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Underwold: Blood Wars, Monster Trucks, Born in China and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

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By Chris Kavan - 12/07/16 at 09:52 AM CT

After the tiniest update last week, it looks like things are back on schedule. We have a decent update this week with a decent amount of films to talk about. We have another entry in the Underworld series (the first since 2012), an, erm, interesting-looking film about alien trucks and the latest entry in the Disneynature brand. Not necessarily anything I'm personally looking forward to, but a wide release is a wide release I guess.

MPAA Official Logo

I would be remiss if I didn't start today with a film that looks both insane and, at the same time, completely dumb. Like a combination of E.T. and Cars (but with more tentacles), Monster Trucks takes a small-town every-teen looking for a way out (Lucas Till) who just happens to stumble on an alien lifeform who has a need - a need for speed. So he does what anyone would do - installs it in a truck and literally makes a "monster" truck (or alien truck, really - but semantics, eh?). In any case, somehow this cost $125 million. I'm not saying the kids won't enjoy this, but man, for me it looks pretty bad. But it has a great supporting cast including Barry Pepper (always great as the angry military guy), Rob Lowe, Amy Ryan, Danny Glover, Frank Whaley and, of course, the love interest (Jane Levy). It's coming out early January, which is not a great time for a film targeting what I'm guessing is going to be families. I mean, really, I don't care if it's from the same minds behind Ice Age and Robots - I just don't see this catching on. I might be wrong, but I would be more surprised if it did great rather than fell flat. Rated PG for action, peril, brief scary images, and some rude humor.

I have always enjoyed the Underworld series - mainly because Kate Beckinsale is simply great playing a kick-ass lead. I can't really say the series is awesome - but it is always fun. Essentially the whole thing concerns an age-old war between Vampires and Lycans (werewolves for the mundane). In the upcoming Underworld: Blood Wars, Beckinsale's Selene looks to finally end the feud - if she can survive both the Lycans that want her dead along with the vampire faction that betrayed her. To me it sounds like an uphill battle. Still, good thing she can count on David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance). It has been awhile since we last visited this series - almost five years in fact (the movie doesn't come out until 2017). Knowledge tells me the law of diminishing returns on sequels, as well as the length of time between them, means Blood Wars will probably not come out as well as the previous films. I could be wrong again, but I'm basing this on established patters. Rated R for strong bloody
violence, and some sexuality.

Finally, we have the determined but often low-grossing Disneynature films. The series has brought us Earth, Oceans, African Cats, Chimpanzee and Bears. The films are interesting - probably some of the best nature documentaries around - but they aren't barn-burners. Only Earth (2009) and Chimpanzee (2012) have been able to crack $25 million although even the lowest-grossing earned over $15 million. The next entry will be Born in China. Narrated by "The Office" star John Krasinski, the film follows three animals - a panda, golden monkey and, one of the rarest of the rare, a snow leopard - in separate stories that all intertwine in that all are endangered species. I have to say, based on previous entries, this one looks more interesting than the last few. Whether that means it will attract more of a crowd remains to be seen. But seeing as China is one of the biggest foreign film markets outside the U.S., I think Disney has made a smart move. Rated G.

That's the big three this week, but be sure to check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:


Rated R for violence and disturbing images.


Rated PG-13 for thematic content, language and drug material.


Rated G.


Rated G.


Rated PG for language and thematic elements.


Rated R for language.


Rated PG for action, peril, brief scary images, and some rude humor.


Rated R for violence, realistically graphic injury images, language throughout and some drug use.


Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images and brief suggestive material.


Rated R for strong bloody violence, and some sexuality.


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Wrote on 12/08/16 at 06:10 AM CT

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