The scenes viewers of all ages momentarily see onscreen can remain in their hearts and minds for a lifetime, for good or evil.
Good family movies continue strong in theaters, but PG content makes it challenging for parents to choose movies worth remembering for the youth in their care. Insidious to overt “adult content,” such as crude humor and scary situations, are common in PG movies and in movie previews in theaters. Movie titles, posters, and trailers can be deceptively family-friendly, hiding inappropriate content. Therefore, good reviews from professional, educated, wise reviewers who have screened entire movies and report content issues are critical.
Unfortunately, G-rated movies now in theaters are mostly documentaries, typically about the animal kingdom, that are beautiful and wonderful but that may not keep the attention of children as well as animated movies usually do. (R-rated movies are clearly not recommended for families, but there is a wide and complex range of issues in PG movies that require careful review before seeing them.)
Ant-Man and Shaun the Sheep (both with some crude moments but redemptive content) are still at the top of the charts along with Inside Out. Grandma, in limited release this week, is an abhorrent, vile R-rated movie that should be avoided at all costs. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is also not recommended for families. Movieguide.org issues a strong cautionary warning for this PG-13 movie.
Fortunately, at D23 Expo (an exposition for the official Walt Disney Company fan club) Disney has made some major animation announcements. A film based on the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, entitled Gigantic, and Moana, an animated adventure set in the South Pacific Islands, are in development. The studio is also working on the sequel to Frozen and Toy Story 4. Many animated movies that may be appropriate for families are in development, but to date, Disney and Pixar movies have been among some of the best.
Redemptive and family movies coming to theaters this fall include: Shake off the World, Adrenaline, 90 Minutes in Heaven, Captive, Pan, Woodlawn, The Peanuts Movie, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Good Dinosaur, and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Next year, redemptive and family movies that look promising include: Risen, Kung Fu Panda 3, Ben-Hur, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, God’s not Dead 2, Miracles from Heaven, The Jungle Book, I Am Not Ashamed: Rachel Joy Scott Story, Same Kind of Different as Me, Finding Dory, Providence, Left Behind 2, Zootopia, and The Secret Lives of Pets.
Redemptive and family movies in development that have not yet announced release dates include: Do You Believe 2, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew, Ten Commandments, King David, Apostle Paul (with Hugh Jackman), Pontius Pilate, Butterfly Circus, and HD Texas Movies.
Always use care when choosing movies for your children; the memories they make today will last a lifetime.
Written by Diane Howard, Ph.D. (Performance Studies), dianehoward.com