Over at my blog ReelMama.com, I really enjoy helping my readers discover the best in movies and family entertainment. I give my honest opinion about movies and also provide a “Reel Mama recommendation” about a film’s content to help guide parents in deciding whether a film is appropriate for their kids.
I’m so thrilled to be invited to guest post on Jenn’s Blah Blah blog, one of my very favorite blogs. I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my favorite kids’ films that have stood the test of time.
THE WIZARD OF OZ
For generations children saw this 1939 classic either on the silver screen or broadcast annually on TV. But then Xbox, the iPad, the iPhone, and countless other entertainment options became available for our kids, meaning that they easily could have missed seeing quite possibly the greatest children’s film ever made. Make a special movie date to watch this one with your kids so that they can get to know Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion. Last summer, several venues held outdoor screenings of “The Wizard of Oz” in my town, a very fun opportunity to pack a picnic and see this wonderful movie on the big screen. Do a little homework and see if your community will be offering free screenings of this classic.
Reel Mama Recommendation: 6 and up. Younger children can enjoy the film, but there are several intense scenes including the witch burning the scarecrow with fireballs and some nightmare-inducing flying monkeys. Otherwise, the film is G-rated and very family friendly.
This 2003 Disney Pixar masterpiece has quickly become a classic for kids. Also G-rated, the movie was recently re-released in theaters in a 3D version. If you missed it, “Finding Nemo” is now available on Blu-ray. It’s the touching story of a clown fish named Marlin separated from his son Nemo, and his desperate search through the wide ocean to reunite with him. Along the way he meets Dory (Ellen Degeneres, who steals the show with her priceless lines and hilarious delivery). It isn’t just the moving storyline and memorable characters that make “Finding Nemo” special. It’s also the brilliant, colorful animation bringing the undersea world to life.
Reel Mama Recommendation: 4 and up. Again, younger children can easily fall in love with this movie, but parents should be aware that there are several intense scenes involving sharks, including one – SPOILER ALERT – that destroys Marlin’s family at the beginning, leaving only Nemo.
THE BLACK STALLION
“The Black Stallion” is also widely believed to be one of the greatest children’s films ever made. It is a 1979 film adaptation of Walter Farley’s 1941 children’s book, and was directed by Carroll Ballard, a very gifted director, especially when it comes to working with animals. The story is touching, and the cinematography is gorgeous. It’s the story of a young boy who gets stranded on a desert island with a wild black stallion. Gradually the boy wins the stallion’s trust and they become friends. The stallion travels with the boy back to captivity, where the stallion may just prove that he is the fastest horse in the world.
Reel Mama Recommendation: 8 and up. This movie does have a few intense scenes, including a whip being cracked at the stallion, a ship sinking, and an encounter with a snake. The film moves a little slowly — a slower storytelling pace was more common at the time — but those who stick with it will be richly rewarded. The movie is rated G.