Battle of the Year parents guide

Battle of the Year Parent Guide

If you're looking for stellar family entertainment, "Battle of the Year" might come up short. But the film offers some positive messages that make it worth a second look for teens.

Overall B-

Battle of the Year is a world class dancing competition. With hopes of getting their country back in the winner's circle for the first time in 15 years, the US puts together a crew. But it is a strange move when a former basketball coach (Josh Holloway) is asked to train the talent.

Release date September 20, 2013

Violence B
Sexual Content B+
Profanity C-
Substance Use C+

Why is Battle of the Year rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Battle of the Year PG-13 for language and some rude behavior

Run Time: 109 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Whether you consider b-boying to be an athletic achievement or an artistic endeavor, Battle of the Year follows the sports movie genre to a T. Sadly for the American team, they haven’t won the annual international competition for several years and as a result the U.S. company that sponsors the crew is experiencing a downturn in sales. It seems people are losing interest and failing to buy all the b-boy paraphernalia the company sells—whatever that is.

During a tirade in the boardroom, Dante Graham (Laz Alonso), the company president, vows to bring this year’s trophy home—though it is likely less for national pride than his own commercial interests. Of course the only man capable of the feat is Dante’s old break dancing crewmember Jason Blake (Josh Holloway). He happens to be presently holed up in a dark basement nursing a bottle of booze. It’s hard to know who is taking the biggest gamble—Dante for offering the job or Jason for questioning whether he should take it.

One of Jason’s demands is that he assembles a team from the country’s top breakers. Once the finalists are chosen, he takes them to an old juvenile detention center and lays down the rules in preparation for their first competition.

As any sports movie fan knows there has to be at least one big blowup before the team learns to work together. And thanks to the ego-laden dancers (Chris Brown among them) pent up together in the decaying facility, there are lots of confrontations and a steady stream of profanities along with several crude hand gestures. In fact there are enough clashes that it’s hard to believe these b-boys can really put aside their out-of-control attitudes long enough to learn the same routine.

The dance moves, once they happen are amazing athletic feats. Unfortunately Director Benson Lee, who also made the 2007 documentary Planet B-Boy, chooses to use high-speed shutter cinematography for the dance sequences. If the 3-D effects don’t give you a headache, the stuttering images likely will. Rather than enhancing the scenes, the camerawork becomes a distraction, making the images look almost staged instead of real.

With its sparse storyline and several musical montages, Battle of the Year almost feels more like a documentary than a feature film. The American team’s journey seems to be there just to give the director a chance to show off the performances of several international crews. But while a documentary has to stick fairly close to the truth, a fictionalized story doesn’t have the same constraints—even if it’s based on a true event. (Although it’s hard to stray too far from the facts when anyone with an Internet connection can check out the past winners of the real competition.) I don’t want to give anything away but let’s just say it might be stretching things to have a happily-ever-after ending for this fairytale.

If you’re looking for stellar family entertainment, Battle of the Year might come up short. On the other hand the film offers some positive messages that make it worth a second look for teens. Both teamwork and success come at a price for these competitors and luckily we see them actually having to put in some effort. While most of those lessons are dished out on a tray of clichés, they still have merit for kids who have a hard time seeing past themselves. The film’s frequent profanities and the coach’s alcohol issues may dissuade some families from watching this film. But if your teen is big into b-boy culture, Battle of the Year is one skirmish they might enjoy.

Note: Originally titled—Battle of the Year: The Dream Team

Directed by Benson Lee. Starring Josh Holloway, Josh Peck, Laz Alonso. Running time: 109 minutes. Theatrical release September 20, 2013. Updated

Battle of the Year
Rating & Content Info

Why is Battle of the Year rated PG-13? Battle of the Year is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for language and some rude behavior

Violence: Characters push and scuffle with one another. Two characters engage in a fistfight. A character talks about a fatal car accident. A brief bar brawl breaks out after a character is taunted.

Sexual Content: Characters yell out catcalls at a woman and make some crude sexual comments. Dancers grab at their groin. Some tensions arise around a homosexual character.

Language: The script contains frequent profanities, uses of scatological slang terms and some terms of Deity, along with at least a half dozen crude hand gestures.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A man uses alcohol to deal with the death of his family and turns to drink to deal with stress. Characters drink socially in a bar and at a restaurant.

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More parents' guide for Battle of the Year after the break...

Battle of the Year Parents' Guide

Musician Chris Brown plays a lead role in this movie. For young fans of Brown, how difficult is it to separate his real life activities from the character he plays in the movie?

One character blames everyone else when things go wrong rather than ever accepting any responsibility. Is that attitude one that teens may emulate more readily because of the actor’s popularity with young audiences?

What attitudes do these crewmembers have to overcome? How does the coach encourage a team perspective?

How can decisions about camera angles, cinematography, lighting, music etc. impact the audiences’ experience when watching a movie?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Battle of the Year movie is December 10, 2013. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: Battle of the Year

Release Date: 10 December 2013

Battle of the Year releases to home video in the following packages:

Battle of the Year (3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray):

- Extended dance sequences from three scenes in the film

- This Is Planet B Boy – The filmmakers and cast explore B-Boy history and culture.

- The Art of B-Boying: A Guide to Breaking – Join the cast and crew as they take us through the various elements that make up the B-Boy lifestyle and give us an insider’s guide to dance moves, unique b-boy names and show us how they do their unique signature moves.

- Preparing for Battle: Training & Rehearsals – From hours of training, grueling rehearsals and intricate dance sequences, see what it took to become a unified b-boy team on-screen.

Battle of the Year (DVD):

- This Is Planet B Boy – The filmmakers and cast explore the B-Boy history and culture.

- Preparing for Battle: Training & Rehearsals – From hours of training, grueling rehearsals and intricate dance sequences, see what it took to become a unified b-boy team on-screen.

Related home video titles:

Dancing takes center stage in the Step Up Franchise (Step Up, Step Up 2 The Streets, Step Up 3D and Step Up Revolution) Other unusual leaders are asked to pull together competitive teams in Sister Act 2, The School of Rock, Remember The Titans and Take the Lead.