The Captain's Top Ten Children's Movies
Dec 16, 2005 (Updated May 21, 2011) Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line My memory's bad, so not many true oldies here! :-O
Yes indeedy folks, it’s Top Ten time again… this time my Top Ten Children’s Movies
There are three types of film in this list – movies I remember loving as a child, those I’ve seen as an adult and still enjoyed, and occasionally films that I wasn’t particularly impressed with but I knew the kids enjoyed. (Not my kids, thankfully! :-D) Oh, and Top Ten??!? Not a chance. Even though I’ve included far more than a measly ten films here (in fact I counted 24 in this list), I’m sure I’ve still missed some great films out. I admit to a bias towards more recent films due to them being more easily brought back to my memory!!
Oh, and there are no computer-animation / traditional animated movies in this list (though there are some live-action and animation mixed, and I have inlcuded some claymation movies) – for that please see my Top Ten Animated Movies
The 2005 film version of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is wonderful entertainment for children, with the special effects to really bring CS Lewis’ beloved tale to life. The BBC did a version some time ago, which was obviously far less technically impressive but more authentic and still wonderful entertainment. Wonderworks - The Chronicles of Narnia V. 1 - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (mini series)
Update 28.12.05 - I'd never seen Willow before I made this list, but having now seen it I absolutely had to include it. Starring Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis, this is a very traditional fantasy story and extremely entertaining for kids and adults alike. Fast, furious, and funny.
Mary Poppins and the rather similarly plotted Nanny McPhee are great entertainment for younger children, and show how naughty children can become nice (with the assistance of a witch, naturally!...
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit saw the claymation inventor Wallace and his long-suffering dog Grommitt in their first feature-length adventure. Perhaps not quite as funny as it should have been but still very well worth watching, though The Wrong Trousers (which is available as part of a triple-pack with A Grand Day Out and A Close Shave) Also check out Chicken Run, Nick Park and Peter Lord's first feature-length claymation movie.
The Jungle Book starring Jason Scott Lee is a very different adaptation to the classic animated version, but is still very good. John Cleese and Jason Flemmyng add some comic relief to this enjoyable version of the Rudyard Kipling classic.
TRON - cheesy it may be and the effects may look very dated, but as an escapist sci-fi / fantasy adventure that’s family friendly, this takes a lot of beating. Jeff Bridges adds charm and humour to an otherwise drab electronic world (deliberately drab, that is). TRON Legacy, the sequel that took 28 years to materialise, is also well worth seeing.
Freaky Friday - I’ve still not seen the original but this version starring Lindsey Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis et al was so much funnier than I’d thought it would be! (Of course some of the humour was probably unintentional – i.e. Lohan attempting to play a guitar – but most of the humour was meant to be there! :-D) Mum and daughter have a body swap, and must learn to show self-sacrificing love before they can get their own bodies back… trust me, it’s a lot better than that sounds!
A Knight’s Tale - this Heath Ledger vehicle also starring the excellent Paul Bettany as the poet Chaucer and smouldering Rufus Sewell as the baddie is an extremely daft rags-to-riches tale. A servant becomes a knight, who becomes a hero…. Funny and ridiculous, you’ll probably either love it or hate it.
DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!! - Lost In Space - he Robinson family trek across time and space in a sci-fi thriller that will definitely appeal more to children than adults. (If I’m going to mention that one, I also feel I must mention The Last Starfighter as retro sci-fi escapist fun! A video game comes to life – sort of, my memory of this is a bit sketchy – and a young lad must use his gaming skills to save the universe… or something… whatever it was, it was good fun!)
13 Going On 30 - Alias’ Jennifer Garner plays a 13 year old whose world is turned upside when her wish comes true and she is transformed into a successful 30 year-old woman… but what price success? Mark Ruffalo plays her slightly too amiable to be true love interest while Andy Serkis (Gollum, King Kong) enjoys himself immensely being a non-CGI character for once in his role as the Editor of the magazine she works for. I wasn’t all that impressed by this movie but 13-14 year-old girls are guaranteed to love it. Quite similar in a way to Tom Hanks’ Big, about a boy whose desire to be… well, big, is fulfilled. I thought that one worked slightly better, but hey, maybe it’s a gender thing…
Thunderbirds - largely ignoring the extremely boring Tracey family, this manages to be so much better than it might have been due to some lively performances by Ron Cook and Sophia Myles as Parker & Lady Penelope, Rose Keegan as an evil female sidekick, and the kids in the movie put in good performances too. The real icing on the cake however in this live-action version of the Gerry Anderson puppets are the wonderful performances by Ben Kingsley as “The Hood” and Anthony Edwards as Brains – those two are hilarious.
Gulliver’s Travels (starring Richard Harris). is an early example of live action and animation being mixed, and the tale of the traveller living among little people is very engaging. Just remember the earplugs when Harris decides to burst into song! That movie version is fun but the BBC mini-series almost reaches perfection, with a very authentic rendition of Jonathon Swift’s classic satirical novel
More recently the live action / animation blend was wonderfully in evidence in Looney Tunes - Back in Action, starring Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman alongside Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the Warner Bros gang.
Good Boy - a surprisingly good little film about a space dog who finds out what being a dog on a human-run planet is all about. Cheesy but a lot of fun. Another doggie movie that surprised me was Look Who’s Talking Now starring John Travolta and Kirsty Allie, with doggie voices provided by Danny De Vito and Diane Keaton.
Spy Kids – the sequel wasn’t as good and the third film in the series was mediocre, but this first instalment of the kids who find out that their parents (Antionio Banderas and Carla Gigino) are spies – and then have to rescue them – is smart, funny, and above all inventive. Great stuff.
Cool Runnings - just a funny, feel-good movie based very loosely on the Jamaican bobsleigh team and their Olympic challenge. One of the late, great John Candy’s last performances.
Thanks for reading!
My Other Movie Top Ten Lists:
Top Ten Movies of 2002
Top Ten Movies of 2003
Top Ten Movies of 2004
Top Ten Movies of All Time
Top Ten Romantic Comedies
Top Ten Science Fiction Films
Top Ten Star Trek Movies
Top Ten Science Fiction Series
Top Ten Animated Movies
Top Ten Spoof Movies
Top Ten Musicals
Top Ten Comedies
Top Ten Action / Adventure Movies
Best Lines in Film History
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