What to watch with your kids: ‘The Little Mermaid’ and more

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Halle Bailey dazzles amid more intense live-action scenes.

The Little Mermaid” is Disney’s live-action remake of its 1989 animated classic. The story is mostly the same, following young mermaid Princess Ariel (Halle Bailey), who falls for human Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King) and makes a deal with sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) to be human for three days in exchange for her voice. Younger kids who are familiar with the cartoon may be able to handle the more intense aspects of this version, but the live-action element definitely heightens the peril of scenes like the shark chase; the storm at sea; the shipwreck; and the big, climactic fight scene between Ursula, Ariel and Eric. Ursula’s territory is dark and creepy, with merfolk bones and skulls scattered around, and Triton and Ariel’s frequent disagreements might upset sensitive viewers. Ariel and Eric flirt and dance but don’t kiss until the very end of the movie; language is limited to words like “stupid” and “idiot.” This version — which promotes courage, curiosity, communication and empathy — explores Eric’s character more than the original did, takes time to show Ariel and Eric building a genuine connection with each other, and offers more nuance in Ariel’s relationship with her father and sisters. (130 minutes)

Shooting, explosions in decent Afghanistan-set actioner.

Kandahar” is an action movie set in Afghanistan. After black ops agent Tom Harris (Gerard Butler) blows up an Iranian nuclear facility and his identity is compromised, he must escape the country alongside his interpreter, Mohammad “Mo” Doud (Navid Negahban). Violence is intense and includes guns and shooting (with fatalities), bloody wounds, dead bodies, pools of blood, explosions, vehicle chases and crashes, a woman being abducted from her hotel room, a man chained by the wrists and tortured, and more. A character also takes a selfie with four corpses and the blood trails from where they were shot. Language is strong, with several uses of “f—,” plus “s—,” “motherf—er,” “a–hole,” “b—-,” “my God,” “Jesus” and “idiot.” People drink and smoke briefly during a party, and other scenes briefly show cigar smoking and vaping. The movie starts off pretty rough, with lots of exposition and little character development, but as it narrows its focus, it becomes gripping and even moving. (120 minutes)

The Swan Princess: A Fairytale Is Born (PG)

Sweet animated prequel has positive messages, peril.

The Swan Princess: A Fairytale Is Born” is an animated musical that’s part of the decades-spanning Swan Princess franchise. It tells the prequel story leading up to when main characters Prince Derek (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) and Princess Odette (Nina Herzog) were born, then jumps forward to their coronation. As with many of its predecessors, this fairy tale is filled with animated action and music. The on-screen action is mostly limited to silly dog chases and royal disagreements, as well as cannon fire from pirate ships. Viewers also hear how Derek’s father and Princess Odette’s mother die, but their deaths aren’t shown. Most of the movie focuses on filling in the blanks of the family’s backstory versus dealing with any kind of big villain or lurking danger. Expect kisses between engaged and married couples. There are positive messages about friendship, kindness and loyalty, as well as empathy and compassion. (83 minutes)

Available on Apple TV Plus, Vudu and DirecTV; also available on DVD.

Teen spinoff series set in Seoul has romance, drinking.

XO, Kitty” is a coming-of-age series centered on Kitty (Anna Cathcart), the younger sister of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’s” Lara Jean. It follows Kitty as she studies abroad in South Korea during her junior year of high school, trying to learn more about her deceased mother (who was Korean American) by following in her footsteps. Teen romance abounds: A girl sneaks around with a boy she doesn’t want her parents to meet, and teens kiss/make out and have sexual dreams that include heavy kissing, which they discuss. A Korean girl’s mom comes to her worried about rumors of the teen being interested in another girl. But there are also positive diverse representations here, including Kitty herself, who’s of mixed race, and LGBTQ+ characters, some of whom are open about their sexuality. An argument between two boys turns into aggressive shoving. Underage drinking is shown, and teens get drunk. Occasional profanity includes “damn,” “a–” and “s—.” (10 half-hour episodes)

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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2023-05-26 11:00:18

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