This is truly a family film, in my opinion. It doesn't talk down to children. It doesn't hide from reality. It has something for everyone. Youngsters will find the characters fun and exciting, they will be fascinated by the surrealism, and they will enjoyed being scared by the actually threatening characters.
They may not get some of the deeper themes or humor, but that's where older individuals can join in on the experience instead of sitting back being bored by the same old processed entertainment. I admired the incredible animation and the detail that went into giving the film a live action feel. The craftsmanship is amazing. And without spoiling anything, I appreciated the themes on an intellectual level.
If I had to complain, it's that the film's story is a bit shallow. It's certainly still a cut above the rest though and tries hard to break the mold of conventions. If nothing else, you can enjoy the film on a purely visual level. This is ILM's first full animated feature, so they have a while to go before they reach Pixar levels of story telling.
This movie is rated PG, which stands for Parental Guidance. If you do not look at or understand the MPAA ratings, which now have clear descriptors of content included, you fail as a parental unit. It clearly states it contains rude humor, language, action and smoking. "Common sense" doesn't seem very common around here.
PG does not mean a movie is free of the things you find unacceptable. The MPAA is for guidance, and can not possibly fit into your opinion of what is acceptable to you. It only measures the estimated amount of offensiveness and appropriateness level. They did their job to let you know there was some offensive content in this film.
If you think everything in this world should be sugar coated so you can turn your brain off and walk into a movie so it can babysit, you fail as a human being. If you think because something is animated, it is aimed at kids or only for kids, you fail at rational thinking and common sense.
Kids aren't dumb. Give them more credit. You spew your dogma and over-protection at them and you don't let them experience life, make up their own minds, or even have fun. I talk to my kids and have an active role in their life. I can take them to a film with bad language and violence. I'm not worried about them imitating it. They are smart enough to know fantasy from reality. I instilled that in them at a young age. Am I bad parent for not over protecting them? Am I bad parent for showing them obscene content? Or are you a good parent for over protecting them; for sheltering them from the world? That's a matter of opinion.