turtle power

What To Know Before Taking Your Kids To See The New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie

The new movie is funny, but probably too scary for your preschooler.

The ‘90s are back, and so are the Ninja Turtles. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem opened Aug. 2, and if you’re a turtle-loving child of the ‘90s like me, once you’ve recovered from your Barbie-mania, you might ride that theater-going wave right back into TMNT. With gorgeous animation, a star-studded cast (Ice Cube and Paul Rudd and Maya Rudolf?!) and a fantastic soundtrack, it’s a can’t-miss summer movie. But can you bring the kids? You’re eager to share your love for Donatello, Raphael, Michaelangelo, and Leonardo, but we all know what a buzzkill it is when family movie night turns into an accidental nightmare factory. Here’s what parents need to know before buying tickets to the new Ninja Turtles movie.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is rated PG.

And it earns that rating. There is really no language to speak of — I think the ‘worst’ phrase is maybe “shut up” — but there is a lot of fighting (they are Ninja Turtles, after all) and a few fairly scary villains. Our kids are 5 and 2, so my husband and I snuck away to catch this movie ourselves mid-day. There were some small kids in the theater, and I heard a lot of whispered questions and a few whimpers during some more intense scenes. It felt like confirmation that this movie probably isn’t going to be enjoyed by kids younger than 7 or 8, and we were glad our 5-year-old was at home. Jokes will go over little kids’ heads — but you’ll be laughing pretty hard (thanks Seth!) — and some of the more violent moments might raise questions that you don’t really feel like answering (like is that guy really dead?) during what’s supposed to be a fun time at the movies. Common Sense Media also agrees that this movie is best suited for kids 8 and up.

The Ninja Turtles brainstorm with new friends. Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon

If your kids are under 7 or 8, maybe get a sitter and make it a date night.

Between a scene where the turtles are “milked” by a villain — it’s laced with humor, but a little kid might be freaked out and their parents would hear about it at bedtime — and more than one epic fight that involve seeing the Ninja Turtles kill their antagonists, this movie really isn’t for the littlest kids.

Raphael gets ready to rumble, in a scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem that might be scary for little kids. Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon

However, the jokes are rock solid enough to be date-night worthy if you have little kids and can get a sitter. Or, if your kids are older — at least 7+ — the movie would be so much fun for a parent to see with their big kid, tween or early teen either in theaters now, or when it becomes available to stream on Paramount+.

Writers Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg really lean into the “teenage” element of the Ninja Turtles’ story in this film in a way that feels really fresh and sweet. With warmth, plenty of humor, and a killer Trent Reznor-meets-‘90s-hop-hop soundtrack, they explore themes that will resonate with kids and families who are working through the growing pains that can come with the tween and teen years.