Where to stream these 12 kids movies that parents can enjoy too
Some middle ground in the fight for control of the TV…
Pixar and Dreamworks may not have been the first studios to make kids movies that weren’t just for kids, but they certainly helped perfect the art.
Now with the release of any new animated blockbuster we can almost expect as standard a few grown-up jokes for older members of the audience. And why not, you’re the ones paying for the tickets/subscription/popcorn.
These are just a few of our favourites, that you can catch in the Kingdom right now…
OSN, Sar35 per month
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
This movie is a huge cinematic reimagining of a 1950 work of literature by C.S. Lewis, and features a sparkling cast of adult and child talent, as well CGI that still looks great today, 15 years on. During World War II, four young children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, are evacuated from London to a manor house in the English countryside. While there, the inquisitive kids stumble upon a mysterious wardrobe that transports them to a fantasy land, called Narnia. Sadly, all is not well in the land of Narnia – and the children find themselves drawn into a battle between an evil ice queen and a charismatic talking lion.
Before this live-action reboot was released, there were a lot of controversial announcements. No talking Iago (arguably one of the best reasons to watch the original), the much-derided leaked ‘blue-face’ of Will Smith’s Genie, relative unknowns cast in the main roles AND the news that it was to be directed by Guy Ritchie. Yep, that Guy Ritchie – cockney funster and connoisseur of the violent crime comedy. There was, of course, no need to worry, Disney knew exactly what it was doing, and what we ended up with is an immensely enjoyable fusion of Bollywood-esque razzle-dazzle, quick-cut cinematography, beautifully choreographed musical numbers and Will Smith hitting peak Will Smith – that is a truly worthy homage to the original.
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
There is no secret to Pixar’s success. Their formula for taking compelling stories, thrusting them into completely original settings, selecting the best voice and animation talent to bring them to life, and then seasoning the screen time with warm, funny, intelligent and somehow completely relatable whimsy, is unrivalled. Take Wreck-It Ralph as an example, the tale of a melancholy computer game character, that leaves his simulated world to seek fulfilment in the arcade games beyond his own. On his quest for meaning, Ralph befriends a young pixelated sprite, Vanellope, from the kart racing game, Sugar Rush, and the two set out to beat the game. #CompletedItMate. This tale of good intention, accidental mayhem and unlikely friendships is filled with a mammoth hard drive of cool gaming cameos and oodles of in-references to video game franchises.
Inside Out (2015)
There are two ways you can watch this animated feature. On a philosophical level, it’s a narrative that deconstructs the ego, representing human emotions as individual entities. The movie asks big questions about the nature of identity and the pursuit of happiness. It’s also incredibly fun to watch without the ‘big brain time’ element. Disney’s trademark tight dialogue and characterisation make it just as enjoyable for the kiddlywinks.
Prime Video, Sar16 per month
Once upon a time, in the land of Far Far Away, an ogre named Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers), is tasked with saving a princess from a dragon-infested castle. With the assistance of an over-caffeinated donkey sidekick (voiced by Eddie Murphy), Shrek’s humorous odyssey is filled with fun fairytale schtick, prejudicial obstacles and a banging soundtrack. There are currently four feature-length movies in the Shrek saga, with a fifth hopefully dropping in the not too distant future.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)
SpongeBob SquarePants wears a special nostalgic medal for many millennials and xennials. This, the first big screen outing for the animated porifera, who lives in a pineapple under the sea, is an unashamedly feel-good romp that honours the spirit of the TV series. Hollywood A-list voice support is supplied by Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff and Scarlett Johansson, in this caper that sees megalomanic antagonist Plankton hatching a plot for world domination. Plankton aims to secure the secret krabby patty formula by framing its creator Mr Krabs for the theft of King Neptune’s crown. Surreal nonsensery ensues, with literally nobody’s first choice heroes SpongeBob and Patrick, on a mission to retrieve the crown and save Shell City.
Netflix, from Sar29 per month
This film proves that Andy Samberg (Hot Rod, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Lonely Island) is just as watchable in animated avian form as he is in live-action. There’s tonnes of grown-up humour that flies, stork-like, over the younger audience’s head. Besides Samberg, comic relief comes from sketch duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, Kelsey Grammer, Katie Crown and Stephen Kramer Glickman. After accidentally creating a human infant from the decommissioned ‘baby factory’, stork Junior (Samberg) and his bungling human sidekick (Crown) must deliver the child to the recipient family. It turns out, the baby-delivery gig is a tough one, and frought with enough danger to keep the whole family chuckling for a good percentage of the movie’s 89-minute run.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Are you even watching a Studio Ghibli movie if you don’t check the date on your prescription medication and routinely utter ‘what the?’ once every five or so minutes? Howl’s Moving Castle is no different. Here, technology clashes with the ethereal beautifully, against the backdrop of war. The story’s protagonist, Sophie, is turned into an old woman by a disgruntled customer in her store. In Sophie’s search for a cure, she comes across a wizard, Howl, and is thrust into a royal resistance battle. If one puts aside the, frankly bonkers, imagery and wants to look a little deeper into it, there seem to be messages about the nature of war, and sovereignty being played out here, which makes it of extra interest for adult viewers.
The Lego Movie (2014)
Chris Pratt leads the voice cast for this movie adaptation of Denmark’s most famous export, Lego. To be fair the brand didn’t leap straight into a movie deal off the back of the toy’s popularity – this film came out nearly 90 years after the first bricks started rolling off the Lego factory line. And it was worth the wait. It’s a superbly crafted family movie, with plenty of lols for parents, a genuinely original storyline with compelling arc, and some brilliant voice acting performances. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is the average Lego figure next door, who is mistakenly identified as the Lego world’s best hope of defeating the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and his dastardly plans for a new world order.
Starzplay, from Sar40
This is the animated quest story of a young Polynesian girl (voiced by Auliʻi Cravalho), chosen by the ocean to reunite the earth spirit, Te Fiti, with an ancient relic and halt a devastating blight on her home island. The titular character teams up with a disgraced demi-power, voiced by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and a wild-eyed scene-stealing pet chicken.
We’re not crying – you’re crying. In this tale of pure Pixar wonder, a young musician crosses the bridge from the world of the living to the land of the dead. Along with his trusty street dog Dante, Miguel is in search of a long-passed ancestor who he hopes will provide answers about his own passion for music. An emotional score accompanies a screen filled with colourful feels.
Ah *kisses fingers* could zis be, ze greatest modern Disney movie? It’s certainly in with a shout. This truly original tale follows a culinarily gifted rat, who dreams of becoming a world-famous chef, and is presented an opportunity to do so, by secretly cooperating with the illegitimate child of a Parisian food legend. Lost? Well that’s part of the joy – this film champions the underdog (or rat), celebrates passion for food and paints large, one of the studio’s most memorable villains, head chef of Gusteau’s, Skinner.