Yes, there’s a decent chance your kids have seen the colorful, zany ads for The Emoji Movie, and with little else playing for the little ones in movie theaters, you may find yourself standing in line for tickets to see it. Christy offers some advice for those of you who are thinking about doing this, and she also has an alternative to offer. Read on for details.
NOW IN THEATERS
Rating: PG, for rude humor.
Sure, you could take your kids to see The Emoji Movie, but should you? Its 3 percent Tomatometer score –- a truly impressive feat to achieve –- should tell you everything you need to know about it. Still, kids are kids, and they’ll probably be drawn to the colorful characters and their wacky antics. And of course, because one of the main characters is the Poop emoji (voiced by Patrick Stewart, of all people), there’s plenty of potty humor. Basically, the movie explores what it would be like if the emojis inside your smartphone were sentient beings with personalities -– albeit, one-note personalities dictated by the emotions they express. But ultimately, its message is the same trite one so many animated movies offer: Find your own voice and be true to yourself. Not a terrible concept, but not an especially novel one, either. At various points, the characters find themselves in the midst of danger and destruction. There’s a bit of kissing as well as a scene in a dive bar. Overall, it’s harmless for children -– but soul crushing for adults.
Rating: PG, for thematic elements and some troubling images.
Eleven years after the release of the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore is back, still fighting climate change with the same passion he’s shown for decades. This sequel has a bit less punch than its predecessor, and it’s so worshipful of the former vice president that it often plays like an infomercial. But the topic is unfortunately more relevant than ever -– especially with President Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord earlier this summer -– and Gore’s dedication is undeniable. As he travels on his worldwide lecture circuit, Gore shows dramatic videos revealing the increasing power of natural disasters because of the effects of global warming. Countless people find themselves homeless and in harm’s way. And Gore gets fired up as he addresses large crowds on the subject, his intensity often turning to anger. But both the sequel and the original could be useful teaching tools for young people, especially if they have an interest in science. Fine for viewers around 8 or 9 and older –- if you can convince them that they won’t be bored.
NEW ON DVD
Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, suggestive content and some disturbing images.
This movie truly earns its rating; I’d say it’s really only suitable for more mature kids who are 13 and older. Scarlett Johansson stars in a live-action version of the influential 1995 Japanese anime film about a futuristic society in which a young woman’s brain is placed in a synthetic body. Johansson’s Major is a trained killing machine, but she’s haunted by glimmers of memories of her human past, many of which are frightening. This is an extremely violent movie with punishing fight sequences, extended gun battles and major explosions. The world in which the characters live is dark and gloomy (despite bursts of high-tech color) and it’s full of danger. Much of the imagery is extremely creepy, such as the sight of a robot geisha being shot in the face. Also, there are many scenes in which it appears that Major is fighting while completely naked, but it’s actually just the way her flesh-colored “shell” was designed. And there’s a scene in a club with strippers, but we don’t see much.
Rating: PG, for some mild rude humor.
Your own babies around 5 or 6 and older should be fine watching this animated comedy, even though it’s truly bizarre. A 7-year-old boy named Tim (voiced by Miles Christopher Bakshi) is living a perfectly happy, suburban life with his mom (Lisa Kudrow) and dad (Jimmy Kimmel). Then one day, a baby brother arrives –- and he’s wearing a suit, carrying a briefcase, tossing cash around and talking with the voice of Alec Baldwin. He’s an infant and a grown-up at the same time, and he’s here on a mission involving puppies and a rocket ship…? Anyway, it’s very confusing, but ultimately harmless. Tim has an active imagination, which leads to some wildly colorful fantasy sequences, but they’re more playful than scary. There are the obligatory diaper and potty jokes, and we see some naked baby butts. A trip to Las Vegas involves some slightly racy humor that kids won’t get. And a mad scientist holds Tim and the baby captive, briefly, but they ultimately save the day.