Family Movies: Fun for All Ages
When I think of family movies, I think of movies that every member of the family is likely to enjoy. They may be targeted toward a younger audience, but even more mature viewers will appreciate the good humor, special effects and strong messages that are conveyed throughout the films that I have chosen. This is a follow up to my first hub on great family movies. Perhaps you can rent one tonight, pop some corn and settle in with your kids to enjoy some great family entertainment!
This 2005 live action movie stars Emma Thompson as Nanny McPhee, an unsightly, eerily stern nanny who comes to help a widower, played by Colin Firth, raise his brood of unruly children. The hi-jinx are silly and over the top, but the message behind this sweet fairy tale is a good one for children. Children will love the movie for its outrageous pranks and good humor. Parents will love the message about taking responsibility for one’s own actions and finding happiness through maturity and kindness toward others.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
This first installment in the Harry Potter film series was released in 2001 and was based upon the novel by J.K. Rowling. While all the Potter books and films are excellent, this one is a bit less dark and ominous than those that followed, making it more well-suited to younger viewers. This one also reveals how Harry came to be a wizard, how he arrived at Hogwarts, and has him meeting friends Ron and Hermione for the first time. Learn to story of Lord Voldemort and join Harry in his very first battle against evil in this outstanding live action film.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Robin Williams stars in this 1993 movie about a recently divorced man trying to obtain joint custody of his children by proving himself a fit and stable parent. When he loses his custody bid, and unable to bear the thought of never seeing his children, he develops the wild idea to pass himself off as an elderly woman and apply to become their nanny! The movie has many hilarious moments as Williams attempts to conceal his secret from his children and his ex-wife, but along the way, he learns a lot about growing up yet remaining a child at heart. The movie also has many tender moments including a tear-jerking, bittersweet ending that just may have the moms in tears.
Join Woody and Buzz Lightyear in their first animated feature film. This movie, released in 1995, is the timeless tale about the friendship that develops between two toys despite their rivalry for favored toy status. Woody is the talking cowboy doll that has been Andy’s favorite toy, but when Andy receives a Buzz Lightyear Action Figure, Woody feels his favored toy status is in jeopardy. The film’s main characters are voiced by Tom Hanks (Woody) and Tim Allen (Buzz) who join a host of other zany toys in a room that comes to life when the humans aren’t looking. Talking dinosaurs, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Little Bo Peep and a slinky dog are among the lovable cast of characters that help rescue Buzz Lightyear from the home of the diabolical toy destroyer, Sid. Throughout the movie, kids will learn that if you think positively and have positive self-esteem, anything is possible. It also reinforces the message that everyone is special in their own right and that we need to appreciate and accept others for who they are.
The original Freaky Friday was released in 1976, when I was a kid and starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris and the mother and daughter duo that unwittingly change bodies after becoming mutually frustrated with their inability to relate to one another. I loved the movie then, but kids today will likely relate better to the newer release starring Lindsey Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis. The basic premise is the same, but the music, styles and story line are more in line with today’s preteen and teen audiences. I loved this movie as well. Lindsey Lohan stars as Anna Coleman a typical teen and aspiring rock musician who becomes frustrated when her mother refuses to let Anna perform an audition at the House of Blues on the night of her wedding rehearsal dinner. Two freaky fortune cookies later, the pair are trapped in one another’s bodies, and over time come to appreciate each the demanding yet satisfying lives they each lead.
The Parent Trap
This is another brilliant remake, this time of the 1961 classic starring Hayley Mills as twin sisters, who after being separated at birth, come to meet at a summer camp. The 1998 version stars Lindsey Lohan as twins Hallie and Annie, each being raised by one of their divorced parents, played by Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson. Lohan is wonderful as the precocious sisters, who set out to break up their father’s engagement and reunite their parents. There are loads of funny antics and lovable supporting characters in this sweet movie about the strong bond of family and falling in love…again.
The Parent Trap
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I’m talking here about the 1971 classic starring Gene Wilder as the eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka, who invites contest winners (those that found the hidden golden tickets), for a once in a lifetime tour of his highly secretive chocolate factory. Here they meet oompa-loompas, get carried away by the fizzy lifting drink, drink from a chocolate river, and learn the invaluable lessons of life about respecting others and respecting yourself. Other lessons include following the rules, not chewing too much gum, not watching too much TV and not being a spoiled brat. But this goes for the parents in this movie as equally as for the children, for who are our children's biggest role models, if not ourselves? The movie is colorful and full of good humor. Kids and parents alike will love this movie. Though it was remade as Charlie and Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp in a somewhat creepy turn as Willy Wonka, I think the 1971 version is by far, the best.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
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