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5 Great New Animated Family Movies

In a follow-up to Family Movie Night with some oldies but goodies, here are some newer films you might want to consider when deciding which animated film to watch.

In a continued look at some of the best animated movies to watch with your family, this time, we’ll look at some of the newer films that will have you actually enjoying movie night with your kids.

The New Goodies

I have defined a New Goodie as a movie made after the year 2000.

Related: 5 Great Old Animated Family Movies

Choice #1: Frozen (2013, Rated PG)

Here’s the story: Elsa, princess of Arendelle, has a chilling problem. Since she was a child, she can literally wave her hand and cover all around her in ice and snow. But, when she nearly kills her sister, Anna, Elsa is confined to a room in her castle and cannot emerge until she is old enough to become queen. But, on the day of her coronation, when things don’t go as planned and a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, sisters Elsa and Anna must work together to save the kingdom.

The movie is filled with comic characters, including a friendly snowman Olaf who dreams of spring, mountain man Kristoff, and reindeer Sven. Together Anna, always the optimist, teams up these characters to find Elsa, the Snow Queen, and end the icy spell. The film was an instant success, and remains memorable. It includes the absolutely sing-able ballad “Let It Go,” which over time will drive everyone in the house crazy in a way only Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” did in 1996.

Choice #2: Finding Nemo (2003, Rated PG)

In this great underwater adventure, Pixar tells the never-ending story of overprotective parents and less-than-thoughtful children – this time as an animated movie. The story is both funny and heart-warming. Finding Nemo follows the comic and difficult journey of a clownfish named Marlin and his son Nemo who get separated in the Great Barrier Reef.  Nemo is taken from his ocean home and moved to a dentist’s office fish tank. Encouraged and helped by Dory, a sort of silly Pacific regal blue tang, Marlin begins the journey to rescue his son, who also plans an escape of his own and return home. Within the story, heroes and heroic actions are borne.

This movie might scare over-protective parents. But, for families, the story of a clownfish searching for his lost son halfway across the world is filled with discussable lessons about allowing children make their own mistakes and how parents can react to these mistakes. And, the movie’s voice actors Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres are the real deal.

Choice #3: Despicable Me (2010)

I admit it; I am a Steve Carell fan. His voice acting as Gru in this movie is great. Although Despicable Me is a complex story, both children and parents should have no problem keeping up with it. This Universal Pictures movie has both a lovable villain who wants to steal the moon and heart-warming orphans who steal his heart.

Here’s the story. When a criminal mastermind steels one ofEgypt’s pyramids, evil genius Gru becomes jealous. He feels his fame as a criminal has waned: he has done nothing spectacular since he and his minions swiped the Times Square JumboTron. So Gru re-hatches a childhood dream of stealing Earth’s moon. But until he builds a rocket and steals a powerful shrink-ray, he can never regain the reputation he craves as the world’s greatest thief.

When Gru steals the shrink-ray, super-nerd Vector snatches it from him and Gru must get it back. Gru knows Vector has a sweet tooth, and adopts cookie-selling orphans Margo, Agnes, and Edith and, with the help of evil Dr. Nefario, builds a line of cookie robots. But, as the story continues, Gru comes to see his three little girls differently. They care about Gru, and surprisingly he cares about them. In fact, he’s a good dad. When Gru finds out that his mission to steal the moon conflicts with the girls’ ballet performance, he must decide if his daddy-duties outweigh his desired reputation as the world’s greatest thief.

Choice #4: Tangled (2010, Rated PG)

Tangled is Disney’s version of the old story of Rapunzel, the beautiful tower-imprisoned teenager with 70 feet of golden hair. Unlike many of Disney’s former princesses and more like the growing newer Disney princesses, Rapunzel isn’t that passive. She’s up to being proactive on her own account. She seeks adventure; she is curious about the world outside her window; and, she is willing to come after men with a frying pan. And, similar to her own circumstances of being kidnapped in a high tower, she isn’t above some of her own kidnapping.

So, when handsome, bounty-on-his-head Flynn Rider tries to hide out in Rapunzel’s tower, she takes him hostage. Flynn is looking for escape, but his captor also seeks her own prison-break. Rapunzel and Flynn, of course, make a deal; and, of course, the unlikely pair begins their own an action-packed adventures. In Disney-fashion, the group adds a super-cop horse, a motley gang of thugs, and an over-protective chameleon. And, similar to other Disney animated musicals, the ballad “I Have a Dream” is beautifully sung.

Choice #5: How to Train Your Dragon (2010, Rated PG)

This DreamWorks movie is a story is about a shy young Viking boy’s change of heart and his ability to change the way his tribe thinks. Young teenager Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III hopes to follow his tribe’s tradition of being a dragon slayer. As the son of a Viking leader, because he is growing into manhood, Hiccup faces the rite of passage all Viking men must face. He must kill a dragon to prove he is a warrior.

However, after finally capturing his first dragon, instead of choosing to gain his tribe’s acceptance, he decides not to kill the dragon. He befriend the dragon and names it Toothless. Of course, this does not sit well with his Viking father. But, in the end, Hiccup and Toothless work together to change the tribe’s relationship with dragons and together, dragons and Vikings, they successfully confront and defeat a common enemy that threatens them all.

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