Avatar: The Way of Water (PG-13)

Long but dazzling return to Pandora has sci-fi violence.

Avatar: The Way of Water” is the long-awaited sequel to James Cameron’s epic 2009 megahit “Avatar.” The sequel returns to Pandora several years after Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) rallied the indigenous Na’vi clans against the corrupt “Sky People” (colonizing humans trying to mine and extract Pandora’s resources). Jake and his mate, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), now have four children and decide to save their forest clan by seeking refuge for their family among the island-dwelling Metkayina clan. Filmed mostly underwater, the three-hour-plus film is visually striking. And, like the first movie, it has sci-fi action violence, with weapons, hand-to-hand combat and the hunting of a sacred whalelike creature. The story also features adolescent flirting, hand-holding and crushes, as well as marital affection. Occasional strong language includes many uses of “s—,” “​​b—-” and “a–,” as well as one “f—.” Like the first movie, this one has a strong anti-imperialist message, plus environmental and multicultural themes that stress the importance of tolerance, acceptance and honest communication. (192 minutes)

Insightful, moving doc about rescuing dogs in the South.

Free Puppies!” is a documentary about a network of committed volunteers who help/rescue dogs from rural and underserved areas in the South. They work to place them in foster and forever homes or to get them spayed or neutered while staying in their existing homes. Expect a couple of potentially upsetting scenes between the volunteers and two men who have a possible hoarding issue with their animals. One gets teary-eyed while discussing Vietnam and ends up crying about it. He also yells “f—” at his brother. There are also some tough conversations about shelters that have to euthanize animals and how “no kill” shelters only take cute, well-behaved, “adoptable” dogs. This is a thought-provoking documentary that not only pays tribute to dog rescuers but promotes compassion, empathy and responsible animal care. (70 minutes)

Fun, frenetic animated series touts teamwork, has violence.

Sonic Prime” is an animated series based on the video game and movie franchise. Sonic (voice of Deven Mack) is once again true to his name, providing tons of high-speed energy to his frenetic battles with baddies. Expect lots of cartoonish violence, including scary robots that shoot fireballs. Sonic is often in peril, and there are intense situations. Language includes insults like “loser,” “big butt,” “jerks” and “blockhead.” A character talks about his experience being bullied as a kid. Friendship and teamwork are the big themes in this fast-paced sci-fi series. (Eight 20- to 40-minute episodes)

National Treasure: Edge of History (TV-14)

Fun, light treasure-hunting series has adventure, violence.

National Treasure: Edge of History” is a series that continues the films’ treasure-hunting adventures. The new, younger cast includes a Latina hero, master puzzle solver Jess Valenzuela (Lisette Olivera), who follows in her father’s footsteps in the search for a set of ancient artifacts. Expect some violence, including fistfights, guns, swordplay, a person set on fire and a kidnapping. Language is mostly mild, but words like “sucks” and “lame” are used. Characters are in relationships, and there are some romantic moments. Families will have lots of opportunities to talk about the plight of undocumented people in the U.S. (Jess is a Dreamer) and how perseverance and teamwork can help people reach their goals. (10 45-minute episodes)

Available on Disney Plus.

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.


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