci-Fi CMT cinemax Countdown Warner Bros. Cosplay Christmas Mystery historical drama Fox News SundanceTV Teen supernatural Lifetime Disney Channel Polls and Games PaleyFest Fall TV E3 Animation Lucasfilm MTV ESPN 45 technology Bravo Sundance Now Star Trek HBO TLC Trailer Tomatazos Country comiccon Amazon DC Comics Winners Pirates Showtime diversity WGN TNT Fantasy GoT Rom-Com Toys CBS All Access Infographic Holidays Sony Pictures DirecTV cats Video Games USA Mary Tyler Moore CNN