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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there’s a lot to like about this tween-targeted movie based on the award-winning book by Meg Cabot. The characters embody positive traits like honesty, fairness, and a desire to find their unique place in the world. The story is rooted in Arthurian legend, exposing kids to the classic tale by making it more relatable with modern heroes and heroines. Viewers learn that some characters aren’t truly who they say they are, but overall the movie’s villains aren’t likely to scare kids, nor will the brief sword fights and other scuffles. Best of all, a final plot twist challenges assumed gender roles, again reflecting a more modern time and audience.
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What's the story?
Allie Pennington (Britt Robertson) is used to being the new kid at school, since her parents’ jobs as professors of medieval history force them to move a lot. When they tell her she can finish out her high school years at Avalon High, she’s ecstatic about being settled for the first time. But a research project for history class turns up some surprising similarities between her new friends and the legend of King Arthur, and she begins to believe that Will (Gregg Sulkin), Jen (Molly Quinn), Lance (Chris Tavarez), and Miles (Joey Pollari) might just be the reincarnated roundtable clan. As the clues fall into place and the moment of enlightenment approaches, Allie is sure she’s on the right track, but the real truth is even more surprising than any of them could imagine.
Is it any good?
AVALON HIGH is excellent in its simplicity, reworking a classic legend to accommodate modern characters and society. The concept of an unwitting hero who gracefully handles the duties that accompany the title has wonderful messages for kids. Likewise, the predictably happy ending for all the characters reminds viewers that heroes exist in all degrees, whether their special talents are honesty, forgiveness, compassion, or self-sacrifice.
Of course, you can’t have an Arthurian tale without some romance or the fabled Excalibur, but neither violence nor sexual content is a concern here. What battles do exist are brief and mostly innocuous, and the romances only yield a few kisses. In short, this truly enjoyable story is a great choice for the whole family.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about legends. How much of the story of King Arthur do you believe? Where do you think legends get their start? Can legends like this one teach us anything?
Kids: Who was the hero in this story? What circumstances thrust him or her into a hero’s role? Were there other good role models as well? Who are some of your heroes?
This movie was adapted from a book. What other movies have you seen that were books first? Which ones do you think did the best job of making the change? How does seeing a movie about a book you’ve read change your impression of the setting, characters, and plot?
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