‘Maleficent’: Scared the 7-year-old; not as good as we hoped

We have all been looking forward to seeing “Maleficent” and made sure to see it during its opening weekend. It made about $70 million this weekend and our theater was packed despite having showings about 30 minutes apart all day long.

My 13-year-old and I were probably the most excited in our family to see it. My son was indifferent and my 7-year-old was excited but we were worried she would be scared. It is rated PG. (If you think we’ve been seeing a lot of movies, it’s because we are going during the three-hour open houses to sell our house.)

The 7-year-old had a plan though for the scary moments. She brought her blanket to cover her eyes if things got too intense. She had to duck and cover about five times during the movie and pretty much throughout the entire climactic battle scene at the end involving a dragon, Maleficent, a lot of fire and soldiers.

Angelina Jolie truly embodies the villain. The backgrounds and special effects are engrossing. The fairy world is visually interesting we just wished the rest of the story was as well. Our main problem was we didn’t feel like enough happened. I’m not sure if they were toning down the action to keep the PG rating or if they just didn’t have more to offer. We all thought “Frozen” had more action and came together better as a story than “Maleficent.”

I don’t think they could have added too much more action and kept it appropriate for little kids. There were much younger kids there than my 7-year-old and had it been much more intense like “The Hobbit” I don’t think they would have made it through.

Common Sense Media says it’s appropriate for 8-year-olds. The parents say 8-year-olds but the kids on the website said 9-year-olds.

From Common Sense Media:

“Far more so than the animated original (which itself is often too scary for younger kids in the preschool age bracket), this live-action version can get quite dark and may frighten younger kids, particularly during violent action sequences between the kingdom and the magical creatures of the moors. Characters die (or look dead) or are injured, and Maleficent is an intimidating figure. But the overall message — about redemption and love — is positive, and giving Maleficent more depth and context will help kids sympathize with her. As long as your kids can handle the battles, they’ll probably enjoy this new take on a classic Disney villain. “

I rated it a 7 on 10 –point scale. Rose gave it a 7 too. Walsh gave it Pi. The 7-year-old rated it infinity so she liked it a lot even though is was scary. (She says she loved the fairy world and loved Aurora.)

Did you see it opening weekend? What did you think? How scary did you think it as? Were your kids OK with it? How did you feel about the visual effects and the plot?

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