Are your kids pulling at your sleeve begging you to take them to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens? More importantly, is it a film that they should see?
There’s certainly been some concern from parents that the film is too scary and intense for many children, particularly under 8s.
The film’s director JJ Abrams has this to say. “I don’t believe that this movie is too intense for an 8 or 9 year old but I’d always recommend that you see the movie first and then make the decision for yourself. I wouldn’t say it’s great for 5 year olds and then someone go and see it with a 5 year old and say it was too intense. See the film first or check with someone who has.”
We talked to a few parents and their kids aged from 5-14 and asked them what they thought. Here’s 5 things they thought you should know before you go…
Our reviewers said ‘Best for children aged 7+’
The Force Awakens is rated 12A so children aged 12 and under can see the film if they are accompanied by an adult – which basically means you need to decide.
Most of our reviewers thought it was fine for younger kids – certainly those over 7. If you are not sure if your child is ready, watch the trailers with the kids before you go to see the film. If they find the trailers scary, then they are probably not ready for the film.
As with all the films in the Star Wars franchise, it’s loud, thrilling and action-packed! There are goodies, baddies, funny-looking aliens, killer monsters, battle scenes in space and on the ground, fight scenes with light sabres and laser guns. It’s also got some funnies.
2D is less intense than 3D
The movie is, as you’d expect, full of mouth-dropping action sequences, impressive sound and visuals and great CGI effects. The John Williams soundtrack builds up the tension and suspense, which adds to the drama but can scare your child before anything has even happened.
If you’re concerned, then it’s best to avoid seeing it in 3D for now. One 7-year-old reviewer said he’d wished he’d seen it in regular cinema first so he would know what was going to happen because “in 3D, everything comes right at you”.
It helps if your kids have seen other Star Wars movies
You don’t have to have watched the other Star Wars films to follow the story in The Force Awakens, but it helps. While older kids may be able to follow the plot, younger kids may struggle a bit.
This won’t ruin the film as the story is simple enough for them to get the gist of things even if they miss the deeper meaning.
In terms of the scary bits, kids who have faced Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine before in earlier films will know what to expect from the Dark Side and will be better prepared for the evil baddies in The Force Awakens.
Be prepared for some hiding behind hands or in your armpit
There are several scenes that will make younger children (and the odd adult) jump with fright, but there’s nothing too scary, graphic or violent. In fact, it’s probably less dark than the other Star Wars films.
One reviewer said that he found Paddington scarier because he already knew what the Dark Side and Sith Lords were like but didn’t know what to expect in Paddington (well, Nicole Kidman’s psycho scientist was pretty frightening!)
It’s a long film at 135 minutes
There’s certainly enough action and drama to keep your kids occupied for 2+ hours, but for younger kids with short attention spans, getting them to sit still and stay interested for that long may be too much of an ask. Could your child manage two hours and 15 minutes?