Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: How Family-Friendly Are Jem and the Holograms and The Last Witch Hunter?

by | October 23, 2015 | Comments

This week, Christy talks about the big screen adaptation of a popular 1980s cartoon and a fantasy action/adventure starring Vin Diesel. Then, on video, she also tells us whether or not three of this week’s new releases are appropriate for the little ones. Read on for details.


NEW IN THEATERS

 

Jem and the Holograms (2015) 22%

Rating: PG, for thematic material including reckless behavior, brief suggestive content and some language.

This is a live-action movie based on the 1980s cartoon series about the adventures of an all-girl rock band. Shy singer-songwriter Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples) becomes a viral Internet sensation when her younger sister, Kimber (Stefanie Scott), posts a video of her performing online. She gets whisked away to Los Angeles for a record deal but insists on bringing not just Kimber but also her two foster sisters. But while she’s there, she also must follow a series of clues her late father left behind for her in the form of hologram images stored inside a robot. There’s a lot going on here – and the movie is all of two hours long – so really little kids might be lost. But if you’ve got a girl in your house between the ages of 8 and 12, they will love this. There’s a bit of minor language and a few scenes of nighttime trespassing. The band’s hunky handler (Ryan Guzman) emerges from the shower in nothing but a towel (but that’s for the moms in the audience). Fine for young tweens and up.


The Last Witch Hunter (2015) 17%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images.

It’s boring and confusing and grim and the effects look murky and cheesy. Having said that, if you can figure out what’s going on here, many of the images are super-scary. Vin Diesel stars as a man who’s been cursed with immortality, and who’s been hunting witches for the past 800 years. There’s been a truce between humans and the witches who exist among us, but the most evil being of them all, the Queen Witch, has plans to return and unleash the Black Death upon the planet in a fit of revenge. There is the suggestion that some characters die – or at least they appear to die. There’s some language. But more potentially disturbing is the imagery of the icky witch covered in gooey, oozing glop who unleashes torrents of insects upon New York City. This movie is terrible. But if your kids insist on seeing it, it’s probably OK for young teens and up. I’d steer them toward something else, though.


NEW ON DVD

 

Jurassic World (2015) 71%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.

This is an extremely violent PG-13 movie. It’s actually kind of amazing that it got a PG-13 rating — it’s right there on the edge of the most you can get away with before earning an R. In keeping with other movies in the Jurassic Park series, people get straight-up eaten here. Or trampled. Or torn to pieces. There’s no other way to phrase it — it’s a movie about dinosaurs run amok at a (supposedly) family-friendly theme park. Thousands flee in terror as dinosaurs stomp and roar and tear their way through the scenery and eateries. The biggest of them all is the genetically engineered Indominus Rex, which stands 50 feet high and contains strands of DNA from various other creatures, making it unstoppable. A couple of kids are in particular danger: A teenager and his younger brother, visiting their aunt (Bryce Dallas Howard), who’s a top executive at Jurassic World. Luckily, a tough-guy velociraptor trainer (Chris Pratt) is there to save the day. It’s the biggest hit of the year and No. 3 all-time at the box office, but I still feel like it’s best suited for viewers around 13 and up.


Paper Towns (2015) 57%

Rating: PG-13, for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity – all involving teens.

A sweetly geeky high school senior (Nat Wolff) goes on an all-night adventure with his neighbor from across the street (Cara Delevingne), his one-time, childhood pal who’s now the rebellious, cool girl. The next morning, she has disappeared mysteriously, inspiring him and his two best friends to go on a hunt to find her. Paper Towns is based on the novel by John Green, who also wrote The Fault in Our Stars, so the young-adult crowd probably knows what’s in store. There’s some teen-movie partying, including beer bongs, keg stands and subsequent vomiting. A couple of characters engage in a hot-and-heavy make-out session, and a couple of others ponder the prospect of losing their virginity to each other on prom night. And there’s a bit of language. But this is totally fine for tweens and older. It’s a movie that I really liked — but I would have loved it if I’d seen it at age 13.


Z For Zachariah (2015) 78%

Rating: PG-13, for a scene of sexuality, partial nudity and brief strong language.

This would be a tough sit for most young viewers with its ambiguous premise and languid pacing, but if you have tweens in your family with a taste for bleak, post-apocalyptic dramas, this may work for you. Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine star as the only survivors for miles around of some sort of nuclear catastrophe. They share a farmhouse nestled in a valley somewhere in the rural South, and a creeping tension grows between them. Director Craig Zobel’s beautifully shot film features some disturbing images of disease and distress as well as mature themes of death and the necessary steps to maintain humanity. The three characters get drunk and frisky one night; there’s also a bit of nudity and the implication that a couple of the characters have had sex. We won’t spoil it by telling you which ones, though.

Tag Cloud

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