Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Thor: The Dark World, Plus White House Down, Grown Ups 2 and more!

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

by | November 8, 2013 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Thor: The Dark World

66%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.

This sequel to the 2011 hit Thor is pure spectacle – massive amounts of pixelated carnage, a repetitive and numbing barrage of noisy sameness. The battles are so big and messy and so full of over-the-top creatures, the Marvel comic-inspired mayhem barely registers as anything recognizable. The hunky, hammer-wielding Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must fight to restore peace and balance to the cosmos when an ancient, evil force threatens to take over during some sort of rare harmonic convergence. One well-chosen snarl from his evil brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is more disturbing than any of the on-screen fights. Oh, and giant chunks of London get flattened by space ships – but again, the violence to too cartoonish to be truly frightening. Fine for older kids, maybe 9 and up.

New On DVD:

White House Down

52%

Rating: PG-13, for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.

It’s sort of astonishing that this movie got a PG-13 rating, given the insane amount of gunfire, explosions and carnage it contains. After all, this is a Roland Emmerich movie. But! Unlike that other recent (and similar) White-House-under-siege film Olympus Has Fallen, which was rated R, there’s barely any bloodshed. It’s just as numbing but not nearly so gruesome. So there you have it. This time, Channing Tatum must save our nation’s capital and protect a president under attack. What troubled me, as a mother, was seeing Joey King, as Tatum’s 11-year-old daughter, being used as a pawn — watching her get roughed up by bad guys, including having a gun repeatedly placed to her head. She’s a tough girl who can stand up for herself, but the extent to which the villains abuse her as a source of audience thrills seemed gratuitous. These images may not disturb older kids, but they’ll likely bother their parents. Also: Jamie Foxx, as the Obamaesque president, drops the one F-bomb you get with a PG-13 rating.

Grown Ups 2

8%

Rating: PG-13, for crude and suggestive content, language and some male rear nudity.

I cannot imagine why most kids would want to tag along with Adam Sandler and their man-child friends as they stumble through a series of gross and crass sight gags, then get in touch with their feelings as they learn to embrace middle age. But for older kids who might get a kick out of puerile humor, this sequel to the 2010 hit Grown Ups features, but is not limited to: fart jokes, pee jokes, poop jokes, vomit jokes, jokes about boobs, jokes about butts and jokes about stoned, bi-polar school bus drivers. Otherwise known as Sandler’s oeuvre. There is smart and clever slapstick humor out there – share it with your children instead.

Parkland

50%

Rating: PG-13, for bloody sequences of ER trauma procedures, some violent images and language, and smoking throughout.

Thematically, this recreation of the JFK assassination is probably best for older kids. A star-studded cast including Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver takes us through those horrific days from the perspective of various people involved in the event. They include Secret Service and FBI agents, Abraham Zapruder (who famously shot the film that captured the killing) and the trauma surgeons at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, where the president ultimately was pronounced dead. Although director Peter Landesman takes a detached, matter-of-fact tone — and doesn’t show us the shooting itself — he still depicts a graphically bloody scene, which would be uncomfortable for anyone to watch.

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