Eighties kids, this is for us! 8-Bit Christmas is now streaming on HBO Max. Full of nostalgia is this blast from the past movie kid-friendly? I’m breaking down all of the thematic elements, including its PG rating, in my 8-Bit Christmas Parents Guide and Movie Review. Here’s what parents need to know to help YOU decide if it’s appropriate for kids. As always, no spoilers!
8-Bit Christmas Parents Guide + Movie Review
If you’re a child of the 80’s, then there is no doubt that you remember the phenomenon of the original Nintendo. I remember my first time playing one and I was instantly hooked. It was a fact…our house NEEDED a Nintendo! Eventually, my parents caved to my brother and me. I credit that mostly to my dad…as he was absolutely as hooked as we were — perhaps even more! I remember him waking me up in the middle of the night because he said he was about to save Princess Peach and he wanted me to see! Turns out he was only in Leven 1-2 in Mario Bros. and just earned himself an extra life. We still laugh about that to this day.
8-Bit Christmas is centered around the story of 10 year old, Jake Doyle (Winslow Fegley), and his quest to get the coveted Nintendo for Christmas. If you grew up during this nostalgic era, you’ll be able to relate to Jake’s character. He even has a little sister, Lizzy (Bellaluna Resnick), who dreams of her very own Cabbage Patch doll.
The film is narrated by Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Jake Doyle as an adult. He is telling his story to his daughter, Annie (Sophia Reid-Gantzert).
8-Bit Christmas takes a bit to set up, but once it finds its pace, it’s a big old dose of nostalgia. I found myself laughing at all the nods to my childhood. Right away Neil Patrick Harris blows into a Nintendo cartridge and explains to his daughter, “that’s how you make it work!” There are jokes about how kids will need to know the Dewey Decimal System later in life, and Jake’s parents even drove the same minivan my parents had! It was really a trip down memory lane.
Although Neil Patrick Harris is the big name in this movie, Winslow Fegley as Young Jake is the stand out. You might remember Fegley from the recent movie, Nightbooks. Bellaluna Resnick who plays his sister, Lizzy, is also great. I love watching young talent really shine. Expect to see more of them both.
IS 8-BIT CHRISTMAS KID-FRIENDLY? HERE’S YOUR PARENTS GUIDE:
8-Bit Christmas has an MPAA rating of PG for rude humor and some mild violence, language and suggestive references. It has a runtime of 1 hour 37 minutes. Here’s what parents need to know before allowing their kids to watch 8-Bit Christmas.
Honestly, for a PG movie, 8-Bit Christmas had more language than I would have liked. There are uses of He** and D@mn. More mild, yet still unnecessary words include: stupid, idiot, shut-up, sucks, jerk, dumb, and butt face. There is mention of having a learning disability in a negative way. There is also a lot of potty humor, including a song about diarrhea. One of the characters says “video games make you fat.”
8-Bit Christmas has its share of bullying between kids. You will also see punches thrown, some road rage, and a chase scene. An animal also gets injured, and there is destruction of property.
Some drinking is involved and there’s mention of adult beverages, as well as drug addicts. A teacher says she should have kept “dancing in Vegas.”
While 8-Bit Christmas might not have been made for today’s kids, they will still enjoy it. I would recommend it for ages 8 and up, just keep in mind the notes above.
8-Bit Christmas is a FUN blast from the past. It’s a great movie where parents can share their own stories about the 80’s with their children. While the movie has its fair share of hijinks, there are some great messages. Above all, 8-Bit Christmas, reminds us to appreciate what we already have and to enjoy each moment. Those are the messages I want my kids to hear. Add 8-Bit Christmas to your holiday movie watch list and stream it on HBO Max today!
8-Bit Christmas Synopsis