You parents out there know how painful it can be sometimes to sit through kids' movies, but there are plenty of titles out there that are a great fit for the whole family. With Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (in theaters Wednesday) set to appeal to both kids and their parents; here are 10 more films that are made for kids but offer undeniable adult appeal.
The Harry Potter Series
Both the Harry Potter books and films are equally as popular, if not even more so, with adults as they are with children. The film versions of the exploits of this band of child wizards have blown up just about every box office record imaginable. The films and books both have an extremely loyal fan following and have become a pop culture phenomenon.
Monsters Inc. and Monsters University
Sully and Mike are the kind of monsters that aren’t terribly frightening, but they are amusing and lovable; they are the kind of protagonists that appeal to children but still amuse adults in the Pixar tradition. The films take place in a reality where monsters are real and are gainfully employed as the frighteners of children, a surprisingly effective concept that won over audiences and critics alike.
Despicable Me 1 and 2
Though the Despicable Me films are geared towards children, they feature the voice talents of Steve Carell and Russell Brand, which give adults a different appreciation for the films. About the exploits of a curmudgeonly evil genius and his minions, the films are cute, clever and almost impossible not to enjoy regardless of age.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
This adaptation of the popular children’s book by C.S. Lewis is a fantastical adventure for both children and adults. The effects are phenomenal and the film stays fairly true to the source material. The portion of the film that is set in Narnia is beautiful and breathtaking. The set designers went to painstaking lengths to bring the storybook world to life. The sequels turned in a commendable effort but didn’t match the magic of the original.
At the time of its release, The Goonies was the kind of film that appealed to kids of all ages. This story of Oregon kids turned swashbucklers was a favorite of almost anyone who grew up in the '80s, and has remained a favorite in to adulthood for many fans. Moreover, anyone who saw The Goonies for the first time as an adult can attest to the film’s cross-generational appeal.
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Mary Louise Parker has a huge adult fan base as a result of her epic turn as Nancy on Showtime’s "Weeds." So, Parker’s fans were naturally curious as to how she would tackle a role in the film adaptation of a popular series of children’s books about a mom and her two kids who move to an enchanted estate. Though, of course, much tamer than Parker’s television series, the movie was quite enjoyable.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Yet another box office hit based on a popular children’s book series, Percy Jackson walks the fine line between kid friendly fare and high stakes adventure. Percy finding out that he is a descendant of the Greek gods provides plenty of thrills and unexpected adventure. In its opening weekend, half the audience was made up of adults without kids.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
Though Pee-wee Herman was marketed to young audiences, Pee-wee always interspersed his juvenile friendly hijinks with some slightly more adult humor. He was never so risqué as to alienate young viewers, but he did pander to a grown-up audience from time to time. In the case of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, having Tim Burton at the helm made the film appealing to youngsters and adults alike.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
One of the most well-known and popular films based on a book, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a near-perfect family film. It’s the type of feature one never outgrows. Though it may be frightening to very young viewers, it’s a tried and true classic that is perfect for older children and a great option for family movie night.
Paranorman is the perfect movie for lifelong horror fans to introduce their young children to the genre. It is safe, in the sense that it doesn’t show any blood or gore, but it pays tribute to decades of horror films – it evens throws in a reference to Dario Argento’s 1970s classic Suspiria.