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Parents' Guide to

Summer Wars

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Excellent, gorgeous anime has some violence, profanity.

Movie PG 2011 120 minutes
Summer Wars Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 9+
age 12+

Great! What do you expect? It's anime!

There are two parallel plots in this great movie - one is a family gathering and a budding romance; the other is a takeover of virtual reality by an A.I. program that is leading to nuclear disaster. I especially loved the extended family story, with "granny" as a leading character. Warning - there are a couple of moments when there is some inappropriate humor. In the virtual reality battles, there is some violence that may be too much for little kids.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

This is an engaging and beautifully rendered anime that is as much about love and family as it is about the ever-tightening grip technology has on daily lives. The surrealism of the cyberspace battle scenes among the different avatars alone makes Summer Wars a stylish and innovative movie, but for all its present-day sci-fi-esque reality conveyed through computers and smartphones, the importance of roots and tradition are held to just as high of a standard. This comes through most clearly in the matriarch of the movie, a 90-year-old grandmother who is firmly rooted in tradition without seeming like a relic and who is just as take-charge as anyone younger in the movie without seeming like she's trying to act younger than she actually is.

There are a few story holes, but they aren't glaring enough to distract, and this is more than offset by the beautiful detail of the animation -- animation that just as exquisitely conveys a traditional family dinner as it does a cyberspace battle royale. The story also manages to stay focused and simple, even to the point that even those who aren't especially interested in gaming, hacking, and any facet of the culture surrounding the Internet will still find this enjoyable and easy to understand.

Movie Details

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