Parental Guidance

Not Seeing Ready Player One? Here Are Three Other Spielberg Movies for Your Kids and Teens

by | March 30, 2018 | Comments

This week’s big movie, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, features a video game-styled narrative, a virtual world, and a smorgasbord of pop culture references to things like the Ninja Turtles, Back to the FutureOverwatch, and the Iron Giant, so there’s a good chance your kids will be interested. But not everything in the film is kid-friendly, so Christy breaks it down and offers a trio of earlier Spielberg films that might be more appealing.


Ready Player One (2018) 72%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, partial nudity and language.

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Ernest Cline novel is an explosion of ‘80s nostalgia, so it’s definitely aimed at those of us who grew up in the era. But the majority of the film takes place within a colorful and crammed virtual reality known as the Oasis, filled with video game and movie characters, so kids will certainly be drawn to it, as well. In a dystopian near future in Columbus, Ohio, a teenage gamer named Wade (Tye Sheridan) spends most of his time in the Oasis to escape his dreary life. He and his friends are all searching for the three hidden keys left behind by the game’s mysterious creator (Mark Rylance); whoever finds them all gets to run the whole place. Despite the many over-the-top CGI battles and chases that take place, involving everyone from The Iron Giant to Chucky from the Child’s Play movies, most of the action is extremely cartoonish. It’s also breathless and non-stop throughout the movie’s overlong 140 minutes, with various kinds of weaponry. But there’s one segment in particular you should look out for: It’s a reference to a particularly chilling Stephen King movie adaptation, and it might be too intense for younger children. My 8-year-old son, who has seen a ton of movies in his life (including Spielberg’s Jaws), was terrified, trembling and sobbing in a ball in his seat. There’s also a healthy amount of language and general peril throughout. I’d say this is fine for mature tweens and older.


If Ready Player One sounds like it’ll be too much for your kids to handle, here are a few more suggestions from the legendary Spielberg that might be a better fit:

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 98%

Rating: PG, for language and mild thematic elements.

One of my favorite movies ever, and one I had the pleasure of sharing with my son a few years back when we did a “Summer of Spielberg.” I was almost 10 years old when I first saw it, but even as an adult all these years later, I still cry every time. Surely you know the story by now; this is one of the director’s most enduring classics. An alien gets left behind on Earth in Southern California, and a sweet, sensitive boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) dares to help him get back home. There’s a bit of language throughout, as well as general tension and peril as Elliott, his older brother, and their friends try to escape the government agents who are after them. And it turns unbearably sad when the deeply connected Elliott and E.T. physically deteriorate at the same time. But the themes of friendship, teamwork and bravery – and that overall Spielbergian magic — are more than worthwhile. Fine for kids around 5 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes

The Adventures of Tintin (2011) 73%

Rating: PG, for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking.

Spielberg’s adaptation of Herge’s classic Tintin comic books – his first animated film — is a visual delight for all ages. This isn’t necessarily one of the director’s most important movies, but it’s a good introduction to his work for the younger viewers in your home. Jamie Bell provides the voice of the title character, a young investigative reporter who works alongside his best friend and dog, Snowy. He helps a ship captain (Andy Serkis) search for hidden treasure that was lost on a sunken ship belonging to his ancestor. There’s a ton of pirate action along the way – swashbuckling, gunfire, explosions, that kind of thing. The film has a lot of energy and it moves in lively, imaginative ways. But Tintin is also a great hero for children with this bravery and resourcefulness. It might be too intense for very little kids, but fine for viewers around 7 or 8 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Jaws (1975) 98%

Rating: PG, for adult situations/language and violence.

This one’s definitely for older kids, but it’s very much worth revisiting with them, especially because it’s such a classic and a hugely defining film for Spielberg. This is the movie that established him as an exciting, important young filmmaker. And it’s the original blockbuster, ushering in the kind of summer movie season that’s become a ritual in the decades since. The premise is pretty simple: A great white shark terrorizes tourists at a charming New England beach town, and an intrepid crew (Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw) set off into the water to track it down. When Jaws came out, it was terrifying. And it’s still a suspenseful experience because Spielberg waits for so long to show us the actual shark. The mere idea of it is more then enough to put us on edge, as is John Williams’ iconic, spare score. In retrospect, the mechanical shark looks pretty cheesy and of-its-time. Still, danger abounds, and a young boy is among the shark’s victims. We see body parts, blood and panic. But I’d say this is fine for viewers around 10 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Tag Cloud

spanish language sports The CW dc Crackle Mudbound CBS Television Academy FX toy story Rock crime drama Reality Competition President Best and Worst Music tv talk YouTube Infographic BET versus ghosts cooking WarnerMedia crime thriller See It Skip It elevated horror Awards Captain marvel mockumentary zombies sitcom ABC Family Amazon Apple TV Plus CMT Martial Arts Fox News Cartoon Network E! Comic Book Oscars Red Carpet cats TV Christmas Logo VH1 Rom-Com Cosplay Showtime Mary poppins Epix Masterpiece Tumblr docudrama Black Mirror TV Land SDCC disaster The Walking Dead Disney Plus historical drama revenge Tomatazos Tarantino Heroines DGA nature Paramount Nickelodeon Kids & Family Marathons American Society of Cinematographers hist Star Trek Britbox Certified Fresh festivals robots IFC Films witnail harry potter National Geographic social media Disney streaming service Podcast spider-man 2017 Trailer spy thriller cops Country Anna Paquin anime cults FOX Netflix crime Photos Writers Guild of America First Reviews Rocketman animated ABC travel cancelled television Women's History Month LGBT Syfy Marvel Set visit Spike theme song Star Wars miniseries cancelled police drama Interview composers Shudder south america AMC indie Acorn TV strong female leads VICE Disney YouTube Red Sony Pictures APB History USA SundanceTV comic science fiction Classic Film batman free movies singing competition YA MTV DC Universe Western green book casting 2019 GLAAD Crunchyroll Grammys Teen Quiz 24 frames Countdown spain Year in Review children's TV based on movie cinemax finale breaking bad First Look war stand-up comedy Opinion Extras San Diego Comic-Con Dark Horse Comics Summer joker cancelled TV series Musicals book DC streaming service renewed TV shows Premiere Dates Drama Cannes CW Seed Winners Mystery Action Stephen King adventure HBO Max spinoff RT History Pet Sematary 71st Emmy Awards Pride Month anthology YouTube Premium 20th Century Fox IFC Ellie Kemper Superheroe ESPN award winner TruTV Universal zombie romantic comedy Toys dramedy Sundance crossover golden globes Character Guide Reality Pirates kids video GoT independent Polls and Games romance transformers DC Comics CNN Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 2018 Pixar medical drama Family dragons binge Film cars New York Comic Con Lifetime Winter TV talk show SXSW Starz OWN politics TLC justice league Paramount Network RT21 2016 Brie Larson unscripted Turner Emmys slashers TCA 2017 Apple TV+ Comics on TV latino TBS series discovery Esquire Musical jamie lee curtis Biopics Watching Series Mindy Kaling Elton John Thanksgiving hispanic PBS Video Games Super Bowl MSNBC Nominations The Arrangement Emmy Nominations Binge Guide Song of Ice and Fire DirecTV Mary Tyler Moore Apple Lucasfilm adaptation Horror dceu Amazon Prime Comedy Central facebook Vudu halloween Nat Geo NYCC MCU mutant foreign Creative Arts Emmys E3 serial killer Mary Poppins Returns technology El Rey TNT HBO Sci-Fi TCM psycho diversity what to watch vampires true crime game show Shondaland ratings Warner Bros. biography TIFF Spring TV Trivia 2015 BBC America comiccon Ghostbusters canceled Adult Swim werewolf Columbia Pictures cancelled TV shows TV renewals richard e. Grant space 007 Marvel Studios Bravo Pop Lionsgate thriller Spectrum Originals boxoffice Comedy Peacock Holidays Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Turner Classic Movies NBC teaser quibi Chernobyl zero dark thirty LGBTQ sequel movies television Food Network Fantasy FXX Walt Disney Pictures BBC supernatural 21st Century Fox WGN Schedule 45 Calendar A&E Box Office X-Men USA Network Disney Channel Amazon Prime Video game of thrones The Purge A24 natural history Superheroes CBS All Access psychological thriller Sundance Now Awards Tour Hulu Film Festival blaxploitation Fall TV canceled TV shows doctor who PaleyFest Rocky Election Valentine's Day Animation aliens GIFs The Witch political drama Marvel Television Ovation Sneak Peek Trophy Talk TCA Arrowverse Freeform period drama ITV streaming