Cats and Dogs (2001)
Cats and Dogs (pictured above) is an irresistibly funny movie based on the lifelong feud between dogs and cats. From the diverse animal characters to the amazingly funny dialogue, this is one you will want to show the kids. The storyline follows Professor Brody who is trying to find a formula to cure people’s allergies to dogs (he is a sufferer himself). The cats, of course, are worried about this because they think that finding a cure would make dogs even more popular among humans, potentially rejecting the cats. The story centres around Lou and his dog spy friends, who try to protect the formula and save Lou’s owners from the evil cats.
We’ve had to put Babe on the top of our list, as it’s a classic that all children will fall in love with. It’s a terrific movie that takes a lot of risks but they all pay off in a charming story about a pig named Babe who is raised by sheepdogs. Babe shows dedication and strength helping out on the farm, narrowly escaping becoming Christmas dinner. A great idea would be to read the novel by Dick King Smith with your child beforehand, then watch the movie. This will create more excitement for your little one, with the added bonus of getting some reading in.
Free Willy (1993)
Free Willy follows the story of a young orca whale, Willy, who gets taken from his parents and ends up in a fish bowl at a marina. Meanwhile, a naughty street kid, Jesse, runs into the law and gets caught vandalising the marina. Luckily, his social worker gets him off the hook provided he cleans up his mess at the marina. While there, he befriends Willy, and their blossoming friendship shows the true beauty of relationships between animal and man. We won’t spoil the ending for you, but this is one of those films that truly resonates with its audience, making them think more deeply about human treatment of animals.
Stuart Little (1991)
Stuart Little is a must-see in our eyes. Based on the book of the same name, the storyline follows Stuart, a lovable mouse, who has been adopted by the Little family. (Ironic surname, yes.) Stuart is on a mission to win his new brother’s love, by proving his loyalty and love towards him. It doesn’t sound too difficult, but the family cat Snowball is not Stuart’s biggest fan and is always trying to get him in trouble, with hilarious results! Stuart Little is one of those rare cases of a “children’s film” that has enough charm and humour to also appeal to adults. It’s a great movie to show children that all families are different and that what is most important is love and respect.
Everyone loves a cute dog, right? Well, you’ll love this movie then. This Oscar-nominated movie is action-packed – filled with motorbike crashes, helicopter and plane explosions, and escape missions from the enemies. This is one movie that will surely keep your children open-mouthed and glued to their seats. Bolt has a completely original storyline, with no other movie quite like it. With vibrant characters and a wonderful cast of celebrity voices, this is one you should rush to watch.
Madagascar is a fan favourite, as it offers humour and adventure with an awesome storyline. We won’t give away much, as we urge you to watch it, however it is based on a group of zoo animals from New York who break free one night but then end up getting caught by authorities who ship the animals off on a boat … that sinks. The animals wash up on the shore of Madagascar where they meet all the wild animals living there … and you’ll have to watch the rest to see what happens! The thing that makes this such a cool movie are the personalities of the zoo animals, they are such lovable characters.
A Bug’s Life (1998)
A Bug’s Life follows Flik, an ant on an adventure to protect his community from the predatory grasshoppers. He accidentally hires a group of unsuccessful vaudevillians from a flea circus, who think they are being booked for a performance and have no idea he expects them to fight. But the fleas turn out to have just the right stuff to help the ants fight the grasshoppers after all, and Flik gets to prove that he is a hero at heart. We’ve added this movie to our list, as families can discuss bullying and teamwork (and even bugs!) afterwards, which is a great learning opportunity.
By Sara De Grey