Parental Guidance: Monsters University and Jack the Giant Slayer

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

by Christy Lemire | Friday, Jun. 21 2013

In Theaters This Week:

Monsters University

78%

Rating: G

This prequel to the 2001 Pixar hit Monsters, Inc. follows tiny, lime-green Mikey (voiced again by Billy Crystal) and big, blue Sulley (John Goodman) during their freshman year in college as they study to be the master scarers they'll eventually become. Speaking of scares, there aren't too many in this lively, colorful, family-friendly comedy; I took my 3 -year-old son and he did just fine. The dean of the scaring school -- an intimidating, centipede-like creature voiced by Helen Mirren -- might frighten the littlest viewers as she swoops through the air and then scampers about on her sharp claws. The rest of the monsters are goofy, or furry, or squishy, and thoroughly ready to be stocking stuffers this Christmas.

World War Z

68%

Rating: PG-13, for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.

The MPAA rating kinda says it all. This adaptation of the Max Brooks book is a seriously intense, visceral and frightening experience. I can't recall walking out of a movie feeling this edgy and paranoid since Aliens. Brad Pitt, as a former United Nations investigator, must hopscotch the globe to determine the source of a pandemic that quickly turns people into zombies -- not the slow-moving, shuffling zombies but convulsing, flailing, ravenous freaks. There's also a ton of heavy-duty gunfire, panic in the streets, and a general obliteration of civilized society as we know it. Pre-teens who've played a lot of complicated, first-person-shooter video games probably won't have a problem with this; for the parents of anyone younger, get a babysitter.

New On DVD:

Jack the giant Slayer

52%

Rating: PG-13, for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language.

Bryan Singer's 3-D retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk legend features enormous and richly detailed action sequences. The beanstalk itself -- and, later, a series of simultaneous beanstalks -- are a powerful sight to behold. And the giants dwelling at the top are fearsome and fully realized creatures with the help of motion-capture technology, especially Bill Nighy as their sadistic, two-headed leader. These are not bumbling behemoths but rather nimble warriors with a taste for blood who put the fright back into fee-fi-fo-fum. Kids younger than 10 or so might be freaked out.

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