Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Big Hero 6, Interstellar and more

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | November 6, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Big Hero 6


Rating: PG, for action and peril, some rude humor and thematic elements.

The latest from Walt Disney Animation Studios is a lively and lovely adventure full of clever, small details and a cuddly, large robot. But it also features some heavy themes of life and death, betrayal and revenge. Brilliant, 13-year-old Hiro (voiced by Ryan Potter) and his older brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), are obsessed with robots and everything high-tech. But when Tadashi dies in an explosion early in the film, Hiro unexpectedly finds himself taking over — and befriending — his pet project: a giant, inflatable robot named Baymax (voiced by Scott Adsit) who provides top-notch medical care (and squishy hugs). Along with Tadashi’s college friends — a merry, multi-ethnic band of nerds — they form a team to battle a bad guy who steals Hiro’s latest invention with dastardly intent. The film is high-energy and colorful but it also has some dark undertones which may be disturbing for some kids. Prior to Tadashi’s death, the two brothers already were living with their aunt (Maya Rudolph) because their parents died. And the villain is a cloaked figure in a frightening mask with infinite power at his fingertips. My 5-year-old son wasn’t frightened, though, and this should be OK for nearly all ages.



Rating: PG-13, for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.

Well, the running time alone — nearly three hours — will be prohibitive to most young viewers who might be curious about Christopher Nolan’s space odyssey. For those who do choose to stick it out, they’ll have to decipher a dense script filled with dry talk of wormholes, time-space relativity issues and what’s on the other side of the horizon line. Also: the possibility of the end of life on Earth as we know it, and the need to repopulate the species in a galaxy far, far away. No biggie. Matthew McConaughey stars as a pilot-turned-farmer who dares take a crew of brilliant scientists (including Anne Hathaway) into the vast unknown to see whether life is possible on a trio of distant planets. He’s also a widower father who has made a promise to return to his daughter, played as a child by Mackenzie Foy and as an adult by Jessica Chastain. Much of the scenery is spectacular but there’s also quite a bit of it that?s frightening, including massive dust storms, a powerful tidal wave and various explosions and technical complications. I would maybe take a 12- or 13-year-old to see this; for anyone younger, Interstellar is sure to be quite a slog.

The Theory of Everything


Rating: PG-13, for some thematic elements and suggestive material.

A biopic about renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking might be a tough sell for your kids. But if the older and more enterprising ones are interested — especially those who are keen on science — there’s little here that might seem inappropriate for them. Eddie Redmayne portrays Hawking from his blissful days in the early 1960s at Cambridge, where he meets his wife, Jane (Felicity Jones), through his stunning diagnosis of motor-neuron disease and his intellectual triumph over the gradual bodily deterioration that leaves him in a wheelchair, unable to speak. As his condition worsens, their marriage evolves, and there’s the suggestion that each had an affair on the side with the other’s tacit approval. At one point, Hawking’s therapist leafs through the pages of a Penthouse magazine for his perusal. And there’s a bit of joking about the fact that Hawking was able to produce three children with his wife, despite suffering from a disease that renders him unable to move much. Fine for older tweens and up.

New On DVD:

Planes: Fire and Rescue


Rating: PG, for action and some peril.

In this sequel to the 2013 animated adventure Planes, Dusty Crophopper (voiced again by Dane Cook), the cropduster-turned-racer, is dismayed to learn he no longer can compete because of a broken, outdated gearbox. But realizing that his small town needs emergency support, he shifts his attention and receives training to become a firefighting plane. He sees lots of action, not all of which he’s prepared for, and ends up in some danger. The forest fires he helps contain are intense and all-consuming; they ravage trees and send guests at an historic lodge scurrying for safety. Some characters also discuss the fact that not all firefighters make it out of these situations alive. So if that kind of peril troubles your kids, that might be something to ponder beforehand. There’s also a handful of harmless fire truck fart jokes. Suitable for pretty much all ages.



Rating: PG, for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images.

Angelina Jolie is ideally cast as the villain from Sleeping Beauty in this dark fairy tale that traces the character’s origins. You might not have been wondering what could turn someone’s heart so cold that she’d curse a newborn baby, but Maleficent details the childhood betrayal that would define her adult life. Jolie is a ravishing and intimidating figure, of course, with those dramatic lips and cheekbones. But the creatures and surroundings in director Robert Stromberg’s film might just be more frightening in their own way. They include gnarled, talking trees, odd-looking woodland creatures, a fire-breathing dragon, a dark forest full of thorns and a couple of intense battle sequences. When I brought my son (who was 4 ½ years old at the time) to see this movie in 3-D last summer, he wasn’t frightened. But he’d also seen Sleeping Beauty beforehand, so maybe that helps. This is probably fine for kids around age 6 and up.

Tag Cloud

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