Top 10 family films for the first half of '10
Thu Jan 1 2009
Here's a sneak peak at the big-screen releases your kids will be begging to see over the next six months. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief Starring Pierce Brosnan, Rosario Dawson, Uma Thurman. The film posters are already up, but you still have time to hand eager kids Rick Riordan's novel, a page-turner that brings Greek myths to life—in NYC! This movie version is being called Clash of the Titans for the iPod generation (in fact, an iPod features prominently in the plot). The Time Out Kids oracle decrees the signs bode well for young Percy. Opens Feb 12. Alice in Wonderland Directed by Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter. Alice returns to Wonderland at 19, to help fight the Red Queen (Carter) with her old friends White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman) and the Mad Hatter (Depp). We only hope the CG imagery isn't too acid-trippy for little ones. Opens Mar 5.
How to Train Your Dragon Voices of Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Kristen Wiig. This charming action-comedy from director Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch) follows a Viking teen named Hiccup, a dweeby stringbean who doesn't fit in with his tribe of fierce dragon slayers. This is a flick that might win over both your preschooler and your tween. Opens Mar 26. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Starring Zachary Gordon, Rachael Harris, Steve Zahn. This hugely popular web-comic-turned-book-series-turned-film is narrated by Greg Heffley, a sort of Jerry Seinfeld for the middle-school set, who finds humor and deeper social significance in everyday events. Hopefully, the big-screen version will preserve the realistically self-centered but well-meaning tween voice that made the books a word-of-mouth success. Opens Apr 2. (Trailer not available at press time.) Furry Vengeance Starring Samantha Bee, Dick Van Dyke, Brendan Fraser, Brooke Shields. In what sounds like a live-action Over the Hedge, an Oregon real-estate developer faces community protest in the form of raccoons, squirrels and other soon-to-be-displaced residents. Opens Apr 2. Iron Man 2 Starring Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke. At the end of IM1, Tony Stark revealed his super identity at a press conference. Now the government wants him to share his technology with the military. It's all rather sophisticated, but the PG-13 original had little in the way of sex (although quite a bit of violence). As action movies go, this one is a cut above the usual (hundreds of cuts above, if we're talking Transformers). Opens May 7. Shrek Forever After Voices of Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers. After growing bored of his "happily ever after" with wife Fiona and rowdy kids, Shrek makes a deal with nefarious Rumplestiltskin. The ogre soon finds himself in an alternate present la It's a Wonderful Life, where his old pals don't recognize him and life isn't nearly as good as the one he left behind. Parents are pretty over Shrek by now, but kids will love this last sequel as much as the first flick. Opens May 21. Marmaduke Emma Stone, Stacy Ferguson, Ron Perlman, Owen Wilson, Jeremy Piven. Call us nave, but we were stunned when Hotel for Dogs turned out to be a box-office hit; the film just seemed so...stupid. Now Owen Wilson voices Marmaduke, the goofy Great Dane from the newspaper comic strip. Let's see: Classic character + talking live-action animals + general fascination with gigantic canines... Yep, Mom and Dad are doomed—but kids will love it. Opens June 4. Find advance footage and the trailer here. The Kung-Fu Kid Starring Jackie Chan, Taraji P. Henson, Jaden Smith. What began as a remaking of The Karate Kid (remember Ralph Macchio?) has morphed into something more far-reaching. Will Smith's son plays Dre, a video-gaming youngster whose single mom is transferred to China. Not knowing the language, the boy is picked on at school, until a maintenance man (Chan) offers to teach him both Mandarin and martial arts. With bullying in the news so much recently, our expectations are perhaps too high for this film. Opens June 11. Toy Story 3 Voices of Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn. Imax 3D. Acknowledging the 11 years since the last Toy Story installment, the new film opens with Andy heading off to college. What will become of all his old toys? Opens Jun 18. Watch behind-the-scenes footage here.