A family guide to 2012's summer movies

By Jeffrey Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, May 2 2012 10:18 a.m. MDT

Everyone who has seen 2008’s “The Dark Knight,” however, should realize that this is not a series meant for younger audiences. If anything, “The Dark Knight Rises” seems to have taken the nihilistic quality of the previous film a step further. Parents should exercise caution before letting their children see this, even though it is allegedly a superhero movie.

“Neighborhood Watch” (not yet rated) — Due to some unfortunate similarities with the tragic Trayvon Martin case, timing could not be worse for Ben Stiller’s new sci-fi comedy about a group of suburban dad’s fighting off an alien invasion.

Although it will probably receive a PG-13, it is still too early to guess at the film’s tone and content.

August

“The Bourne Legacy” (not yet rated) — Jeremy Renner (“Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” “The Avengers”) stars in a spinoff of the Matt Damon “Bourne” movies as Aaron Cross, another agent from Operation Treadstone. Audiences should expect the same hyperkinetic style that defined the previous exploits of Damon’s Jason Bourne (as well as an entire generation of action movies that followed).

This means plenty of fistfights, car chases, explosions and other forms of semi-realistic violence that may not be suitable for younger audience members.

“Total Recall” (not yet rated) — A remake of a 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie set on Mars, this time starring Colin Farrell (“Fright Night”) and set on the far less exotic planet of Earth.

Its $200 million price tag all but demands a PG-13 rating in order for “Total Recall” to make a profit, but like many of the August releases, specifics are still unavailable.

“ParaNorman” (not yet rated) — From Henry Selick, the director of “Nightmare Before Christmas” and the underrated “Coraline,” “Paranorman” might be the only film this year that could give “Brave” a run for its money as great family entertainment.

Due to its subject matter (a boy who can communicate with the dead), “ParaNorman” might be too frightening for small children. Otherwise, this should make for great family viewing, especially in the build-up to Halloween.

“Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed” (PG-13) — A sequel to 2003’s award-winning World War II film, “Airborne Creed” focuses on a group of paratroopers in the south of France.

Coming at the tail end of summer, “Airborne Creed” may provide a sobering alternative to the mindless violence perpetrated by so many Hollywood blockbusters. It is rated PG-13 for “wartime violence.”

Related list: Summer 2012 movie preview

A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff Peterson is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.

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