Alien Xmas (TV-Y)

Streaming

Age 6+

Adorable family tale of Christmas spirit has mild scares.

Alien Xmas” is a 42-minute stop-motion animated holiday tale for almost all ages. There are just a few potentially scary scenes involving aliens’ invasion of the North Pole. A young alien Klept named X (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is sent on a test run for plundering Earth. The leader who assigns him this evil mission, Z (Barbara Goodson), is mean, and X stumbles into some harmless trouble when he first arrives on Earth. But it isn’t until the last 15 minutes that a full-on invasion leads to a battle between aliens and elves. The aliens have flying spaceships and laser guns that freeze people and shoot Santa’s super-sleigh out of the air (the passengers escape unhurt). The elves fight back with snowballs and wrapping-bow shooters, and Santa turns a candy cane into a nunchuck-style weapon that he doesn’t get a chance to use. Ultimately, both X and Z are transformed from greedy to good thanks to selfless acts of love and generosity. The film also has Christmassy messages about kindness, giving and gratitude (42 minutes)

Available on Netflix.

Lego Star Wars Holiday Special (TV-G)

Streaming

Age 6+

Delightful special is a gift for Star Wars fans, families.

Lego Star Wars Holiday Special” is a family-friendly, non-holiday-specific show in which key characters from most of the “Star Wars” movies mix and mingle. The events pick up after “Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.” Characters including Rey (voiced by Helen Sadler), Poe (Jake Green), Chewbacca and the droids are celebrating Life Day, a holiday introduced in the original 1978 “Star Wars Holiday Special.” A time-jumping portal allows them to interact with characters from other films at different points in their lives, including some of the franchise’s most treasured scenes. There are explosions, threats, battles, lasers and menace, but because it’s all involving/said by Lego characters, the villains don’t feel very scary, and the pew-pew-pew of blasters seems more like how children play. One scene parodies the awkward tension between General Hux (Ben Prendergast) and a shirtless Kylo Ren (Matthew Wood), with Hux distracted by Ren’s muscular (drawn-on) chest. Viewers — including kids — who haven’t seen all the films won’t necessarily be completely lost, but they certainly won’t experience the same enjoyment. On the other hand, kids who have Legos at the top of their wish list may spot several appealing Star Wars Lego sets amid the action. (44 minutes)

Available on Disney Plus.

The Princess Switch: Switched Again (TV-G)

Streaming

Age 8+

Wealth, royalty on display in fluffy but fun romcom.

The Princess Switch: Switched Again” is a sequel to 2018’s “The Princess Switch” and stars Vanessa Hudgens in three different roles, all of them royalty. It has positive messages about true love and inherited responsibilities, but some parents may be turned off by the princess theme and the suggestion that ultimate happiness for an average American is marrying into royalty. The film also normalizes living with extreme wealth, though the characters are portrayed as regular people with regular relationship and confidence problems. That said, in one scene the queen’s consort convinces her boyfriend that he’s not an appropriate match for her because he’s just “a baker from Chicago.” The villains are exaggerated for humor, though they do drug and kidnap a princess. Nobody is seriously injured in her escape. The heroic characters are all portrayed as compassionate and well-meaning people who are quite innocent at heart. Expect mild innuendo and kissing between married or soon-to-be-married couples. Adults drink champagne and wine at parties. Language includes “sucked” and “hell.” (97 minutes)

Available on Netflix.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story (Unrated)

Streaming

Age 10+

Millennial-targeted docu is sweet but lacks punch.

The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story” is a retrospective documentary that’s targeted squarely at millennials. Covering the cable network’s inception in the 1970s through its programming in the ’90s, the history ends before the turn of the century with a brief mention of “SpongeBob SquarePants.” The doc as a whole is unlikely to be interesting to today’s kids, especially because many of the shows they’re most familiar with — like “Dora the Explorer” and “Blue’s Clues” — get limited mention. But the movie’s deeper explorations of such series as “All That,” “Rugrats” and “Rocko’s Modern Life” could prompt millennials to cozy up in a Slanket and pour themselves a glass of Sunny D. While the content is strictly a skip down memory lane — i.e. only positive reflections are shared — parents and teachers may find some valuable insights on how Nickelodeon succeeded in connecting with kids. Iffy content is minimal, but there’s a story about a celebrity guest’s marijuana use near the kid cast and a discussion of a Nick News special on HIV that simply mentions the intention to discuss “safer sex.” There are also a few instances of mild profanity (“crap,” “hell”). (102 minutes)

Available on Nickelodeon.

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