Family filmgoer reviews: 'Tangled,' 'Narnia,' 'Burlesque,' 'Phillip Morris'
6 and older
A 3-D, animated riff on the Rapunzel fairy tale, "Tangled" is a sure bet for kids 6 and older - funny in both dialogue and physical humor, beautifully made and with inspired musical comedy numbers. A sorceress steals baby Rapunzel from the castle and locks the child in a tower. Rapunzel's ever-growing magical tresses keep the sorceress looking young. When Rapunzel nears 18, Flynn Rider, a thief on the run, scales the tower to hide out. Flynn gets Rapunzel out into the real world, and then drops his criminal ways to protect her.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Most of the action sequences are not scary and played for comedy. The 3-D effects are muted and not likely to intimidate kids 6 and older.
10 and older
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER (PG)
World War II is raging over England as this third "Narnia" installment begins, but the only action takes place in Narnia, and it is fantastical and nongraphic, so the film is fine for kids 10 and older. (It might be thematically confusing for under-10s.) Lucy and Edmund return to Narnia. In their bedroom, the painting of an ancient ship comes to life and floods the room. They emerge in the seas of Narnia, where King Caspian rescues them. They all encounter the evil green mist, which conjures their worst fears and temptations.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The script includes references to "slave traders." The battle scenes show swords, crossbows and fists, but no injuries. The Dawn Treader encounters giant, scary sea serpents and huge waves.
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - PART I (PG-13)
A "PG-10" rating would be perfect. Kids younger than 10 may quail at the attacks on Harry, Hermione and Ron. Harry et al. wander the wilderness, trying to stay safe and destroy the Horcrux, a jewel containing part of Voldemort's soul.
THE BOTTOM LINE: With SPOILER ALERTS: Contains tragic deaths as well as several bloody injuries. Voldemort sics his serpent on a Hogwarts professor. Someone nearly drowns, and everyone engages in explosive wand battles. Harry shares a kiss with Ginny Weasley. Dumbledore's tomb is opened. Harry weeps at his parents' grave.
The movie's entire premise is too sexualized for middle-schoolers. Pop diva Christina Aguilera plays Ali, a waitress who leaves a small town for Los Angeles, hoping to dance and sing. She lands a job as a waitress at the Burlesque Lounge. Ali proves to Tess (Cher) she has singing and dancing chops.
THE BOTTOM LINE: There are several implied overnight trysts, but we see only kissing, ever-skimpier clothing, and then they cut to the next morning in bed. The dancing is very steamily choreographed. Characters drink a lot, some smoke, and the script contains midrange profanity and sexual slang.