(Note: There are potential spoilers buried at the very bottom of this post only for those wanting to know specific details regarding the rating of the movie. The post is about how I preview a movie for my kids and not meant to encourage or discourage you from taking your own. Enjoy.)
Last year, I took my son to see The Force Awakens. He was 4. We sat in a near empty theater, ate popcorn, and he enjoyed the entire movie. He has seen the trailers for Rogue One and has asked to go see it, but knew that daddy had to preview it first.
Last night, I did. And I liked it.
But as parents, we understand that there is a difference between liking a movie and knowing if it is appropriate for your child. In this case, thankfully, the movie fit my approval for my kids.
I will note that both movies carry a PG-13 movie rating. Rogue One received the rating for “extended sci-fi violence and action”. So what does that mean and what’s in the movie?
If you have seen a Star Wars movie, I can tell you all the customary action is also in this movie. You have your blasters, your hand to hand combat, vehicles with blasters, and even a space station well equipped to destroy entire planets.
While there is a great deal of action in the movie, there is nothing that I would categorize as gore. Yes, there is some blood, but you don’t see gaping wounds or dismembered bodies. And because there are battles that occur in the film, and instances of violence/conflict, there are characters that die.
I do not recall any instances of foul or suggestive language. The dialogue is pretty clean in this film. And while there is some subtle romance in the movie, there are no instances that would make you blush, or feel uncomfortable watching the film with young kids. I also do not recall any instances where characters were drinking, smoking, or abusing drugs.
So if there are no bad words, gore, or scenes depicting the recreation of procreation, why is it rated PG-13? I’m going to avoid spoilers in this part of the post, but suffice to say that there may be some scenes that your child may (or may not) consider to be intense. I would not classify them as scary – I don’t remember any aliens jumping out and scaring characters. Nothing like that, but there are characters that find themselves in scenes where they were in distress or dire straits. Again, I did not consider these scenes to be graphic in nature, but if you have a child who may be more affected by emotional/intense action scenes then there are portions of this movie that might be a bit much for them.
To put it in perspective, if my 5 year old son or 9 year old daughter want to see this movie, I have no qualms taking them. However, those are my kids and I can’t claim to know yours as well as you do and have an inkling how they would react. I heard rumors that this movie was much darker but out of the entire Star Wars franchise, I would not rate it as the most intense or graphic movie (Episode 3 and 7, respectively, get those honors).
If you have doubts (about this or any movie), I encourage you to get a second opinion. My friend Whit Honea wrote this piece for Fandango about Rogue One.
I would love to hear how you determine what is appropriate for your child to see, and if you took them to see Rogue One. Please leave a comment below, or on my Facebook page.
(If you want more details, I offer more specific details all the way down at the bottom of the post. THESE DETAILS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST AFTER THE PICTURE MAY INCLUDE POTENTIAL SPOILERS. Don’t read those details if you want to watch the movie completely unaware.)
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(SPOILERS BELOW. STOP SCROLLING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE THEM.)
Some examples of the intense scenes that occur in the movie:
- A parent is shot with a blaster in front of a child. No gore, but the loss of a parent is inferred from the scene.
- There are two scenes where the Death Star destroys an entire city. There are images of the ground rising up, buckling, and destroying buildings, monuments, and again it is inferred that the destruction engulfs characters and large plots of land in the area.
- There are many characters that die – each seems to get their own scene depicting their demise. Again, not graphic, but potentially emotional.
- There is a scene where a villain slowly appears out of the shadows and mows down multiple characters using a lightsaber and the Force. It’s pretty easy to anticipate.