A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Moonwalkers is set in the swinging London arts scene of 1969, and there's lots of drinking, drugs (cocaine, pot, LSD, opium, and more), and nudity (mostly in the form of topless women in the background) as a CIA agent tries to hire legendary director Stanley Kubrick to make a very special movie. There's also quite a lot of graphic violence -- including close-up shots of people getting their heads blown off (or bashed in) -- and near non-stop swearing (mostly "s--t" and "f--k"). Rupert Grint may star, but this is in no way appropriate for Harry Potter fans.
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What's the story?
Inspired by a long-running conspiracy theory, MOONWALKERS takes place just before the astronauts of Apollo 11 land on the moon -- and the United States is worried they might not make it. As a backup plan, the CIA sends Kidman (Ron Perlman), a Vietnam veteran and well-trained fighting machine, to London to hire legendary director Stanley Kubrick to secretly film a fake moon landing ... you know, just in case. But instead of Kubrick, Kidman ends up with struggling band manager Jonny (Rupert Grint) and Jonny's roommate Leon (Robert Sheehan), who looks enough like Kubrick to win them both the job. Now they just have to figure out a way to create footage of some fake astronauts, and it doesn't help that a very angry loan shark is looking for all of three of them.
Is it any good?
Moonwalkers is silly enough and just possibly true enough to be entertaining, but there are caveats. First, the good: The setting, late-'60s London, makes for a joyful romp (kudos to set design). And Grint is amusing to watch in a movie that's not entrenched in wizardry (as beloved as the Harry Potter films are).
But here's the catch: Moonwalkers isn't that much fun. Tonally, it's all over the place, mixing dangerous violent mobsters with hi-jinks. Perlman's character is a former commando, and his motivations appear rooted in an enjoyment of various forms of brutality -- such as taking a shovel to a man's head or knocking a few teeth out of some unfortunate thug. Nobody in the film is very likable, and in the end, the promising premise of the making of a moon landing hoax is lost in the shuffle.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Moonwalkers depicts 1969 London. Do you think the party scenes are exaggerated, or do you think that's what it was really like back then?
How are drinking and drug use portrayed? Are there any realistic consequences?
What role does violence play in this story? Does the comedic tone affect its impact? Why or why not?
Do you think there might be a shred of truth to this story? Why are conspiracy theories like the one behind this movie so persistent?
- In theaters: January 15, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: February 23, 2016
- Cast: Rupert Grint, Ron Perlman, Robert Sheehan
- Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
- Studio: Alchemy
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, graphic nudity, plentiful drug use and language