Given the recent glut of gore and ”mature” mayhem in theaters, you may have thought your kids would never eat movie popcorn again. At last, the dry spell ends, as April brings a shower of films both classic (Jane Eyre) and not so (Sgt. Bilko). And for those with sentimental favorites, some beloved dogs return (Homeward Bound II, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2). Once again at the movies, kids are reigning.
ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN 2
What It’s About: Celestial canines Charlie (voice of Charlie Sheen) and Itchy (Dom DeLuise) have a devil of a time when they’re entrusted to return to earth to fetch the angel Gabriel’s stolen horn.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Good heavens, yes, though taking them may have you feeling a little like you deserve a few extra stars in your crown.
Sex/Nudity: A torch-singing dog is subjected to the harmless catcalls of some admiring mutts.
Violence/Scariness: A small boy gets kid-napped and locked up, and Charlie makes a pact with the devil.
Objectionable Words/Phrases: None.
Lesson to Extract: You will always find paradise wherever your loved ones are.
Appropriate Ages: 6 and up.
What It’s About: Intelligence consultant Maj. David Grant (Kurt Russell) and Lieut. Col. Austin Travis (Steven Seagal) try to rescue passengers on board a hijacked plane.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Yes — and you just might let them. The movie is suspenseful and smart, and although violent acts occur, actual gore is kept to a minimum.
Sex/ Nudity: None.
Drugs/Alcohol: Cocktails at a reception and during the flight.
Violence/Scariness: Many fatal shootings; a stewardess and members of the rescue team are killed.
Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 55.
Lesson to Extract: Most successful missions are best accomplished via teamwork.
Appropriate Ages: 17 and up.
A FAMILY THING
What It’s About: After good ol’ boy Earl Pilcher Jr. (Robert Duvall) learns from the white woman who raised him that his real mother was black, he goes to Chicago to meet his half brother, Ray (James Earl Jones), and his blind aunt (Irma P. Hall).
Will Kids Want to Watch It? No; they probably won’t be able to relate to this sometimes sobering tale of self-discovery.
Sex/Nudity: A glimpse of Earl’s mother’s bare bottom during childbirth.
Drugs/Alcohol: Drinking in bars and at a grave site.
Violence/Scariness: Earl’s mother and stepmother die; Earl is held at gunpoint during a carjacking.
Objectionable Words/Phrases: About 75.
Lesson to Extract: Sometimes identity is only skin-deep.
Appropriate Ages: 13 and up.
HOMEWARD BOUND II: LOST IN SAN FRANCISCO
What It’s About: Precocious pets Chance (voice of Michael J. Fox), Sassy (Sally Field), and Shadow (Ralph Waite) must find their way home again — this time from the big city.
Will Kids Want to Watch It? Yes. Though even more manipulative and product-plugging than the original, all that animal magnetism will have kids giving Homeward Bound II the old paws up.
Violence/Scariness: Dognappers capture Chance; a little boy is trapped in a fire; a puppy is abandoned.
Objectionable Words/Phrases: One.
Lesson to Extract: You can go home again.
Appropriate Ages: 6 and up.