Rating: PG-13, for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content.
This telling of the ancient eruption of Mount Vesuvius is a massively violent PG-13 disaster movie — albeit with the benefit of slick, computer-generated effects. Hunky gladiators beat their opponents to a pulp and slice and dice each other with their mighty swords. Stabbings, impalings, beheadings — name a brutal method for men to destroy each other and it’s probably in here. And that’s long before the volcano goes boom and starts shooting fireballs at the unsuspecting citizens of Pompeii. In the midst of the mayhem, bland young lovers Milo (Kit Harington) and Cassia (Emily Browning) scurry to survive — but they still find time to ogle each other and cuddle through the smoke and soot. There were kids at the screening I attended who were probably around 8 years old, but I wouldn’t bring a child to see this movie. I wouldn’t bring anyone, for that matter.
Rating: PG-13, for some disturbing images and smoking.
Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki’s swan song is beautiful and soaring — quite literally — in his distinctive animated tradition. This version of the film has been dubbed into English, with an all-star cast of actors including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski and Stanley Tucci voicing parts originally performed in Japanese. While young kids may find themselves drawn to the visuals, they also may become bored and distracted by the deliberate pacing and delicate tone. (This is not exactly The Lego Movie.) And the subject matter and dialogue will definitely go over the heads of younger viewers. The Wind Rises tells the story of the engineer who designed Japanese airplanes during World War II — including the one that bombed Pearl Harbor. It features some battle sequences and disturbing imagery. Suitable for tweens and up.