Monday, August 15, 2016

Some more family movies

We quite enjoy a family movie night with Husband’s homemade pizza. Some we have enjoyed in recent months:

Apollo 13

A blast from the past with this Tom Hanks classic. It’s a long one at well over two hours, with a solid story accounting the real problems aboard the Apollo 13 lunar expedition in 1970. Our kids (aged 8.5-13) were engrossed and could mostly follow what was going on, what the issues were and how serious it was. It was never too scary, and while there is a little bit of minor swearing, there is nothing else about this that is concerning for a family night. A great movie with real challenges and emotion, and the added bonus of it being true.   I enjoyed seeing it again too!

Finding Nemo
Again, a return to the classic in preparation for seeing Finding Dory. [That was seen with extended family, so no review from me yet, although the summary I gleaned was: the girls (aged 11 & 8) loved it, adults thought it wasn't as good as the original]. Everyone has probably seen this wonderful story of a little fish getting taken by a diver and put in a tank in Sydney, and his dad coming all the way from the Barrier Reef in search of him.   It always had scary bits in it (especially the shark scenes) and other scenes with real suspense, but the lovely characters and friendships forged are delightful, and there is humour to appeal to all ages. It’s a great story about family, eventually letting go, and reminding kids that parents are always ‘for you’.

Herbie Fully Loaded

This cute adventure starring Lindsay Lohan has Herbie the VW bug with a mind of his own and a way to show it. Assigned to the scrapheap, Herbie is rescued by Maggie (Lohan) as a present from her dad.  To Maggie’s astonishment, Herbie proves to be very adept as racing, controlling the car himself. Coming from a long-line of race-car drivers, she secretly enters him to race in a major event.  My girls (ages 8 & 11) thought this was great fun, they loved watching the car take control of things (no voice, just movement and action with personified headlights as eyes, noises, etc)

Enjoying that one so much meant it was time to revisit Cars.


Cars is another of the Disney Pixar classics. Produced at a time when animation had really hit its stride, it’s fun to watch a world entirely inhabited by personified cars and trucks (indeed all transport). Lightning McQueen is the new race car in the Piston Cup; a brash, insensitive, rookie who thinks he can win without support. A three way draw in the final finds him racing to California against the others to woo sponsors before the final showdown race.  He gets lost on the way and ends up in the small town of Radiator Springs, along Route 66, a town that has died with the building of the interstate. Meeting the motley crew of cars who long for their town to find its way again, McQueen is forced to re-examine both his priorities and his decisions to do things alone. This is a fun movie with great messages about friendship and competition, as well as a frank acknowledgement that while change will always happen, some people get left behind. I love the scenes with stadiums packed with cheering cars on the sidelines and racing cars on the track, and the soundtrack is good too, with the bonus of a track from one of my favourite musicians of all time, James Taylor.

The Muppets

This was a treat waiting to be unwrapped. The kids were hesitant, I promised them we would only watch half an hour and then judge it.  Of course 30 minutes in, no-one was asking for it to stop! If you watched The Muppets yourself as a child, all the favourite characters are here filling the same roles.  I laughed out loud regularly, both to previous Muppet things and new cultural references. As usual, mixing real actors with Muppets provide lots of visual gags and general humour.  In summary, the Muppet studios are to be knocked down so that oil can be drilled underneath. They have to raise $10m in a telethon to save the studios, but have times moved on?  Do people really care about the Muppets anymore? Do people still enjoy their clean-cut style of humour? With lots of all singing and dancing numbers (the highlight being Life is a Happy Song) with both muppets and actors (including Jason Segel and Amy Adams), this is great fun. Afterwards we had a look at some old Muppet clips online and had a great time laughing at those as well.


This lovely Disney animation is getting older now (2008) but keeps its charm with the lovely story of Bolt, the superdog. That is, he thinks he is a superdog.  Bolt has spent his life on the set of a television series as the companion to his human Penny. On screen, this duo regularly save the world and since Bolt has never known any other life, he believes all his superpowers are real, something the producers have fostered to make his ‘acting’ more believable. As such, his protective love for Penny is absolute, and one day when he believes she is kidnapped, he will stop at nothing to save her. Ending up on the other side of the country, he meets a sassy cat, Mittens, who he believes holds the answer to finding Penny.The majority of the movie is the story of the two of them slowly forging a friendship, as they travel back across America and are joined by Rhino (a hamster and Bolt’s biggest fan). It’s a lovely story about friendship and the loyalty of animals, with great humour and a catchy soundtrack along the way. The final scene is a little scary for little ones when Penny is in very clear danger, but as to be expected, Bolt come to the rescue. This is a fun choice for a movie night, and it will probably endear children of most ages (including ours aged 7-11)

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