An Age-By-Age Guide to the Best Family DVDs

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Common Sense Media on Jul 19, 2011 at 2:10PM

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An Age-By-Age Guide to the Best Family DVDs

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2011 Family DVDs: An Age-By-Age Guide

We partnered with Common Sense Media to bring you an age-by-age guide to some of the best family DVDs so no one gets stuck watching something that gives them nightmares, or is a little too, um, "mature" for their 4-year-old. Happy viewing!


What you should know: Parents need to know that this reimagining of the classic Rapunzel tale is one Disney "princess" movie that's sure to entertain both boys and girls. Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) isn't the typical princess in need of rescuing; she does her fair share of saving Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) -- who's no Prince Charming. There's a lot of romantic chemistry between them (flirting, gazing, and eventually hand-holding, embracing, and a kiss or two), as well as a couple of creepy scenes in which the youthful-looking Mother Gothel uses her beauty to lure men to do what she wants. Expect some brief but memorable cartoon violence -- one character dies, another one nearly dies after being pierced by a knife, and there are plenty of last-minute escapes from arrows, horse-mounted soldiers, fire, etc. The movie's messages about girl power and seeing beyond appearances are positive and inspiring; kids will learn that we all have dreams, and we should do everything we can to make them come true.

Best for: Ages 5+
Educational value: Kids learn the importance of seeing beyond appearances -- all those "thugs" in the pub had sweet, generous dreams "deep down inside."
Positive messages: The movie has sweet messages about honesty, friendship, and love. Rapunzel did love Mother, even though Mother never truly loved her, and Rapunzel's own parents loved her so much that they never gave up looking for her. Rapunzel sees past Flynn's reputation as a thief to the brave, kind-hearted man she eventually falls in love with, while Flynn realizes that Rapunzel's naive optimism is good and inspiring. She sees the best in people, including him, and that helps him act like the best man he can be. There's also an empowering message for girls: They'll learn that it's not just the boys who save princesses; princesses can do the rescuing as well.
Positive role models: Even though Mother isn't a positive role model -- she's the epitome of selfishness and cruelty -- Rapunzel is quite the opposite. She's perpetually optimistic, looking for the good in any situation. She feels guilty when she thinks she's broken Mother's rules, she gives everyone a chance, and she inspires those around her to act more righteously. She's kind, loving, and selfless.
Violence & scariness: Cartoonish action violence includes chases, close calls, and a lot of escapes -- evading arrows, steadily rising water, fire, and a big group of the king's soldiers. Mother comes across as creepy and is mean to Rapunzel; she also tries to kill Flynn (he's pierced with a knife and appears dead). A character falls to her death but sort of vanishes before she hits the ground. Some kids may be disturbed by Mother's transformation and her eventual demise.
Sexy stuff: Rapunzel and Flynn flirt, exchange longing looks, and eventually hold hands and kiss. Mother uses her youthful appearance to lure men to do her bidding.
Language: Infrequent rude language like "stupid" and "dumb."
Consumerism: Even before the movie registered on kids' radar, Disney had licensed dolls, books, and toys that are constantly promoted.
Drinking, drugs, & smoking: Characters go to a restaurant where tough-looking characters are eating and drinking, and one character slurs his speech a bit and acts "drunk," but young kids probably won't pick up on that -- to them it will seem as though he just looks and acts silly.


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