It’s not necessary to be under 12 to enjoy kids’ movies.
Regardless of the main target demographics, sometimes it’s just fun to sit back and watch a bunch of colorful characters – maybe animated, maybe CGI – go exploring.
1. The Baby-Sitter’s Club
When you were a kid, you probably read Anne M. Martin’s The Baby-Sitter’s Club books. If you dreamed like Claudia Kishi and stacked junk food all over your room (Claudia Kishi assemble), then you should. It was simple: a group of junior high kids in Stoneybrook would regularly meet to run a babysitting business – and more importantly, to talk about all the things going on in their lives (crushes, family problems, school, etc.).
2. Horton Hears a Who
Along with The Lorax, young people would do well to watch Horton Hears a Who, Dr Seuss’ film about doing everything you can to protect the environment. (It should be noted that the source material for the film comes from a children’s book author who will no longer publish books with racist imagery – Horton is not one of them.)
3. The Last Unicorn
There’s a fair warning here: The Last Unicorn isn’t your typical holiday-themed family flick. Absolutely not. Although the movie has some lighthearted moments, it also has bleak spots, one that reminds one of Watership Down more than Monsters Inc. Nonetheless, it’s still a good movie! If you enjoy darker Disney films and Studio Ghibli films such as Spirited Away, The Last Unicorn is worth checking out.
The process of adapting children’s books into live-action films is not easy. Especially when the film features a clown-orchestrated kidnapping and an accidental fall into the Seine. Madeline manages to make each chaotic event into a fairly heartwarming film, however.
5. The Muppets Take Manhattan
It’s impossible to go wrong with The Muppets. Jim Henson’s colourful band of puppets travels to New York in this 1984 sing-along, with Kermit bringing the group’s musical to Manhattan to see if it can be performed on Broadway. The film offers plenty of entertaining songs, some slapstick, and a cute rags-to-riches story in which everyone’s favourite frog navigates a world of dubious producers, kindly cafe workers, and one very jealous pig.
6. Ramona and Beezus
This movie is based on the Ramona books written by Beverly Cleary in the 1950s, about growing up, being your best and weirdest self, and for goodness sakes, being nice to your sister.
Joey King is Ramona Quimby, the mischievous sister who will tell you what a pest she is despite what her big sister Beatrice (aka Beezus, played by Selena Gomez) says. Sure, she might accidentally squeeze an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink and annoy her parents, Dorothy (Bridget Moynahan) and Robert (John Corbett). Yes, Ramona’s class stories are not appreciated yet by her classmates or teacher, Mrs. Meachum (Sandra Oh). However, she was just being creative – as can be seen from some of the surreal sequences within this film.
7. The Secret of NIMH
In The Secret of NIMH, the protagonist is an adorable mouse, but don’t be fooled by its cuteness: This is a dark tale, with peril levels that are similar to those of The Last Unicorn. Rats fighting with swords? Of course! How about giant, terrifying cats? Sure! Characters barely escaping quicksand? Yep. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re looking for a fast-paced adventure with a moral message, you’ll not be disappointed.
8. Stuart Little
While there are many famous movies featuring mice – including Mousehunt, The Great Mouse Detective, and The Secret of NIMH – Stuart Little is arguably the king of the genre. Stuart Little, with his bright jumpers, red Converse shoes, and habit of getting trapped inside washing machines and tickling the household cats, is a character who doesn’t really need much introduction. Starring Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis, and voiced by Michael J. Fox, this is a family classic you have to see at least once.
9. The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Based on the popular Nickelodeon show of the same name, The Wild Thornberrys Movie spotlights Eliza Thornberry, a gifted little girl who has the ability to speak with animals after a cheetah cub disappears because of poachers. Okay, so there are a few sequences in this one that feel a bit padded (the whole boarding school sequence is a bit random), but this one compensates for it with its despicable villains and surprisingly intense ending.
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