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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although they neglect their schoolwork (which causes their grades to suffer), the movie's young characters are depicted as smart, curious kids who team up to build and pilot their own spaceship.
Violence & Scariness
A bully punches a boy in the face; the two briefly fight in the schoolyard. Some use of dangerous tools (welding torch, electric saw) as the ship is constructed. In one scene, a giant mechanical "spider" frisks the boys. A parent's death is mentioned.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A boy kisses a girl. A boy fantasizes about an alien species of "Amazon women" who want to breed a new race; his friend calls him a "pervert." A boy has a crush on a girl in his junior high class. Discussion about removing a woman's clothes.
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Kids use several curse words, including "ass," "pissed," and "go to hell."
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Products & Purchases
The boys affix a NASA sticker to their homemade spaceship.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Three young boys share some swigs from a bottle of beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, overall, Explorers depicts smart, curious junior high kids who stumble upon a way to make their dreams of space flight a reality. But there's a scene in which they drink beer, and they work unsupervised with a welding torch and an electric saw as they construct their spaceship. One boy mentions his dead mother; another, preparing for a trip to outer space, writes his will as a precautionary measure. There's also some lower level cursing by kids ("ass," "hell," "pissed") and some sexuality. Younger kids may be scared by a suspenseful scene in which a giant mechanical "spider" frisks the boys after they arrive on the alien spaceship. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The young stars in this movie give earnest, enthusiastic, and believable performances. EXPLORERS is most notable as the film debut of Ethan Hawke and the late River Phoenix, who were just kids when they starred in this movie. The film certainly has its moments -- like when the young adventurers achieve liftoff in their homemade spaceship, or when a clever twist is revealed after they encounter a couple of extraterrestrials. But too often the movie feels sluggish and somewhat superficial
The premise leads to a few amusing exchanges between the aliens and the wide-eyed boys. But these scenes feel too long and rather unstructured -- which is a shame, since they should be the highlight of the film. The movie also never quite resolves a subplot involving a sheriff's department helicopter pilot who's investigating the kids and their ship. Still, the young actors turn in fine performances.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate