Warning: light spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ahead.
After a two-year wait since the last official Star Wars episode, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has finally arrived, and picks up right where it left off in Ahch-To, where Luke Skywalker has been hiding out. And since we got an early look at the film, we're here for all of your parent-friendly review needs.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that even though it's rated PG-13, there were arguably more scenes, characters, and one-liners that are meant to entertain younger kids in Episode VIII than ever before, including Porgs (aka the cutest addition to the franchise since Ewoks), a few hilarious scenes between Rey and the Ahch-To natives, and basically everything that comes out of General Hux's mouth (though he's definitely not trying to come off as funny). However, at its core, it's still a Star Wars movie full of epic sci-fi elements, huge battles, and a generous (read: ridiculous) amount of explosions.
Ahead, find everything you need to know before taking your crew to see Episode VIII in theaters beginning Dec. 15 — and may the Force be with you.
- First and foremost, it's LONG. Clocking in at two hours and 30 minutes, The Last Jedi officially sets the franchise record for longest run time. Families with younger kids or ones with particularly small bladders may have to take a bathroom break or two in the middle of this one (I suggest going about 10 minutes after Finn and Rose set off on their solo adventure — you won't miss anything too important at this point). If you think your child might get a little fussy sitting still for this long, be sure to bring extra snacks to keep them busy, or be ready to pace the theater halls until they get their wiggles out.
- As with all Star Wars movies, there are tons of weapons, lots of violent battles, and a sh*t ton of explosions. If you've seen a Star Wars movie before, you know what I'm talking about — and if your child has seen any of the other episodes, you should be able to gauge from that if they can handle this one — but if you haven't, know that most characters carry weapons such as guns and lightsabers, all of the ships shoot guns, blasters, and cannons, and all of these weapons go off basically simultaneously during epic battle scenes. And seriously, I can't emphasize the explosion thing enough — record amounts of explosions, I tell you.
- The characters are constantly in peril. If you have nervous or empathetic little ones, they might get frightened or concerned over how often their favorite characters are in sticky situations (especially during one particularly dark scene involving Kylo Ren and Luke). Pretty much every major and minor character has some type of life-or-death moment, and not all of them make it out of their fight/battle/explosion scene alive. One scene toward the end featuring a Rebel character in a janky ship in the middle of a face-off with a giant First Order ship was particularly nerve-wracking.
- As mentioned, not everyone makes it to the end credits. Although most of our favorite and beloved characters will make appearances in the next episode, know that just like in The Force Awakens there are several deaths, and one particularly big one that'll really hit home for viewers — however, it's actually pretty subtle and shouldn't frighten your younger kids, but they might be confused and have questions about it (so prepare to answer them through your inevitable tears).
- There are a few jumpy scenes that might catch kids off guard. As adults and seasoned movie-watchers, you should be able to catch when the music is alluding to something jumpy or suprising. The most notable jump-scene occurs on Ahch-To after Rey falls through a hole and into a water-filled cave, where she's faced with hundreds of her own reflection. You'll know it when you see it, and it's definitely not thriller-level jumpy, but kids about seven and under might get a little nervous (I'm 27 and nearly closed my eyes).
- Supreme Leader Snoke is the Voldemort of Star Wars — but worse — looks-wise. In Episode VIII we get more than just a holographic look at Supreme Leader Snoke, and honestly, he's so gross and creepy to look at. Young kids may be frightened by him (at least at first), so know that he actually gets a decent amount of screen time. In addition to his creepiness, there's a long scene between him, Rey, and Kylo Ren that has a few parts that may scare kids under six or seven.
- There isn't much cursing, but the few words that do slip come from Poe Dameron. Although his expletives are mostly innocent "shut up"s and "damnit"s, he does slip in the word "ass" once. Depending on how censored you keep things with your kids, know that any time Poe is speaking there could be a G-rated swear.
- There's a scene — though humorous for the most part — between Chewbacca and the Porgs that might upset little kids. Although the Porgs and Chewie develop a pretty hilarious relationship, they get a rough start on Ahch-To that involves a hungry Chewie, an open flame, and an innocent Porg — we'll say no more.