It’s Friday night. Everyone settles down on the couch in front of the TV. The lights are dimmed and the aroma of freshly made popcorn fills the air. The scene is set. All you need to do is to pick a movie to watch…but an hour later, the popcorn’s over, your exhausted significant other has fallen asleep on the aforementioned couch, and your kids are on a rampage. All because you couldn’t agree on a movie to watch.
Fear not. We’ve curated a list of animated movies that you can all enjoy as a family unit this summer; movies that are entertaining for kids and adults alike; movies with relatable messages that your kids can learn from and be inspired by.
The Lion King
Let’s start off with a classic. This 1994 animated movie from the hallowed halls of Disney is one of the last of their glorious 2D animated features. It has an old-world charm, yet feels contemporary.
HERE ARE OUR KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE MOVIE:
- The loving relationship between Simba the cub, and his dad Mufasa, the king.
- The value of true friends as seen through Simba’s brothers-in-arms, the ever-enterprising Timon and Pumbaa.
- What it truly means to be brave – a lesson that Simba learns the hard way.
- “Oh yes, the past can hurt, but the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it.” – and several more quotes of wisdom from the nutty old Rafiki.
- NANTS INGONYAAAAMA BAGITHI BABA – A stellar musical score and hummable songs will make sure that the tunes and lyrics stay in your head for a long time to come!
The Incredibles (1 and 2)
The films about the superhero Parr family are truly incredible. See what we did there?
Ok, moving on.
Both movies in this fun series are a treat to watch as a group. Watch out! There are going to be little quirks (ranging from cute all the way to full blown cuh-razy) that you’ll see in each character that are most definitely going to be relatable to different members of the family.
WHY WE LOVE THESE MOVIES:
- The juxtaposition of the superhero elements against the characters’ interpersonal relationships is so wonderfully depicted.
- The humor is some of the finest of any animated films – clever and hilarious to boot.
- The unassuming way it subverts gender stereotypes. (Woohoo!)
- The jazzy background score – unique amongst its contemporaries.
- Jack Jack – watch out for this firecracker of a baby! Ok, no more info, just go and watch the movie!
The shenanigans of the long-nosed Gru and his dastardly (not really) attempts at super villainy are some of the funniest in modern animation. But at its heart, it is about unconventional families, and how they are just as filled with love as conventional ones.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
- Let’s get the obvious out of the way – The Minions! They’ve pervaded pop culture so completely. And it’s only been possible because of the insane levels of awesomeness that they bring to this movie.
- The perfect voice acting by Steve Carell as Gru. It truly adds a whole new dimension to the character.
- The three little girls. Each one has a unique personality and kids are sure to see a bit of themselves in Agnes, Edith, and Margo.
- How deftly it handles complex concepts like adoption and single parenthood without being preachy. Kids will have subconsciously absorbed positive life lessons before they know it!
- Gru’s character arc. He starts out as a stereotypical villain, but evolves into a much more layered character through the course of the movie; a character we go from ‘loving-to-hate’ to just good old ‘loving’.
- The Music. One of our favorites being Pharell’s I’m Having A Bad, Bad Day – is a whole vibe. It’s a fun ride all the way!
This one breaks the mold of the standard ‘Disney Princess Movie’. The story of the titular Moana, the daughter of a Polynesian chief is empowering in more ways than one.
WHAT WE FEEL SETS THIS MOVIE APART:
- It breaks the stereotype of a princess waiting for a prince to rescue her in some way and gives its protagonist plenty of agency.
- It explores themes and ideas about Polynesian culture without pandering to or patronizing the subjects or the audience.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fantastic music. You’re welcome! (yes, really).
- Maui, the demigod – beautifully animated with tattoos that move to tell their own stories; not to mention Dwayne the Rock Johnson’s presence as the character’s voice.
- A subtle message about the perils of global warming and climate change.
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Whatever you’ve thought ‘Idyllic farm life’ was supposed to be like – you might’ve gotten it wrong!
Look through the eyes of Shaun the sheep. This 2015 movie version of the popular TV show of the same name ensures non-stop laughs while having its heart firmly in the right place.
WHY IT’S WORTH YOUR TIME:
- It’s quite different – both in terms of visuals and subject matter, from all the other mainstream animated content, and will give you a new perspective on the genre.
- The deceptively simple-looking stop motion animation is extremely inventive, and an absolute treat to watch.
- The witty humor, while predominantly slapstick, it is never ‘dumbed down’ and always remains delightful!
- It truly is for all ages, from the youngest toddler to grandparents – everyone’s going to love it.
- Despite the overall silliness of the proceedings, it still talks about important ideas like the concept of belonging, and what really makes home, home.
This blog was written by Vathsan, DIY’s very own Creative Director! He wants you to let him know what your favourite family movies are – feel free to write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope this list makes movie nights at your home a little less chaotic and a whole lot more enjoyable!
Vathsan is a professional animator and director. Creativity in all forms is what keeps him going and he is also one of the most wonderful storytellers at DIY. He’s a certified (by friends and family) film nut and spends oodles of time-consuming all kinds of content – and more time analyzing them!