IT’S A STREAM COME TRUE
If your kids end up housebound these summer holidays and can’t get out to the cinema, never fear, we have everyone well and truly covered
fter an exhaustive search through all home-streaming platforms, here are the best familyfriendly movies to keep youngsters of all ages and tastes happy.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE Foxtel Now
One of the all-time great fantasy movies, channelling both a rollicking spirit of adventure and genuinely uplifting humour that all ages can appreciate. Cary Elwes stars as Westley, the great lost love of Princess Buttercup ( House of Cards’ Robin Wright). After her abduction by the bizarre trio of a tactician, a giant and a master swordsman, the clock begins ticking on Westley’s chances of returning to save the day.
BEAUTY & THE BEAST Foxtel Now, Stan
Disney “bet the farm” on an ancient French bedtime tale of the enduring love between the maiden and the mutant. The end result both saved and revitalised the studio’s animation division. A sublime combination of masterful storytelling and magnificent musical interludes (overseen by legendary screen composer Alan Menken). The 2017 liveaction version can also be found on Foxtel Now.
WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Google, iTunes
Forget the ropey Tim Burton remake from last decade. This semi-psychedelic ’70s take on the incomparable novel by Roald Dahl stands as the definitive version. The casting of Gene Wilder in the title role is the key: there is a crazed yet knowing glint in his eye that suggests the world of corporate confectionery is sillier and more sinister than we will ever know.
FANTASTIC MR FOX Netflix
A very clever stop-motion animation adaptation of the popular children’s story by the great Roald Dahl. The title character (voiced by George Clooney) is a reluctantly retired poultry thief just itching to return to his old ways. Though sharper and nervier than Dahl’s original tale, the striking old-school look of the film keeps the wilder impulses of director Wes Anderson ( Isle of Dogs) in check. A real gem.
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE Foxtel Now, Netflix
The second of the Lego movies is astonishingly wellwritten and animated, reeling through many great jokes and much grand mayhem at blinding speed. Subtract the jokes and it just happens to be the best superhero movie made outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the past decade. The ripping story finds Batman looking for a lift out of a depressing dual existence: superhero by day, superzero by night.
RED DOG Foxtel Now, Stan
This superb Aussie all-ages crowd pleaser gets everything right. The title character, a copper-hued kelpie who became a living legend in WA’s Pilbara region in the 1970s, is played by a remarkably expressive pooch named Koko. The adventures of the redoubtable Red Dog (and his hilarious nemesis, Red Cat) unfold as all ripping yarns should, with a sly wink and a steady hand. Go with this over the sequel every time.
HOTEL FOR DOGS Foxtel Now
A modern fairytale about precocious pooches. Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin play orphan siblings who find themselves secretly running a five-star shelter for runaway mutts. Naturally, the dogs are the star of the show here, and some of their feats (unaided by computer effects) must be seen to be believed. There are some great homemade inventions on display, too.
PADDINGTON Foxtel Now
One of the finest family films of the modern era (as is the sequel, Paddington 2, which is also to the fore on Foxtel and Netflix at the moment). A lively origin-story adventure takes place largely in London, where that plucky Peruvian bear Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) revitalises life inside a tired suburban household while evading the clutches of an evil taxidermist (played by Nicole Kidman).
E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL Netflix
A funny little being not from ’round these parts expresses the desire to make a crossgalaxy phone call. While a jittery US government doesn’t like the sound of that, a child rescues the visitor in the basket of his bike and goes for a pedal across the night sky. Spielberg knew we would all fall in love with E.T. for one very good reason: he embodies what we hope all aliens will be like when they (hopefully) finally visit our planet.
COCO Foxtel Now
Last year’s winner of the Best Animated Feature Oscar makes a timely bow on the streaming scene. The vivid setting – further enhanced by the production genius of Pixar – is Mexico’s famous Day of the Dead Festival. It is here we meet aspiring mariachi Miguel (who is voiced by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-yearold guitar prodigy straining against his family’s blanket ban on music. This one is pure Pixar creativity at its eye-popping best.
STARDUST Netflix, Amazon
This lively fantasy-comedy (which comes from the same creative team that went on to give us the Kick-Ass and Kingsman movies) gets better as it goes along, calling on a dryness of wit and slyness of spirit that brings to mind the aforementioned The Princess Bride. Charlie Cox stars as an impulsive underachiever who journeys to a forbidden magical kingdom to retrieve a fallen star. Co-stars Claire Danes, Robert De Niro.
Brilliance from Martin Scorsese and an unlikely contender for the family demographic. A basic plot follows a young orphan boy hiding out at a Paris train station in the 1930s, tending to the maintenance of the clocks. However, it is when Scorsese moves to celebrate the early magic of silent cinema with some inspired flashback sequences that his film really hits a glorious stride.
CORALINE Foxtel Now, Netflix
A girl. A lot of ghouls. A parallel world too good to be true. This stop-motion animation fantasy from the mind of author Neil Gaiman combines the endearing and the unsettling to delirious effect. The surreal flourishes command the senses with guile and imagination.
MOANA Google, iTunes
An underrated effort from Disney Animation. Auli’i Cravalho voices the title role, a headstrong Islander princess who defies her family’s wishes and takes to the open sea. This intelligently scripted tale is blessed with spellbinding visuals and earworms aplenty from composer Lin-Manuel Miranda ( Hamilton, Mary Poppins Returns).
George Clooney voices the title character in clever stop-motion animation Fantastic Mr Fox, which is based on Roald Dahl’s novel.