My Father’s Dragon (PG)
Runaway finds courage in colorful cartoon fantasy adventure.
“My Father’s Dragon” is an animated feature from the filmmakers behind “Wolfwalkers” and “The Secret of Kells.” Adapted from a children’s book written in 1948, it follows Elmer (voice of Jacob Tremblay), who — hoping to find a way to help his widowed mother financially — goes on a fantasy odyssey. He’s lured by a talking cat and then taken to an island where he’ll be made to work. The entire journey is presented as a fun adventure, but there’s never a warning or takeaway about the dangers of running away from home or talking to strangers. Messages touch on the value of friendship, self-discovery, resourcefulness and believing in yourself — although, in this case, that results in both Elmer and Boris the dragon (Gaten Matarazzo) diving into serious danger that just happens to work out okay. There are several scenes where Elmer is in peril, including being threatened by wild animals, near drowning and high falls. Language is limited to “shut up,” and there’s no substance use or racy content. (103 minutes)
Fun shorts revisit animal friends; some scares, adult jokes.
“Zootopia Plus” is a fun, action-packed Disney Plus original series. It’s a collection of shorts that expands the story of several characters featured in the Oscar-winning film “Zootopia.” Expect a couple of mild scares, including an animal “going savage” and attacking other creatures. There’s also a bit of insult language (“dumb”) and jokes tailored for adults. Characters kiss, and there’s a reference to seeing an animal nude. Music from the movie’s original soundtrack is embedded in the show. Themes include adventure, teamwork and creativity. (Six roughly 11-minute episodes)
Available on Disney Plus.
Falling for Christmas (TV-PG)
Lohan’s frothy holiday romance has some mild danger.
“Falling for Christmas” is a predictable but tween-friendly holiday romantic comedy starring Lindsay Lohan and Chord Overstreet of “Glee.” Extremely wealthy characters learn about life’s simpler pleasures following an accident, which involves falling down a mountain. One rams into a tree headfirst and loses her memory. Some characters, including a child, are also grieving loved ones who died. The same child makes a Christmas wish for her father to find new love, and there’s a mysterious Santa-like character. The film underscores the idea that doing good for others has its own rewards and that wealth doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. Expect a bit of drinking, mild flirtation and kissing, as well as one character who goes from a relationship with one person to the appearance of one with another. (95 minutes)
Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsense.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.