When I was a child, selecting a movie wasn’t too difficult in my household. We had three options: watch a family movie from our modest VHS collection, catch a family movie on TV, or watch a family movie on VHS that we recorded from TV. Choices were limited. But times have changed, I am old, and the variety of family films is vast.
Selecting a film for your child(ren) can be tricky depending on their age, their interests, what they’re scared of, and what you can personally tolerate. If you have NEON, we’ve put together a list of six films that should suit almost any family’s needs these school holidays.
Winnie the Pooh (Rated G)
Disney gave Pooh and his friends a gorgeous makeover in this 2011 family friendly film, but not a lot of people went to the movies to see it. It retains the innocent cozy charm of both AA Milne’s books and the original animated tales, using witty wordplay and timeless, colourful characters to entertain the youngest of viewers. There is nothing violent, scary, or troublesome in this utterly pleasant one-hour-long film that caters to the simple moral of being a good friend.
You could also try: Lilo & Stitch (Rated PG – low level violence)
Inside Out (Rated G)
Pixar’s Oscar-winning psychological family film came out in 2015 which, to us adults, doesn’t seem like all that long ago. To a child, however, two years is a very long time and a lot of emotional maturity can develop within then – especially for those about to enter teenagehood. If your child saw this in cinemas, a rewatch could be of immense value. If you felt your child was too young to see it in 2015, perhaps now’s a good time.
You could also try: 1973′s Robin Hood (Rated G)
The Emperor’s New Groove (Rated G)
Animated films like The LEGO Batman Movie and The Penguins of Madagascar are powered by hyper-humour – gags that are so fast and so absurd you could swear the film sculled a Red Bull before you hit the play button. It’s a modern trend in many family animated comedies, but I consider The Emperor’s New Groove to be the unappreciated Godfather of them all. Seriously, this movie is so gosh darn funny, and if you’re just looking for something to make the kids laugh, this one’s almost a guaranteed choice.
You could also try: Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Rated PG – low level violence)
The Princess Diaries (Rated G)
Before she became an Oscar-winning superstar, Anne Hathaway made her bountifully charming big-screen debut in this classic family comedy from late, great, director Garry Marshall. The film is pure childhood wish fulfillment on a royal plate, one that sees Hathaway’s everyday teenager Mia suddenly thrown into the life of a princess – and rightfully losing her mind over it. The legendary Julie Andrews co-stars, sweetening this already lovable tale to the level of gooey caramel.
You could also try: The Mighty Ducks (Rated PG)
The Jungle Book (Rated PG – violence & scary scenes)
Director Jon Favreau and the Disney squad did a bang-up job with this CGI redo of the classic tale, winning an Oscar for all the computer wizardry that went into making this film. Wisely, it’s a remake that does enough things in its own way to separate itself from the classic 1967 animated musical. However, there are enough nods and references to its granddaddy that it’s bound to pluck many parents’ nostalgia strings.
You could also try: 1967′s The Jungle Book (Rated G)
Tangled (Rated PG – low level violence)
This alternate Rapunzel tale is great for at least two reasons. One, it was the first film to really kick off Disney’s new animation renaissance by being both a critical and commercial smash (prior films like The Princess and the Frog and Bolt couldn’t quite get one or the other). Two, it didn’t etch a devilishly catchy song into your brain and leave it there for God know how many years.
You could also try: Beauty and the Beast (Rated PG – some scenes may scare very young children)
Try All These Great Films for Adults
You might be offloading your children to the grandparents for two weeks and getting some well-deserved alone time. If that means slobbing out and watching some movies, we can recommend the following films – all of which are streamable right now on NEON:
NZ Film Award winner Mahana, Oscar winner Spotlight, historical feminist drama Suffragette, swooning romantic storied Brooklyn and Carol, transgender tale The Danish Girl, heroic true stories The 33 and The Finest Hours, NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, fictionalised biopic Steve Jobs, 5-star German feature Phoenix, immortal classic Jurassic Park, Marvel superhero flicks Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War, fantasy horrors The Witch and Tale of Tales, box office killer Star Wars: The Force Awakens, comedy sequel Bad Neighbours 2, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s Sisters, Key and Peele’s Keanu, Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar!, cancer drama Miss You Already, kink comedy The Overnight and heaps, heaps, heaps, heaps more.
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