Moviegoers haven't had to worry about a shortage of films geared toward families this summer. The Deseret News has compiled its top 10 films for families from Summer 2011. The list is based on information and reviews from PTC, CNS, the Deseret News Family Media Guide's "Worth Your Time" scale, Kids in Mind and Rotten Tomatoes. Note: The WYT percentage is the percentage of Deseret News readers who have deemed the movie to be worth spending their time and money on. The Rotten Tomatoes' “Tomatometer” is a compilation of reader and critic reviews across the nation. The Kids-In-Mind numbers represent, in order, sexual content, violence and profanity on a scale of 0 to 10. Parents should also note that not all the films listed are appropriate for all ages. See more on this topic here.
(G): WYT 85 percent, Tomatometer 90 percent, Kids-In-Mind 0-1-1
Selected by both the PTC and CNS as a good family-friendly pick, this return to A.A. Milne’s classic tale pleased audiences across the nation, bringing in an impressive 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The WYT rating on our Family Media Guide may be only 85 percent, but that can likely be attributed to the direct appeal to children versus a wider audience — though an older audience might appreciate the nostalgia brought on by the long-beloved character. Looking at the next-to-nothing rating in content from Kids-In-Mind, you can’t blame Mom and Dad for taking the kids.
(PG-13): WYT 93 percent, Tomatometer 79 percent, Kids-In-Mind 3-6-4
Also selected by critics at the PTC and CNS, “The First Avenger” provides an old-fashioned, clean-cut, bully-fighting and America-loving hero with morals.
“Despite some scenes of destruction, the result is, for the most part, full-on family entertainment of the old school,” CNS said of the film. The violence (rated at a 6 out of 10 on Kids-In-Mind) makes it a film for the older kids, but the morals of the film and good role model give it a family appeal.
(PG-13): WYT 94 percent, Tomatometer 97 percent, Kids-In-Mind 3-7-3
“Though perhaps too dark and disturbing for younger children, the film emphasizes the importance — and, sometimes, the cost — of standing up to evil,” the PTC said. In this ultimate good vs. evil showdown, kids will be taught to stand for what’s right. However, the body count is high, so parents of young children need to be wary. As for quality, the film brought in a 94 percent on WYT and 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
(PG): WYT 88 percent, Tomatometer 82 percent, Kids-In-Mind 1-4-2
Action-packed and silly fun like the first "Kung Fu Panda" movie, the PTC promotes “Kung Fu Panda 2” as a great family-friendly pick with surprisingly deep reflections on overcoming fear and past mistakes to reach success. The Kids-In-Mind content rating shows this sequel is a little more violent and dark, but the goofball underdog Po’s story can be inspiring to kids.
(PG-13): WYT 83 percent, Tomatometer 77 percent, Kids-In-Mind 2-7-3
"Thor" is another film, like “Captain America,” that you might not immediately consider a family-friendly movie. The sci-fi action is intense at times, but as the PTC said, “Thor eschews profanity and graphic violence, providing thrills and action without bloodshed or foul language.” Not to mention that the story is one about change-of-heart and honor.
(PG-13): WYT 100 percent, Tomatometer 74 percent, Kids-In-Mind 3-4-4
“The Help” can be included among family-friendly entertainment because of its mild content ratings alone: Some Family Media Guide users believed the movie deserved a PG rating.
“Dramatizing the stupidity of prejudice and the expansive possibilities open to those who overcome it, ‘The Help’ is a richly humanistic tale mature viewers will welcome,” Mulderig said in his review. It might be a good pick for families with older children to use the more mature themes of the civil rights movement as a teaching tool.
(PG): WYT 77 percent, Tomatometer 48 percent, Kids-In-Mind 1-3-2
Having received a decent score on WYT and almost counting as “fresh” on the “Tomatometer,” the movie is one to consider. The PTC promotes the film as family-friendly, especially because of an underlying theme of the lead character learning the importance of family. But as mentioned before, Mulderig opted for something like “Winnie the Pooh” over “Popper’s” because of some childish potty-humor.
(PG): WYT 75 percent, Tomatometer 38 percent, Kids-In-Mind 2-2-3
In a summer of car-, hero- and animal-centered tales, this movie provides something for the girls. The movie has low content ratings on Kids-In-Mind, and while it scored poorly on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s been fairly well-received locally. The PTC promotes it on the grounds of the girls learning from their experiences and doing the right thing in the end. You may find the film cheesy and your teenage boy may not like this, but your younger daughter just might.
(G): WYT 68 percent, Tomatometer 37 percent, Kids-In-Mind 2-4-1
Reviews and reactions to this latest Disney/Pixar film have bounced back and forth from opposite ends of the spectrum. Some Family Media Guide users loved it; some thought it was the worst film Pixar has turned out. The PTC promotes it as a great underdog story and the CNS said, “Amid the sight gags and belly laughs are good lessons about family, friendship, self-esteem, environmental stewardship and acceptance of others.” Parents should note that the violence rating from Kids-In-Mind is higher than the first movie.
(PG): WYT 97 percent, no Tomatometer rating but 93 percent of the audience liked it, Kids-In-Mind N/A
This local film is not as well-known at the box office, but its success among families — especially LDS families in Utah — can’t be ignored. KSL’s Doug Wright gave it three stars and called it “an intimate portrayal of the trek that takes us right into the lives, the joys and the struggles of people we grow to care about as if they're members of our own family” in his review. The depictions of suffering may not be the best for the youngest of children, but are necessary to bring the history to life.