Anyone who has spent time as a stay at home parent will have, at one time or another most likely dropped to their knees and thanked God for the creation of kid’s movies and the DVD player. There is nothing that while silence a gaggling group of kids faster than a good, fun movie. While it would be easy to rattle off just about every classic Disney movie ever made, and they are all great, there has been a turn in the kids movie tide in recent years and the mouse eared clan have lost a bit of their luster due to the fact that they seem intent on churning out a host of, rather awful, straight to DVD type flicks that just make you want to cringe. In their place, Pixar and DreamWorks have changed the face of animation, using computer animation in place of the standard hand drawn cell method.
The kids movies of today are way more of a family affair, usually chock full of humor that will make adults and their little ones equally happy. It is with those criteria in mind that I have come up with my top kid’s movies of all time.
E.T. – Perhaps not intended as a kid’s movie, yet children worldwide love this one and it’s easy to understand why. Although at times painfully sad, it is also brimming with themes of friendship, hope and love, things that everyone could use a heavy dose of.
Toy Story 1 & 2 – I included these as one entry as they are both equally entertaining. The adventures of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and their toy pals are, quite simply put, moviemaking at its best. The buzz, pardon the pun, seem to be that a 3rd installment will be ready for a summer 2010 release.
Shrek – The tale of a loveable, yet curmudgeonly, green ogre is one that will appeal to both young and old. Kids love the gross, potty humor, and adults get a kick out of the inside jokes that most little ones will miss. The obvious potshots at Disney and their theme parks are particularly cruel, but side-splittingly funny.
Zathura – This is one that, I must confess, my kids made me go to, kicking and screaming all the way. I believed it would be a “Jumanji”, clone; same author, same board game concept, but this was the most fun I had at the theater in a long time. A great story of the love/hate relationship between brothers and how their bond overcomes all. Great action and effects as their house floats through outer space and comes in contact with a spaceman, a ship of lizard aliens and an out of control robot.
Night At The Museum – Ben Stiller stars as a nigh guard in charge of the American Museum Of Natural History where, much to his surprise, the exhibits all come to life at night. This is a movie that is great fun for the entire family and has a little something for everyone. The success of the film can be measured on a couple of levels; box office receipts so lofty that it has spawned a sequel to be released later this year, and a rather large swell in attendance at the real life museum, a true case of life imitating art.
I realize that almost all of the movies on the list are from the past 10 years or so, but that is where my real frame of reference lies in this genre, as it’s been during that period that I have been attending the theater with my kids, delighted that they have adopted my love of film.