Every year it seems like we get our fix of Disney Princess/Pixar animated goodness, but a lot of millennial parents can still argue that some of the best animated movies for kids were made in the 80’s and 90’s. I mean, how do you go up against the likes of The Pagemaster or Land Before Time and a number of other childhood favorites that parents and parents-to-be already have lined up on their Netflix queue for their kids?
Don’t be a Doubting Tomas–there are great movies for your kids out there that were indeed made past the 2000s mark. Rearrange your movie schedule for your budding cinephile, because here are some definite must-sees.
For Kids Age 3+: Ernest & Celestine (2014)
What better way to introduce your kids to the concept of equality and true friendship than with a film that’s not only visually gorgeous (seriously, the watercolors all but drip off the screen!) but also packed with important lessons about breaking against tradition, fighting for people you care about and finding your place in the world. It’s also great to watch as a family as the 2D animation will get you feeling like a kid again, too.
For Kids Age 5+: Ponyo (2005)
The strange meets the fantastic in one of the more recent film forays of one of the greatest storytellers of our time, Hayao Miyazaki. In Ponyo, the audience gets taken on an adventure of awesome proportions that proves the strength of family and friendship. Fair warning: in true Miyazaki form this film is animated very cutely, but there will be bits at the end that might require a bit of hand-holding (even if your little one won’t admit they’re scared).
For Kids Age 6+: Song of the Sea (2014)
If you’re planning a second child and don’t quite know how to break it to your first, then this film might be right up your alley. Even if you aren’t, then you should still watch it anyway. The story revolves around a little boy’s family as they are seemingly abandoned by their mother, and our reluctant hero struggles with his role as his sister’s keeper. Not only is every shot and every frame of this beautiful, but it’s a great, fresh story and action-adventure fantasy that your kids will be gushing about for months after.
For Kids Age 7+: The Secret World of Arrietty (2012)
Based on “The Borrowers” by Mary Norton, The Secret World of Arrietty follows our tiny heroine as she finds her place in a big, big world and forges friendships in unexpected places. If your kids are in a “I’m a big girl/boy” phase, then this film is just the thing to re-instill their sense of wonder and faith in possibility with the world.