Extreme violence, loads of blood and gore, explicit sex and f-bombs galore, oh my! Not to mention sadistic villains and questionable superheroes. Let’s face it, gone are the days of family friendly television. Rarely do we see an actual family (Mom, Dad and kids) give TV viewers a glimpse of wholesome shenanigans, morality and happiness. Also in the minority are movies that provide adventure-filled romps which don’t give the kiddies nightmares.
Memorial Day is when movie studios unleash what they hope will be the next summer blockbuster. However fewer and fewer of these films might be a healthy choice for families. And the chances moviegoers have of choosing something safe are vanishing rapidly. So what can hapless parents do? Enter Focus on the Family® and its movie review website, PluggedIn.
The site provides reviews of just how family friendly a movie really is. Movies are rated on five elements: positive content, sexual content, violent content, crude or profane language, and drug and alcohol content. Spoiler alert: The reviewers pull no punches in describing what a viewer can expect should they decide on a particular film. Some moviegoers may not want their experience diminished by such revelations. On the other hand, families who wish to avoid any unpleasant surprises should welcome PluggedIn’s candid observations.
A fun fact included in some of the video reviews is how movies are rated from one to five with a humorous conclusion from a particular feature of the film. For example, the superhero smack down movie “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” rated PG-13, received only “two-and-a-half batarangs out of five” for family friendliness. While the animated feature “Zootopia,” rated PG, about a girl bunny from the country who ventures to the big city to be a police officer, was given “four munched carrots out of five.”
So, for moviegoers looking to have a safe experience, this writer awards PluggedIn.com five feathered quill pens out of five for family friendliness.
Here’s a list of some upcoming films family moviegoers may find okay (with release dates in parenthesis):
“Finding Dory” (June 17) – Thirteen years after the animated smash hit “Finding Nemo,” the story follows Dory’s search for her parents with the help of several new comers.
“The Secret Life of Pets” (July 08) – This animated story depicts the troubles of a loyal family pet whose comfy life is challenged after its owners rescue a mongrel.
“Ice Age: Collision Course” (July 22) – Can the pre-historic gang save the Earth when an asteroid targets the planet?
In the wake of recent successful Christian themed movies, these releases are offered:
“Last Days in the Desert” (May 13) – The film explores Jesus’ temptation by Satan during His forty days in the wilderness.
“Ben-Hur” (August 19) – A remake of the 1959 classic about a Jewish prince condemned to slavery includes the climactic chariot race.
However, careful consideration should be given to this crop of franchise extensions that started out with the line clearly drawn between good vs. evil. They now tend towards a confusion of who’s a hero and who’s a villain and/or wallow in extreme violence.
“Captain America: Civil War” (May 06) – In this next addition of Marvel comic’s hero lineup, the good guys are divided into two camps and fight it out with each other over Cap’s loyalty to an old friend.
“Independence Day 2: Resurgence” (June 24) – Year’s after Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum stopped an invasion, the aliens return in a bigger and badder ship intent on destruction.
“Ghostbusters” (July 15) – The fearsome four have been replaced by an all female ghost hunting team.
“Star Trek Beyond” (July 22) – The film continues to expand the Trekkie universe with the introduction of a supper villain intent on bringing down the Federation.
As the movies are released, remember to check out their reviews at PlugedIn.com.