Parents? Guide to summer movies -- How upcoming blockbusters like ''Apollo 13'' and ''Batman Forever'' rate for youth

By Lois Alter Mark
Updated July 14, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

The summer movie season is heating up, with lots of action on screen and off. Expect long lines for the record-breaking Batman Forever and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ much-anticipated film debut. Once inside the multiplex, young children can take a trip to fantasyland with The Indian in the Cupboard, while older kids can travel to the moon (Apollo 13) or into the future (Judge Dredd).


Apollo 13
What it’s about: Astronauts Lovell (Tom Hanks), Swigert (Kevin Bacon), and Haise (Bill Paxton) head for the moon on NASA’s 1970 space mission.
Will kids want to watch it? Older children will be fascinated.
Sex/Nudity: No.
Drugs/Alcohol: Cocktails at a party; an astronaut (Gary Sinise) drinks beer.
Violence/Scariness: None, but young kids may be frightened when they realize the crew is in danger.
Objectionable words/Phrases: About 50.
Lessons to extract: Teamwork is critical; going home is the best part of a trip.
Appropriate ages: 10 and up.

Batman Forever
What it’s about: With the help of sidekick Robin (Chris O’Donnell) and psychiatrist Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), the Caped Crusader (Val Kilmer) defends Gotham City (and himself) against the Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones).
Will kids want to watch it? Holy box office, yes!
MPAA: PG-13.
Sex/Nudity: Just innuendo.
Drugs/Alcohol: Two-Face drinks at a party.
Violence/Scariness: Mostly POW! BAM! SMACK! cartoonish action. The only scenes that may truly scare youngsters are the death of Robin’s family and flashbacks to the murders of Bruce Wayne’s parents.
Objectionable words/Phrases: About 10.
Lessons to extract: Revenge may satisfy temporarily, but it can’t erase the pain of loss; good ultimately triumphs, at least in the movies.
Appropriate ages: 8 and up.

First Knight
What it’s about: Chaos in Camelot as King Arthur (Sean Connery) is betrayed by the two people who mean the most to him — Lady Guinevere (Julia Ormond) and Lancelot (Richard Gere).
Will kids want to watch it? No. This sweeping romance about round tables and love triangles will bore most children.
MPAA: PG-13.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Drugs/Alcohol: None.
Violence/Scariness: Much bloodshed during battles against the traitorous Malagant (Ben Cross) and his followers.
Objectionable words/Phrases: None.
Lesson to extract: Nothing is perfect, even in Camelot.
Appropriate ages: 12 and up.

The Indian in the Cupboard
What it’s about: Nine-year-old Omri (Hal Scardino) discovers he can magically bring his toys to life.
Will kids want to watch it? Yes, this charming tale will spark their imagination and give them lots to fantasize about.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Drugs/Alcohol: Omri’s parents (Lindsay Crouse and Richard Jenkins) drink wine.
Violence/Scariness: An Indian dies; a cowboy is shot with a bow and arrow; a bully steals Omri’s money.
Objectionable words/Phrases: About 10.
Lessons to extract: You must be responsible for your creations; people shouldn’t be treated like inanimate objects.
Appropriate ages: 6 and up.