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What Age Should Your Kids Be to See the PG-13 'TMNT'?

“Ninjun Tuttle Movie! Ninjun Tuttle Movie!” That’s the sobbing I hear from the backseat when driving around Los Angeles. My son, who will be four this month, desperately wants to see the film connected to the intriguing billboards with extreme close-ups of masked turtles. He cries because he won’t be seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for at least five years.

Despite “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” being popular among very young children due to the Nickelodeon TV show, the movie is PG-13. In this case, PG-13 means: don’t bring your five-year-old, but nine-year-olds are probably just fine.

My teen daughter and I went to an advance screening and realized the movie is somewhat of a conundrum. First, it’s got a substantial amount of intense violence, particularly when the Turtles and their rat dad Splinter are in peril. The bad guys’s weaponry is on full display and includes a deadly gas and a villainous samurai who is a cross between Iron Man and Wolverine.  That all said, we had so much fun watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  It features a good amount of laughs, fantastic use of 3D, and an epic car chase/crash scene down a snowy mountain that by itself is worth the price of admission. The best way to describe the cinematography is, well, really cool – the whole package is something children will love. Therefore, it’s a shame that more kids won’t be able to see the film in the theater.

TMNT appeals to 20- and 30-somethings who grew up with the series so filmmakers don’t want to turn them off with a PG rating. For them, PG = “for babies,” but those “babies” are the ones who suffer when toys and TV shows are marketed to them, but the film is PG-13. Thus, responsible parents become the bad guy by denying our young ones to see movies like TMNT, Transformers and any number of recent superhero movies. Parents as the bad guy? That seems like a scheme Shredder would approve of.

For less sensitive kids, I believe TMNT is okay for kids eight and older. Here are three other movies to see with your family this weekend:

The Hundred-Foot Journey (PG): This Oprah and Steven Spielberg production is about more than a culture clash, mouthwatering food, and incredible scenery: it’s about family. This is the rare multigenerational film that will entertain tweens to grandparents.

Into the Storm (PG-13): Teens who grew up with “iCarly” may want to go storm chasing with star Nathan Kress in this found-footage version of Twister.

Guardians of the Galaxy (PG-13): It may very well be this generation’s Star Wars, but these good guys start out on the wrong side of the law, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by their salty language.

Planes: Fire & Rescue (PG). Dusty Crophopper puts his racing skills to good use training as a firefighter in this adrenaline-filled adventure for children.

Read Tara’s parent reviews at ThatWasSomething.com. Find out what kids think about these movies at KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics!

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