Family Film Guide: 'Maleficent'

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Rated: PG.

Suitable for: Children in kindergarten or first grade and older, if they are not easily frightened or prone to nightmares about what they see on the big screen.

What you should know: This is a live-action, rather than animated, Disney movie that throws the focus onto Maleficent instead of the princess known as Sleeping Beauty. It provides a backstory for what turned the title character into the sort of blackhearted fairy who would curse an infant. However, it will make audience alliances shift and has more of a modern spin than the 1959 cartoon. It stars Angelina Jolie in the title role and Elle Fanning as the teenage Princess Aurora. It is being shown in 2-D and pricier 3-D and 3-D IMAX.

Language: None.

Sexual situations and nudity: A couple of quick kisses and a man shown with a bare chest.

Violence/scary situations: Children mention their parents are dead. Maleficent, even as a girl, has horns and pointy ears and (spoiler alert) wings until someone shears them off while she sleeps. She wails and wobbles with pain, physical and otherwise, after the atrocious act.

An army on horseback advances on Maleficent’s home and a king tells his men, “Bring me her head!” Maleficent’s eyes glow, electricity shoots from a makeshift walking stick and stones rise from a wall. A baby is cursed and separated from her parents for safekeeping. A child nearly walks off a cliff but is saved by magic.

Fire is launched as part of an attack. A raven can be changed into a man or different animals, including a wolf. A reference is made to a character who is not well and another is obviously not of sound mind.

A character is locked up, falls victim to a curse and goes into a deep sleep that may last for years or forever. Characters are slapped, shoved, trapped and engage in a battle with a fire-breathing dragon (whose form fills the screen) and each other, with one person plummeting to death.

Drug or alcohol use: A potion is used to drug someone.

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