Okay, here's the criteria: Great "kids" movies that you may not be aware of and every bit as enjoyable for any thinking adult. If you can't watch with the kids, you'll be more than happy watching 'em after the little ones are off to bed.
The Book of Beasts "And then, quite suddenly, a great Red Dragon came out of the book and spread vast scarlet wings and flew away across the garden to the far hills." Little King Lionel has unexpectedly unleashed a red dragon upon his village (which is never a good idea.) Written 100 years before Harry Potter was born, this Edith Nesbit story will entertain those of you who have a fondness for the fanciful; dragons, hippogriffs and manticores. Read the StoryRhyme Unexpected Classic story "The Book of Beasts."
The Iron Giant Director: Brad Bird Voice Actors: Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., John Mahoney and Eli Marienthal as Hogarth Hughes Warner Bros. Animation; 1999 Running Time: About 1:30 Adventure/Family/Animated Rated: PG Ages: 7 and over
A lesser-known animated film by Brad Bird and produced by Pete Townshend (yes, that Pete Townshend), The Iron Giant (adapted from the 1968 Ted Hughes novel) is an absolutely wonderful film with the underlying theme "You are who you choose to be." One of our all-time favorites. The story is set in 1957 America and has a retro feel with a great soundtrack. Nine-year-old Hogarth Hughes finds a giant mechanical man from outer space and the two form a beautiful friendship. Of course, the government wants to track him down and destroy him. If you've ever asked the question "Why don't they make smarter family movies?" The Iron Giant is the answer. A great movie; fun and adventurous. The "official" Iron Giant web site is still up and running.
Wallace & Gromit The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Voice actors: Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Liz Smith Dreamworks Animation SKG, 2005 Running time: About 1:30 Rated G Recommended ages: All (except maybe the very young, under 5)
The folks at Aardman are amazingly clever and have really outdone themselves this time. Wallace, an inventor and owner of a humane pest control service, Antipesto, and his unfailingly loyal dog, Gromit, try to figure out the mystery of just who or what is eating all of the town's vegetables on the eve of the annual giant vegetable growing contest. Not scary at all, contrary to what the title may suggest. Very clever and full of British humor with an Anglican bent. A must see. Good, hummable sound track too.
Curious George Voice actors: Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, Dick Van Dyke, Eugene Levy Universal Studios Home Entertainment, 2006 Running time: About 1:30 Rated G Recommended ages: Everyone (if you don't like this movie, you're too jaded).
This is a wonderfully sweet movie and a great adaptation of the Margret and H.A. Rey classic books. This film tells the story of how the Man with the Yellow Hat meets George and the many adventures they have together. The soundtrack by Jack Johnson is so catchy, you'll find yourself humming it the next day. And this is not a bad thing to have stuck in your head. Recommended for the whole family.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep Stars: Alex Etel, Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin Beacon Pictures; 2007 Running Time: About 1:15 Adventure/Family/Fantasy Rated: PG Ages: 8 and over (Some scenes may be too intense for the little ones.)
You may have missed this little gem of a movie; it was released Christmas 2007 and didn't last long in the theatres. If you've ever wondered about Nessie, (and who hasn't?) the Water Horse: Legend of the Deep explains all. The story takes place during World War II England and follows Angus, a little boy whose father is away at war, as he discovers a mysterious egg. Angus soon becomes the proud owner of a baby sea monster. Just try to hide that from mom! Great special effects and sweet story. Some intense scenes, so it may scare the little ones, but we recommend it for those over 8 and anyone who appreciates a good story.