A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Intended to entertain rather than educate, although kids may learn from positive messages.
It's important to help others. Teamwork can achieve great things. Sometimes following your heart instead of the rules is the right thing to do, though it can also risk putting people in danger. There's great strength to be found in believing in something. Families can look different, but still be filled with love.
Positive Role Models
Charlie is kind and caring toward others. He prays for his own family and others who are having a bad time, and feels a sense of responsibility toward helping the reindeer. Charlie shows empathy toward animals, including the reindeer -- as both miss their fathers -- and a local cow. He is smart and resourceful, but sometimes uses this to trick adults and put himself and others in danger. His mother is caring and kind, trying her best to keep her sons happy and safe. Older brother Ryan teases Charlie, but often helps him and shows his love toward the end. Local handyman Tom is true to his word and follows his heart to help others, rather than the rules. Vice Principal Mr. Klock is mean and quick to anger, putting himself and his rules above all else, though gets his comeuppance eventually. Both local bullies and a grumpy older man show redemption, helping the reindeer and getting involved in the town toward the end.
Cast almost exclusively White. Representation of a loving single-parent family following a divorce -- who are all struggling emotionally with the change, but learn to come together. Gender roles reinforced, such as the vice principal and handyman both being men. The only girl in the main friendship group pretends to cry to get into the animal shelter, further playing into gender expectations.
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Violence & Scariness
Bullying, involving knocking a hat off a kid's head and tricking them into throwing a snowball to get them in trouble. Kid goes into stranger's barn alone, runs away and spends a night in the woods. They fall from a ledge and sprain their arm. Scary animal noises in the woods cause a character to run away from them. Later they are chased by a large cow. Animal shown in distress and later dies. Adult holds shotgun menacingly and fires a warning shot into the air (the sound can be heard, but the shot itself is off-screen). A reindeer bites an adult -- they claim to need stitches, though this is not shown. There are scenes of animals in cages and mention of putting them down. Dangerous driving in a car chase.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of kisses on the lips and cheek between adults.
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Occasional insults from kids, such as "stupid" and "lame."
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Products & Purchases
Brands shown in the background of shots, including Lucky Charms, Honey Maid, Minute Maid, Doritos, Johnson's, Carefree, and RoC.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Prancer Returns is a sweet family Christmas sequel with a few instances of bullying and a couple of dangerous scenes. Charlie (Gavin Fink) is a young boy who, upon hearing a local legend about one of Santa's reindeer visiting the town, believes he has found Prancer's son in the woods. An incident leads to Charlie running away, spending the night in the woods alone, where he sprains his arm. Bullying includes knocking someone's hat off and intentionally getting someone into trouble -- but the perpetrators learn the error of their ways. There is also a scene where someone fires a shotgun into the air and animals are shown in distress with one later dying. Charlie's family has recently been through a divorce and they struggle to readjust but learn to adapt. There are plenty of positive messages about teamwork and helping others, and Charlie is a great role model. But there are also some gender stereotypes and a lack of diversity within the cast. With a simple plot, likable actors, and sprinkles of Christmas magic, this should appeal to kids and families around the festive season. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This sequel has much the same storyline as the original, but is a little more lighthearted and easy to watch. While the central family still have their problems, Prancer Returns has fun and humor, with likable actors adding warmth to the rehashed story. The events of the original have here become the stuff of legend in the small town, making the transition clear, though viewers won't need to have watched the first film to enjoy this follow-up. There are plenty of Christmas movie cliches -- a kid who believes in magic and has to convince the adults, mean bullies who change their ways, an older recluse who begins to reconnect, and some cheesy songs about the power of believing. The film's not groundbreaking, but it is incredibly watchable, and families will likely enjoy the kids' antics and the warm messages alongside the snow, sparkle, and festive themes.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.