The Aeronauts (PG-13)

Age 10+

Perilous science adventure lifts but doesn’t soar.

The Aeronauts” is a loosely historical hot air balloon adventure set in Victorian London. It tells the story of early meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne), who believes that weather can be predicted — an outlandish idea at the time — and perilously flies higher than anyone ever has to get data. He’s joined by courageous pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones), who completes the mission and saves their lives with her tenacity, toughness, intelligence and strength. She’s a wonderful role model who’s based on the world’s first female aeronaut, Sophie Blanchard (who ballooned for Napoleon). But it’s worth noting that Wren’s role in the story is revisionist history: Glaisher’s real-life co-adventurer was a man named Henry Tracey Coxdell. While there’s no drinking, smoking, swearing or sex, characters are frequently in grave danger, and a man does plummet to his death (impact not shown). Others fall and survive (including a dog), a person slams into the ground and is dragged along, and one character gets a nosebleed after a tussle. Viewers will come away with an understanding of how the layers of the atmosphere are different, as well as messages about the value of science, perseverance, courage, curiosity and humility. (101 minutes)

Lady and the Tramp (PG)

Streaming

Age 6+

Remake has humor and heart; some peril, emotional intensity.

This remake of Disney’s classic “Lady and the Tramp” is still family-friendly, but is a little more intense than the original, largely due to the realism of the CGI and live-action characters. The human dogcatcher, who hunts Tramp the entire movie, gives the remake a menacing villain, and the other dangers to the animals — other dogs, cats, street traffic, a rat — may feel more threatening now that they’re more lifelike. Sequences that could scare little kids include when Lady is imprisoned in the dog pound, when Tramp lies unconscious after being tossed from a moving vehicle and when the rat pounces on the baby’s crib. As Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) and Tramp (Justin Theroux) fall in love, they share a couple of flirtatious moments, including the classic spaghetti scene. “Dang it” is used, and characters appear to drink a toast together. This take on Tramp is a little mangier than the original, but the cast of human characters imbues the classic tale with a welcome new diversity. (102 minutes)

Available via Disney+ streaming.

Noelle (Rating)

Streaming

Age 6+

Xmas comedy has predictable storylines, positive messages.

“Noelle” is appropriate for the whole family, but will likely appeal most to grade-schoolers, who are likely to feel the most connection with its holiday-spirit messages, storylines and humor, as well as with star Anna Kendrick. Younger viewers might be less interested in the central story line of Noelle’s brother, a young man who runs away because he feels trapped by an inherited profession. His newfound yoga vocation could also stretch past their interest zone. But tween audiences will enjoy the empowering tale of a daughter perennially overlooked for a position she turns out to be the most qualified for. The subplots of kids being deemed naughty or nice and families seeking togetherness and well-being over material possessions offer positive messages for all ages. Language, sexual content and violence are essentially absent, but brand names are rampant. This is a Christmas movie, after all. (100 minutes)

Available via Disney+ streaming.

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum (TV-G)

Streaming

Age 8+

Engaging adventures through history could be more factual.

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum” — inspired by the best-selling kids book series “Ordinary People Change the World” — is an animated series about three friends who discover a hidden museum where they can be transported back in time to meet important people from history when they were kids. The central idea is appealing, and parents will like that kids are learning about history, as well as the diversity of the historical celebs featured. Many people of color are spotlighted (George Washington Carver, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman), as are women (Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie). But the show plays loose with actual facts — was Carver’s biggest challenge protecting his garden from rogue soccer players? — which is puzzling for a show about history. Parents may want to watch along and share their own knowledge. The show doesn’t have any iffy language or mature content, save for sequences in which the friends travel through time, which is depicted as rushing dangerously fast through a landscape with objects that look like they might hit them. Themes of curiosity and perseverance are illustrated with segments that spotlight how important it can be to think or do things differently than the mainstream. (12 half-hour episodes)

Available via PBS Kids streaming.

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