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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - LEIGH PAATSCH

fter an ex­haus­tive search through all home-stream­ing plat­forms, here are the best fam­i­lyfriendly movies to keep young­sters of all ages and tastes happy.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.

HUGO Ama­zon

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.

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