Best kids movies on DVD in 2008

Here’s my pick of the best kids movies on DVD in 2008. I am thinking of primary school aged children. There’s a similar list for 2007 and i have just made a 2009 list.

1. Wall-e

Irresistably good movie – even my two year old loves it – Wall-e was one of her first words! OK so there’s not a lot of dialogue for the first 40 minutes of the movie. But Pixar have a great way of helping you connect with inanimate objects. There are some great ideas in this film concerning the enivironment, excercise, commercialism – there are a lot of nods to other Sci Fi Movies – notably – Wall-e looks a lot like a robot from Silent Running and the autopilot looks like HAL from 2001. There’s enough action to keep the kids involved and don’t get me started on the Apple Product placement…

2. Speed Racer

The Wachowski Brothers (the guys behind the Matrix) bring a real boys movie to the big screen with a film which is essentially 3 big car races. The plot is a little hard to follow for the kids in the first 20 mins but keep going because the action is great. With amazing colours some really great chase sequences and some laughs with a monkey and a 10 year old boy this is a great film for all the family. It reminded me of playing Mario Kart Wii!

3. Enchanted

Here’s a great Disney live action movie for a change. With a great musical set piece in the middle and a fun plot here’s what happens when someone from the world of fairytales enters our world – innocence conquers evil with some great singalong tunes along the way – there’s even a great joke on Snow White where the vermin help clean up a house this is a really fun movie you’ll want to watch over and over.

4. High School Musical 2

OK so I wanted to hate this movie – but once again the Disney channel has come up trumps with some really great songs and dance set pieces. Both boys and girls will enjoy watching this film. They have been wise and kept the relationships simple so that primary school children can watch – and some really memorable songs will have you humming along in no time. (it’s less than £7 on amazon at the moment too…)

5. Horton Hears a Who

A real classic movie – this is beautifully narrated and artfully drawn. great colours, some fun one liners and even the possibility of a little philosophical reflection. Don’t miss this great movie. It could be a parable about tolerance, inclusion and cross cultural friendships or simply enjoyed as a fun and distracting animated comedy. Highly recommended.

6.Prince Caspian

I really enjoyed this film. Yes it’s two hours long but the action sequences are great. It is pretty fair to the CS Lewis original (with ramped up action maybe). It feels more of a mature film than the Lion the Witch and Wadrobe. The budget feels bigger and the sets more expansive. Still the Lion the Witch and the Wadrobe has the stronger story line. (see my full review here…)

7. Spiderwick Chronicles

My son devoured this book series (great deal on amazon at the moment) and the film lives up to expectations well. There’s a great combination of action and intrigue with enough thrills to keep older children interested without it becoming too scary. Good performances all round. This is well worth getting hold of if you can – perhaps buying the first couple of books together with the film would be a good Christmas present to encourage literacy too.

8. Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

If this were the only Indiana Jones film that had ever been made – then I would probably have loved it. My problem is that I loved the first film so much that all the others have only been good rather than brilliant. We watched the first three films together as a family on three consequetive days and everyone loved them. I would invest in the box set if you were looking for a great Christmas present for children over 7 years old. Indie did look in very good health considering Harrison Ford is gettin on in age nowadays. The Crystal skull is great fun and definitely worth watching. It’s 2 hours long so you get your money’s worth – there’s one scene involving killer ants that might be scary for very small children. Apparently the Lego Indiana Jones video game is really fun too.

9. Kung Fu Panda

My family watched this when I was away, but they all came back really excited about the movie. In fact for my two year old – “Kung Fu Panda” were some of her first words … – after “Mummy” and “Daddy” ofcourse. With some really bright colours, great action sequences and some laughs rolled in – this is a great family movie. All star voice actor cast including : Jack Black, Angelina Jolie and Dustin Hoffman.

10. Penelope

penelopeThis is a feel good movie about a girl (Christina Ricci) who is born with a snout instead of a nose. She is looking for true love – that gets beyond just surface attraction. My 6 year old daughter really liked this movie, it’s got a pretty good message in this image obsessed culture and a pretty slushy ending – but hey what did you expect?

11. Golden Compass

goldencompassThis is a great movie, even though I must admit i am a lot happier with CS Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles than I am with Pullman. But it’s hard to beat the image of a fiery red headed girl riding on a giant polar across a beautiful snowscape! I really like the strong performance from Dakotta Blue Richards and ofcourse Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. There are some great artistic landscapes including a wonderful looking Oxford. They make the ending happier than the Northern lights, but nevertheless one of the best kids movies of the year.

12. Mamma Mia

mammamiaI was surprised about this one – but all my primary aged kids loved this film. My 8 year old son knows all the words to the title song and Super Trooper has become the most played of all the songs on the family IPOD. The bright colours and upbeat tunes could make this film a family favourite.

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13. Star Dust

stardustI didn’t really like this movie, but the girls in my house all liked the witches and the girl that played “star.” There’s a good bit of excitement, but I am really not sure about Robert De Niro’s strange pirate captain. Nevertheless for £4.95 it could be a good stocking filler on amazon.

1ratatouille4. Ratatouille

I really enjoyed this Disney Pixar masterpiece. Its got a great plot and some great action set pieces. There’s a great feel good factor in this movie – we can’t transcend other people’s expectations, there’s something redeemable in everyone… but even if you just want to enjoy the beautifully crafted animation and fast moving action this film is a winner. Another great gift opportunity.

15. Alvin and the Chipmunks

alvinThis was a fun movie combining live action with some cute animated chipmunks. If you remember the songs from the 80s with speeded up vocals so that they sounded like furry animals were singing them – well here’s the movie to fill in the gaps. My kids liked it – can’t say better than that.

About the author: Krish Kandiah

Founding Director: Home for Good Executive Producer: Books for Life Vice President: Tearfund Tutor: Regents Park College, Oxford University

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  1. watchtoystory3live - April 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm Reply

    Disagree with wall e as number 1. Small kids get bored with not much going on. I didn’t care for it myself either.

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