By Michael Foust, Crosswalk.com
Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of school buses starting and 8 a.m. alarm bells ringing after a long summer vacation.
Yes, it’s August, and -- pretty soon -- most of the nation’s children will be back in school, learning math and science and asking mom and dad for help with homework. But everything in August doesn’t have to involve schoolwork, right? Every family needs a little downtime, and the nation’s streaming services offer an impressive lineup this month for family movie night.
Here are seven new family movies and TV shows streaming in August:
1. The Sea Beast (Netflix)
A young stowaway girl named Maisie slips onto a sailing ship in hopes of hunting sea monsters that have ravaged humankind, only to be swallowed whole by one of them. She survives -- fortunately -- and soon discovers that the creature has a gentle, friendly side. (It even saves her life.) The Sea Beast has a similar premise to Pete’s Dragon with the adventure of a swashbuckling flick. Rated PG for minor language. (VidAngel and Clearplay each have filters.)
2. Light & Magic (Disney Plus)
The history of the George Lucas-founded company Industrial Light & Magic is told in this fascinating six-episode documentary, which reveals how a talented group of moviemakers developed the groundbreaking special effects of 1977’s Star Wars from scratch. The series continues through the 1980s and 1990s and ends with the special effects of Jurassic Park. Rated TV-14 for minor language.
3. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters (Pureflix)
A young woman gets engaged with plans of moving to Mexico -- yet, in doing so, breaks the heart of her father, who wanted her to work at his business. This faith-based film has the “happy feels” of a Hallmark movie and the comedy of Father of the Bride (1991). It’s a funny, smart, and convicting movie that every father should watch. It’s also one of the best faith-based films of the year. It’s based on the book of the same name by Meg Meeker.
4. Luck (Apple TV)
A young woman who considers herself the “unluckiest” person in the world ages out of an orphanage, only to discover that she has bad luck in the work world, too. The film tells the story of Sam, an happy, optimistic woman who goes on an adventure in search of a lucky penny that will change her life and bring luck to her young friend Hazel, who wants to be adopted into a “forever family.” Despite its name, Luck focuses on several biblical themes, including how “good” can come out of “bad” moments in our lives. (At the end of the film, Sam refuses to rid the world of “bad luck.”) Luck was produced by John Lasseter, the director of Toy Story. Rated G.
5. David (Sight-Sound.TV)
The life story of King David is re-told in this outstanding Broadway-style musical, which was filmed before a live audience at Sight and Sound Theaters’ Lancaster, Pa., location. Sight and Sound -- as you may already know -- produces epic biblical musicals on a wrap-around stage that’s as wide as a football field (300 feet). Each production includes special effects, live animals, and powerful music. David will broadcast live on Sept. 2, with encore presentations on Sept. 3 and 4. Visit Sight-Sound.TV.
6. Bluey, Season 3 (Disney Plus)
The latest season of this outstanding children’s show debuted on Disney Plus this month, following the anthropomorphic life of a dog family: six-year-old “Bluey,” four-year-old Bingo, Dad, and “Mum.” It’s a series that urges us to embrace kindness, joy and love each day. (Bluey’s parents just might be the most patient parents on Earth.) It also reminds us of the blessings of children and family. The Australian accents only add to the charm. Rated TV-Y7.
7. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Home Video)
Sonic and his new friend Tails team up to stop an old enemy, the evil Dr. Robotnik, who also has a new friend, Knuckles. It’s a sequel to the 2020 film Sonic the Hedgehog and stars Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik, and Idris Elba as Knuckles. It has solid lessons on family, responsibility, and forgiveness. Rated PG for action, some violence, rude humor, and mild language. (VidAngel and Clearplay each have filters.)
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.