Top 10 Films To Watch With Your Kids - Part I
Watching films as a family or with kids is a really enjoyable experience..but raises the same issue time and time again. What should we watch? As an 18 Year old, a son and a film lover, I feel as though I should share my thoughts to help answer this question. Below we have our top 10. There is no order to them as they are all special for individual reasons. An age recommendation is also provided.
As always, if something needs a mention, add it to the comment section.
Part 2 and a poll of Hub users favourite film from this list, can be found here, in Part 2:
1) Finding Nemo
Pixar is always a safe choice for younger kids and Finding Nemo does not disappoint. It might even be the best Pixar film to date, turning a film designed for younger kids into a deep and worthwhile film anyone can enjoy. The story follows the clownfish Marlin who with the help of his hilariously forgetful (and endearing) side-kick Dory, has to find his son Nemo who has be captured by divers - all captured in animation which truly shows the beauty of the sea. The development of the plot is fairly generic and you can work out the general trend of what is going to happen. Yet there are two main reasons as to why it is such a memorable film, deserving of a place in the top 10. Firstly, the way in which the 'standard' plot plays out is sweet, innovative and to young people 'cool', way. The supporting cast is not simply there to enhance the plot and have more depth than just being 'a vegetarian shark' or a 'surfer dude turtle', per say. Secondly, it is laugh out loud funny. I remember being on the floor as a 16 year old, unable to stop laughing. I wont go into details but Dory has some scenes that will make you, and anyone with an inner child, laugh, without resorting to childish slapstick.
Recommended age - No lower than 5 years old. The shark has the potential to be scary & the separation of Nemo from his father could be upsetting to younger views. Older teens may be 'too cool' to watch a Pixar film about fish but after 20 minutes, they will have changed their mind.
2) The Incredibles
Another Pixar film? Well they are the Kings of family films. The Incredible's takes places years after superheroes have become forced out of popularity and relocated into normal lives. Enter stage right, the Parr's, a typical suburban family, with normal family problems (such as love and money)...who just so happen to have superpowers. The family aspects will amuse parents, the children will love the 'coolness' of having superpowers, and the whole film meticulously pleases all audiences with every scene. The introduction of robots, other superhero's and a tropical island brings the story along nicely and this is a film that seems not to have any 'sag'. Everything has a purpose. The animation and stylistic approach is crisp, the jokes are dead on and the focus on the family is excellent for a family film. Parents will empathise with Mr and Mrs Incredible, the boys with the sporty Dash who wants to be the best at everything and girls with the shy Violet who wants to be appreciated. An easy enjoyable watch, that may not have the depth and drama of a more mature film and is aimed more at kids than the adults. However, adults are unlikely to be disappointed by it - it is Pixar after all.
Recommended Age - 6 and above. Not necessarily scary but it is a film about superheroes so there is the expected a bits of action and violence. The antagonists are powerful but not evil and unlikely to scare. It is a PG from Pixar, you know what you are going to get.
3) The Shawshank Redemption
This is not a film for younger kids. What we have here is what I would class as a piece of 'real film-making'. A masterpiece. It's powerful. It's moving. You will well-up will sadness and joy. It is the story of an amicable and pleasant American banker, imprisoned for murdering his wife and her lover. His turbulent life in 1930's Shawshank Prison is told from the perspective of Morgan Freeman's character Red in the performance of his life. There are inspiring characters running through the film, the acting is of a quality that characters behaviours are easily mistaken for those of the actors own personality and afterwards, it feels as though you learn something. The music is emotive and immersive , really allowing to emphasis the message of the film. This film gives a different perspective on people in prison, prisons themselves and the way a viewer thinks about life. You could easily see this film as one which turns a persons life around. As to why it's on this list? It's such an important film you have a responsibility to share it. It subtly educates a person or child, under the guise of a prison drama which draws you in. Quite simply, this film needs to be seen. Not only will a child enjoy it but as an adult, it is your responsibility to teach them about the world - this film does that perfectly. A master-class in film making.
Recommended Age - 15 or over. A maturity and understanding of the world is needed to truly appreciate this film for what it is. Furthermore, there is violence, death and the threat of prison rape very early in the film. Yet watching this film with kids is not uncomfortable, but rather it brings the family together, through the experience.
4) Harry Potter
This should be obvious, the kids of today are 'the Facebook and Harry Potter generation' and if they've not seen any of the Harry Potter films, stop reading and introduce them to it...now...go on, do it! I personally think the books should be read first but the films are not a bad place to start. For those who didn't leave when told, and have strategically avoided any information about the plot of Mr Potter, here it is. Harry Potter is a normal boy, living with his vile aunt and uncle after the deaths of his parents and on his 11th Birthday, is told his parents were wizards and he has a chance to study magic at a boarding school. It turns out his lightning scar on his forehead came from a dark wizard whose name I'm not allowed to say, and he is the only person to survive the killing curse in history. Cue the biggest and most famous fantasy story of modern times. The first two films are the weakest of the 8, with very simplistic directing and a lighthearted easy tone which will strike a note with younger kids. The films progressively get darker, more mature and broadly speaking, better, as the films develop. My personal favourite of the films is the 5th due to it's stylistic merits of it. This series is in this list because.....it has been such a big part of millions of peoples childhood's that this fantasy, appropriate for adults and kids, is essential viewing. Fun, exciting and involving. The stories tell a coming of age story from the main characters and people have quite literally grown up with the characters. Children and adults alike will become attached to them, and will be sad when the story comes to a close. Essential, for pop culture references, if nothing else.
Recommended age - The first two films are PG's but have some scary moments. Big monsters, blood, fantasy violence, but nothing a 6 or 7 year old couldn't handle. The later films are rated 12's in the UK so if your child is between 10 and 12 and are mature, they shouldn't have a problem with this series, despite its dark tones.
5) The Sting
A film from the 70's in this list? Really? Yes. As a kid, I was reluctant to watch this 'golden oldie' despite my dad's encouragement, but when I did, it became an instant favourite. So why should a kid watch it? It gives a slightly different take on films to those around nowadays and is al the better for it. Although it achieved 7 Oscars (if Wikipedia is to be believed), it is not a film made to win Oscars - aka a hard hitting emotional drama which deals with issue a through to z. It's a fun caper about two grifters (con artists protraying conning as a noble art) who attempt to con a mob boss, in a spat of revenge against a through and through baddie. Furthermore, just like a con should be, it has the smooth, calm, notably clever theme with a hint of cheek, and has all the nostalgia and tradition of a film about the 30's. A surprising film to many kids, which warrants a watch.
Recommended age - The plot is not especially complex and like many con films, it explains the steps of the con throughout. A few uses of bad language if my memory serves me right, but nothing most kids would remember or take much not of. It is a PG after all.
Want to see Part 2?
It's right here: