Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: How to Train Your Dragon 2, Non-Stop, and Jack Ryan

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

by | June 13, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

How to Train Your Dragon 2


Rating: PG, for adventure action and some mild rude humor.

In this sequel to the 2010 animated hit, the young Viking Hiccup (voiced with great warmth and humor by Jay Baruchel) has indeed trained his dragon, the playful and loyal Toothless. Dragons are actually a big part of everyone’s daily life now, serving as friendly companions, and they’re all depicted in wondrous color and vibrant detail. But another challenge is in store for Hiccup and his pals as they must conquer a villain (voiced by an intimidating Djimon Hounsou) who wants to capture all the dragons to form an evil army, or something. While the movie is lively and thrilling for viewers of all ages, there are some serious themes, daring deeds and dire consequences. Hiccup reconnects with an important figure from his past and watches as another key character dies. I brought my 4½-year-old son and he was a bit frightened only by the Hounsou character, but the heavier stuff might register more with slightly older kids. Fine for most ages.

New On DVD:



Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references.

In the latest Liam Neeson festival of butt kicking, the veteran actor plays a troubled air marshal who receives a series of threatening text messages while on a late-night, trans-Atlantic flight from New York to London. He must deposit $150 million into an account or a passenger will die every 20 minutes. And so a few people will indeed have to die to make it clear that the terrorist is serious. Non-Stop is extremely violent, full of brawls, punches, shootings, stabbings and a battle to the death inside an airplane bathroom. But it all results in very little blood to ensure a PG-13 rating. There’s also a briefcase full of cocaine and an amorous couple who get frisky beneath a blanket. OK for tweens.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit


Rating: PG-13, for sequences of violence and intense action, and brief strong language.

Chris Pine stars as the title character, the hero of so many best-selling Tom Clancy novels, whom Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck have played in the past. This is a prequel/reboot of sorts, featuring Ryan as he’s just beginning his career as a CIA operative. It’s post-9/11, and he must travel to Moscow undercover as a financial analyst to find out why a major firm is holding some secret accounts. (Director Kenneth Branagh plays the company’s president, who has some dastardly plans for the money.) Things get dangerous soon after Ryan arrives, including killing a man who comes after him in his hotel room. Gunfire, car chases, explosions and a deadly shooting follow. Based on the violence and the complexity of the subject matter, this is probably suitable for tweens and up only.