As you scroll through Netflix's Children and Family section, and become suspicious of the sea of bright colors and flashing lights, you're probably starting to wonder how many of these flicks are actually good. If already know the difference between a film that will (hopefully) inspire their young mind and one that simply numbs it, you've come to the right place. We've found the films meant for some quality TV time with your relatives, with many of them good enough for both of you to find something to enjoy.
If you're looking for other good stuff to watch, check out our Best TV Shows on Netflix roundup.
The Incredibles was such an instant classic that many were worried that even an OK sequel would tarnish its legacy. Fortunately, this sequel packs enough pizzazz and heart to sit side-by-side with its predecessor. Vibrating with a wonderful jazzy soundtrack and inventive visuals, The Incredibles 2 is a joy to watch. Story-wise, everybody's favorite super-powered family is back, and dealing with the immediate aftermath of the original film: a society that wants to ban their abilities. Scenes featuring Bob (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) dealing with the uber-powered Jack Jack steal the show, and function as fantastic centerpieces.
This refreshing adaptation of Beatrix Potter's novels revive Peter Rabbit for the younger set, by injecting the character with a bit of mischief. Yes, while that decision upset those tied to Potter's original work, the film doesn't come across as mean or insincere. A couple of warnings, though: a human character dies relatively early, so this might not be a perfect movie for the super-young set. Also a minor ruckus was raised over a scene where a child allergic to blueberries was pelted by blueberries, which forced him to use his Epipen.
Credit: Columbia Pictures
If you're looking for a new twist on solid tropes, check out this film from Academy Award nominee Hiromasa Yonebayashi, whose credits include Studio Ghibli masterpieces Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo. This animated film centers around a young girl named Mary who finds herself surrounded by the utterly fantastic: a magic flower that grants magical powers, a broomstick that she flies above the clouds, and the magic university of Endor College (no, there aren't any Ewoks). Features voice acting by Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent.
Credit: Studio Ponoc
Ava Duvernay's adaptation of the Madeleine L'Engle classic may have rubbed some critics the wrong way, but most agree that this is a great flick for kids. As long as you watch the film with a child-like sense of awe and wonder, so you can enjoy the movie's gorgeous special effects and not blanche at its wholesome demeanor. Its focus, a depressed 13-year-old named Meg — whose misery is linked to her dad's mysterious disappearance — who goes on a mystical journal that will answer her biggest questions.
Inspired by Jack London's novel, White Fang will capture the imaginations of those who love pets and nature. Tracing the story of a wolfdog's life, as he moves between three masters, this wonderful animated movie comes to us from France, where it was originally titled Croc-Blanc. Voice acting work comes from beloved names such as Parks and Recreation stars Rashida Jones and Nick Offerman, as well as Paul Giamatti.
Parents looking for a futuristic animated film for their middle-school-aged (and up) kids that successfully manages to be appropriate and entertaining should check out Netflix's Next Gen. Featuring voice acting from John Krasinski (The Office) and Charlene Yi (Paper Heart), who play an AI and a young girl, respectively, who unite to stop a baddie. Next Gen is a sci-fi adventure movie that keeps its action scenes kid-friendly with laser blasts and explosions, while staying away from the more grizzly stuff.
While it's not for the younger set, Parents should feel comfortable with showing their kids the origin story of Han Solo, everyone's favorite curmudgeon pilot. Alden Ehrenreich does well in the titular role, but the film thrives thanks to performances by Woody Harrelson and Donald Glover. Kids, though, will love the friendship that holds Han and Chewbacca together.
Credit: Jonathan Olley /Lucasfilm