The turkey isn’t even in the oven yet and Hollywood has already finished its holiday shopping. Our gift? The best family films of the year. It’s time to tear into this year’s offerings and see what’s inside.
Thanksgiving through New Year’s is the time of year when the entire family sees films together. Other times of the year, movies are more segmented by demographics: dad and son go to Thor, mom and daughter see The Help and grandma takes the grandbaby to Winnie the Pooh. Occasionally a Nutcracker 3D or Old Dogs may slip into the mix, but studios strive to make family films for the holidays which will entertain and be appropriate for all ages.
Always under the tree are movies built around characters with multigenerational appeal. This year, not only do we have Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked!
(opening Dec. 16), the third edition of the Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise that’s been around since grandma and grandpa were kids, but also The Muppets
(Nov. 23) and The Adventures of Tintin
The idea behind reviving older properties is that parents (or in Tintin’s
case, European grandparents) can share a piece of their own childhood with their kids.
Another holiday mainstay is the Christmas movie. This year’s Arthur Christmas
fills that slot with magnificence. The story has relatable elements for all: it explains how Santa pulls off his massive global operation (who hasn’t wondered?) and delves into sibling rivalries and the loss of relevance that comes with aging. The animation is its own Christmas miracle. The 3D is astonishing – audiences almost literally experience a ride on Santa’s sleigh. Only Grinches won’t see Arthur Christmas
Also in 3D, Hugo
makes such good use of the device that James Cameron says it’s the best use of 3D yet, including his own films
is this year’s magical holiday film. It’s a children’s adventure set in the 1930s that uses old films as a device to tell the story and, again, provides a point of connection for different generations. Directed by Martin Scorsese and with an Academy-approved cast and crew, not only is Hugo
this year’s holiday tree-topper, it might just be topping the tree with Oscar.