A parental guide to film watching as a family.
Star Wars-The Last Jedi
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Benicio Del Toro, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Opens: December 15.
Plot: The second film in the famed and incredibly popular sequel trilogy digs into Rey’s past and she learns more about her special powers and abilities. Her journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker continue as she delves more deeply into her force and world in which she is surrounded.
Parenting Points: This movie in not shy on violence and action and the tense scenes may be too extreme for the younger crowd. Tweens and teens will love the action and suspense and the positive role models in the movie are parent pleasers.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
Cast: Kirsten Bell, Idina Manzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff. MPAA Rating: G. Opens: November 22.
Plot: Olaf goes door to door in search of the best holiday family traditions in order to find all of the best choices for Elsa, Anna, and Kris.
Parenting Points: This audience friendly, twenty-one-minute featurette, precedes the Coco movie and is filled with lovable, sing-able, tunes every toddler-ten year old will be humming through the holidays.
Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, J.K. Simmons. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Opens: November 17.
Plot: DC comics is at it again but this time they are combining 5 heroes who band together to work against some evil enemies. These heroes, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg and Flash are ready to save the planet and save the world by joining forces in order to stop catastrophic events from taking place. The action swirls around fire, explosions, crashing, and blowing things up.
Parenting Points: Some of the elements and “monsters” may frighten younger audiences but the preteen siblings will have a hard time getting bored with the blasts, and thunderous explosions, and constant action. Some scenes may be tense and accompanied by mild language, but the moral of the story, good versus evil and good winning, is a perk.
Cast: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodrigues, Daveed Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Bobby Cannavale. MPAA Rating: PG. Opens: December 15.
Plot: Raised by a young girl who was gentle and kind, Ferdinand is not your typical bull outside of his large size and stature. He makes one misstep is suddenly thrust into the life of a fighting bull of which he is not. He, along with some friends, conspire to escape the fighting world and return to a peaceful life.
Parenting Points: Ferdinand is misjudged due to his size and the fact that he is a bull. This story highlights the fact that people are better off being themselves and steering clear of trying to fit into a mold that someone else has created. The humorous antics of the animals will keep audiences of all ages entertained as long as the tween and teens can get past the fact that the movie is animated and silly. There will be small doses of crude humor with which to contend.
Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Anthony Gonzales, Renee Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguia, Gael Garcia Bernal, Jamie Camil. MPAA Rating: PG. Opens: November 22.
Plot: The makers of Inside Out and Toy Story bring us a story of a young boy baffled by the ban on music created by generations before him. Hoping to become a famous musician he searches for answers in the Land of the Dead where he discovers the truth about music, his family, and his ancestors.
Parenting Points: Coco’s dream of becoming a musician and his courage to search for answers makes for a great model of perseverance, strength, and discovery. Although the movie is littered with skeletons they are humorous and colorful, and may offset any scare factor, but keep in mind, the PG rating is for elements that may be frightening.
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Noah Jupe, Mandy Patinkin. MPAA Rating: PG. Opens: November 17.
Plot: Since August (Auggie) Pullman suffers from a facial deformity, and undergoes several surgeries, he is forced to learn from home isolated from the mean kids who typically have jurisdiction over public school. As he matures, it becomes evident to his mom that he must integrate with other kids his age and acquire an education outside of his home. Auggie meets a handful of kids who are kind and who see beyond his deformity all the while fending off the detestable tormenters. In the end, Aggie’s courage and character win the hearts of the kids and teachers alike and his popularity explodes.
Parenting Points: This movie has a surplus of positive plugs highlighting good character, courage, and how treating others with kindness is always the best choice. This movie also focuses on the advantage of facing adversity head on and not allowing fear to have control. Kids of all ages will gain valuable lessons from this movie and cheer on Auggie as he makes the best of a difficult environment. However, keep in mind that the PG rating implies mild language and intense themes.
Cast: Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Kelly Clarkson, Keegan-Michael Key, Kristin Chenowenth, Christopher Plummer, Steven Yeun, Kris Kristofferson, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey. MPAA Rating: PG. Opens: November 17.
Plot: From the makers of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, this movie tells the story of the first Christmas from the perspective of a small donkey named Bo. Bo has sights high on bigger dreams and a better life and one day gathers the courage to break out of normalcy and embark on an adventure. While on the road Bo meets several animals each with a unique personality who discover a star they begin following. The star leads them to a stable hosting the very first Christmas and Bo and his animal pals become unexpected heroes.
Parenting Points: The upbeat music and humorous animals will keep the little ones engaged as will the under an hour movie length. While there may be some tense moments with threatening humans and animals, parents will feel comfortable with the story line of the heroes gaining victory while villains suffer from loss.
Jumanji-Welcome to the Jungle
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Karen Gillian, Ser’Darius Blai. MPAA Rating: PG. Opens: December 20.
Plot: This brand new adventureveers from the classic version of the film’s plot and involves four teenagers who are launched into the Jumanji jungle atmosphere via a video game they find in the school’s basement during detention. To beat the game, they are forced to return to their real lives and continue the adventure by changing how they view themselves or risk the fate of becoming stuck in the jungle adventure forever.
Parenting Points: Although the animals in the “video game” are animated there are scary moments and violence which may be upsetting to younger kids. Positive points include people with diverse backgrounds working as a team to overcome adversity and, in the end, becoming a better version of themselves.
By Linda Vujnov