Hero Mode parents guide

Hero Mode Parent Guide

This movie isn't exactly unsuitable for kids, it's just unbearable.

Overall C

Digital on Demand: Troy Mayfield loves making video games - but now he's in charge of fixing a professional video game, and he's on a tight schedule. Failure will will cost his family their business, and Troy is going to have to ask for help.

Release date June 11, 2021

Violence B-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Hero Mode rated PG? The MPAA rated Hero Mode PG for suggestive references, language throughout and brief violence.

Run Time: 88 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Playfield Games used to be a giant in the industry with some of the most successful video games on the market. But times have changed. CEO Kate Mayfield (Mira Sorvino)is going to need to think outside the box to have a showstopping product ready for Pixelcon. The big trade show is only a month away and a successful debut there can drum up enough publicity to get the company back on track. But to have a successful game, Kate’s going to need to pick up some new talent. Her solution? Her son, Troy (Chris Carpenter). The catch? He’s still in his teens.

Lets strip this plot down for a minute. An incompetent CEO trying to maintain a software development company gets hugely overdrawn and can’t cover expenses, so she relies on child labor to fix the problem. Isn’t that an inspiring tale of raw incompetence and familial exploitation? It’s totally cool that you’re putting the pressure of supporting an entire business on the shoulders of your teenager for no reason other than you’re incapable of running a business. Not to mention completely undercutting the existing team of designers and programmers…

The premise is far from the only bug here. While the video game and coding aspects aren’t the worst I’ve seen, they’re still taking more than a few liberties, especially with the kind of time it takes to actually build a video game. The bigger problem is the characters, who only have a little more dimension than printer paper and speak either in tired cliches or sloppy boomers-writing-zillenials “jokes”.

On the plus side, there’s hardly anything for parents to be concerned about, apart from cartoonishly misrepresenting an industry. You get a few scenes of video game violence, some brief, mild innuendo, and a handful of minor curses. But if you can stop yourself from throwing your TV out the window, you can go this entire movie without encountering anything you wouldn’t want your kids to see.

So you could show this to children, but you absolutely shouldn’t. If your kid loves video games and has an interest in making them, this is a hugely unrealistic portrayal of the process. If your youngster isn’t interested, then Hero Mode qualifies as a cinematic death march through lazy writing, unfunny jokes, and really, really, really annoying characters. Save yourself some time and just play some video games with your family. Make some memories.

Directed by A.J. Tesler. Starring Mira Sorvino, Chris Carpenter, and Sean Astin. Running time: 88 minutes. Theatrical release June 11, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Hero Mode

Hero Mode
Rating & Content Info

Why is Hero Mode rated PG? Hero Mode is rated PG by the MPAA for suggestive references, language throughout and brief violence.

Violence: There are a few brief scenes of violence in video games. A man is struck in the face and spits out some teeth.
Sexual Content: There are a few mild innuendos.
Profanity: There is infrequent use of terms of deity and mild profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.

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Hero Mode Parents' Guide

Basic digital literacy is increasingly important in our digital world. What are microtransactions? Why are they a problem? How can opening unsecured email attachments cause problems? What are some uses for the technology shown in the movie?

Troy struggles to ask for help or listen to advice. How does he learn to do better? What changes his mind? How does Jimmy’s character change?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

There are a lot of movies based on video games. Sonic the Hedgehog, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, and Monster Hunter are all recent examples with varying levels of success. Other options include Ready Player One and Pixels, both of which I personally despise and do not recommend, although to be fair, they are quite popular with young viewers.