Parents' Guide to

Empire of the Sun

By Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Beautiful but grim WWII saga through a boy's eyes.

Movie PG 1987 153 minutes
Empire of the Sun Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 10+

Once a time

what i think? you should watch it i just can't believe that there are some people who have never seen it. the story, the music, the charachters...etc. it made me feel stuff i've never felt before. hope mankind can make more art like this one, we got tired of wack movies .
age 10+

Very amazing

PG: some war images and violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (15 ):

EMPIRE OF THE SUN is a war story that wants desperately to have a heart. Unfortunately, the humanity is lost among too-slick Hollywood theatrics, melodrama, and an overblown score that implores us to feel what the movie ultimately fails to deliver. About a quarter of the way through watching Steven Spielberg's first serious war drama, one starts to feel that something's missing. It's like trying to make sense of a four-hour movie that's been randomly edited down to two-and-a-half. The cinematography is beautiful, the storytelling is compelling, but nothing really clicks.

Like the young hero in John Boorman's much better Hope and Glory, Jim finds a certain exhilaration in war, and even has moments of fun with it. These moments far outweigh the gravity of his situation, though, and rob the movie of vitality. Spielberg hit the bull's-eye a few years later with the horrifyingly realistic Schindler's List, and again with Saving Private Ryan. But in 1987 he either wasn't a mature enough director to unveil the true horrors of war, or he was simply too protective of his feel-good audience.

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