36 Best Kids' Movies of 2021 (That Parents Will Love Too)

From big-theater experiences to fun family films you can stream at home right away.

good new kid movies 2021

Family movie night is still on! While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the opening, closing and attending of movie theaters, it hasn't stopped the production of some excellent-looking family films. In fact, the schedule for the year is set to be stocked with fairy tales, new animated movies, robot adventures, musicals and, of course, the ever-popular sequels and remakes. We took a look at the calendar and compiled a list of the best kid's movies of 2021.

Tom & Jerry

tom jerry movie

Release Date: February 26, 2021

Tom the tomcat and Jerry the mouse have been chasing each other around for decades, and they're still having crazy adventures. This time, Tom is hired to chase Jerry out of a fancy New York City hotel before an A-list wedding. Chloë Grace Moretz co-stars as the hotel's interim wedding planner.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

spongebob squarepants sponge on the run

Release Date: March 5, 2021

Gary, SpongeBob's beloved pet, is missing! To get him back, SpongeBob and Patrick follow a series of clues that lead them on an adventure to the city of Atlantis. The movie premiered on the Paramount+ streaming network at premium VOD on the same day it was released in theaters, and it's still available to stream there.

Raya and the Last Dragon

raya and the last dragon is a best kids' movie of 2021

Disney's first movie of the year is an animated film about Raya, an aspiring protector of a mystical Dragon Gem. When trouble strikes in her world of Kumandra, she must find the last dragon to help save humanity. Kelly Marie Tran stars as Raya, and Awkwafina is the voice of Sisu the water dragon. Raya is available on Disney+ and no longer requires a Premier Access fee.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

the mitchells vs the machines   l r maya rudolph as “linda mitchell", abbi jacobson as “katie mitchell", mike rianda as “aaron mitchell”, doug the pug as “monchi” and danny mcbride as “rick mitchell” cr netflix  © 2021

Release Date: April 30, 2021

This Netflix movie follows the Mitchell family, which embarks on a cross-country road trip to drop off the eldest daughter at film school — and are waylaid by a tech uprising, forcing them to band together to save the world. It's from the creators of The Lego Movie , so expect it to have lots of fast-paced humor.

cruella walks a trio of dalmatians in a scene from 'cruella,' a good housekeeping pick for best halloween movies for kids

Release Date: May 28, 2021

Emma Stone takes on the role of the infamous Disney villain in a film that explains how Cruella de Vil became Dalmatian-obsessed to begin with. It takes place in the fashion world in London during the 1970s, so expect some outrageous Cruella fashions. This movie is available on Disney+ and no longer requires a Premier Access fee.

Sailor Moon Eternal

sailor moon

Release Date: June 3, 2021

This is actually a two-for-one: Two full-length movies, released on the same day, bring the Sailor Moon universe to Netflix. In it, the guardians must be reunited to tangle with a ominous entity called the Dead Moon Circus.

Spirit Untamed

spirit untamed

Release Date: June 4, 2021

Sure, Spirit fans can get their fix with the Netflix series , but it's extra exciting to know that there's another feature to watch. It's a re-telling of the early adventures the plucky Lucky Prescott and her untamed stallion.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway

peter rabbit 2

Release Date: June 11, 2021

This movie was supposed to come out in time for last Easter — better late than never! This time, Peter ventures out beyond the garden walls when he becomes a runaway bunny.

Wish Dragon

din faces a dragon in a scene from wish dragon, a good housekeeping pick for best valentine's day movies for kids

This Aladdin-like Netflix movie follows a college student who discovers a dragon that can grant him wishes. He wants to use the newfound powers to reconnect with a now-famous childhood friend. But is the magic all its cracked up to be?

three kids ride a vespa in a scene from luca, a good housekeeping pick for best valentine's day movies for kids

Release Date: June 18, 2021

Luca and Alberto dream of a life of freedom, a life of adventure — and, most of all, a life with a Vespa to ride. They try to win the money to buy a scooter in the Italian town of Portorosso, but they're hiding something big that would scandalize the townsfolk, including their newfound friend, Giulia. This one came straight to Disney+ without a premium fee.

RELATED: All 24 Pixar Movies, Ranked From Worst to Best

Boss Baby: Family Business

boss baby family business

Release Date: July 2, 2021

If your kids are fans of the first Boss Baby movie or the Boss Baby: Back in Business series on Netflix, they'll be happy to know there's another bundle on the way. This time, Tim and Ted are grown-ups who — at the behest of Tim's infant daughter — have to turn back into babies to help stop an evil villain. This was released simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock , where it's still around for streaming.

Space Jam: A New Legacy

space jam

Release Date: July 16, 2021

If you've been waiting for a Space Jam sequel since 1996, now's your time to shine. This time, LeBron James teams up with all the Looney Tunes characters to save his son, Dom, from a sinister Warner Brothers algorithm. This one is available through HBO Max .

Jungle Cruise

dwayne johnson as frank and emily blunt as lily in jungle cruise photo by frank masi © 2020 disney enterprises, inc all rights reserved

Release Date: July 30, 2021

This family adventure film is based on the Disney theme park attraction (and includes a lot of corny puns like the ride does). Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt star as an unlikely duo sent into the wilderness by river to find the Tree of Life, which is said to have mysterious healing powers. You can watch it in on Disney+ with a Premier Access fee until November 12, when it will become free for subscribers.


Release Date: August 6, 2021

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a spate of brand-new songs for this Netflix animated film, about a music-loving kinkajou and his travels from Havana to Miami.

Paw Patrol: The Movie

delores voiced by kim kardashian west in paw patrol the movie from paramount pictures photo credit courtesy of spin master

Release Date: August 20, 2021

It was only a matter of time before the pups made their way from Adventure Bay to the big screen. The movie promises to have bigger action, more thrilling rescues, even cooler vehicles and a pup voiced by Kim Kardashian . The movie debuted in theaters on Paramount+ the same day.

The Loud House Movie

the loud house movie

Netflix offers up a new adventure with the Loud family, and it's appropriately rowdy. In this new movie, the crew heads over to Scotland, where they learn they're descendants of Scottish royalty. Also, it's a musical!

camila cabello sings in a scene from cinderella, a good housekeeping pick for best valentine's day movies for kids

Release Date: September 3, 2021

Camila Cabello stars in a musical adaptation of the fairy tale, which co-stars Pierce Brosnan as the King, James Corden as a footman an Billy Porter as "Fab G," a fairy godperson. It comes from Kay Cannon, who wrote the Pitch Perfect films, and the songs are a mix of originals and popular tunes like "Somebody to Love" or "Rhythm Nation." It went directly to Amazon Prime.

My Little Pony: A New Generation

my little pony movie

Release Date: September 24, 2021

To coincide with the new My Little Pony G5 series, this movie follows a new crew of equines. The land of Equestria has lost its magic, and an Earth Pony named Sunny teams up with new friends to try and get it back. And for those who like to stay home: This movie is premiering directly on Netflix.

The Addams Family 2

the addams family 2 is a best kids' movie of 2021

Release Date: October 1, 2021

It wouldn't be Halloween without a visit from the Addams Family in some shape or form. This time, it's a sequel to the 2019 animated movie, the one with characters that look more like the original Charles Addams cartoons. Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron return as Gomez and Morticia Addams, and SNL 's Bill Hader also joins the cast. It'll debut simultaneously in theaters on premium VOD.

Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle

pokémon the movie secrets of the jungle

Release Date: October 8, 2021

As part of Pokémon's 25th anniversary celebration, the company is releasing its 23rd animated movie straight to Netflix. In it, Ash and Pikachu meet Koko, a boy raised by a member of a troop of insular Zarude Pokémon. Koko has to figure out if he's human or Zarude.

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Marisa (she/her) has covered all things parenting, from the postpartum period through the empty nest, for Good Housekeeping since 2018; she previously wrote about parents and families at Parents and Working Mother . She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, where she can be found dominating the audio round at her local bar trivia night or tweeting about movies.

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good new kid movies 2021

good new kid movies 2021

good new kid movies 2021

Best Kids & Family Movies 2021

Studio adaptations of beloved children’s IP primarily make up this list: Tom & Jerry , Clifford: The Big Red Dog , Flora & Ulysses , and Space Jam . But it’s the true story of Dream Horse, starring Toni Collette, that is tops. Dream Horse dramatizes the triumph of an unlikely racehorse and her human family who, with little money or experience but a whole lot of heart and determination, make their way into the nation’s top competitions.

The order reflects Tomatometer scores (as of December 31, 2021) after adjustment from our ranking formula, which compensates for variation in the number of reviews when comparing movies or TV shows.

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Dream Horse (2020) 88%

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The Water Man (2020) 78%

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Flora and Ulysses (2020) 73%

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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021) 67%

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Clifford the Big Red Dog (2021) 58%

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good new kid movies 2021

Best Kids' Movies of 2021 — That Parents Will Love Too

Which is your favorite kid's movie of 2021? (as of October 2021) Source: Good Housekeeping (Note: Shaun the Sheep The Flight Before Christmas has not an IMDb page yet) Join the Discussion Here in the IMDb Poll Community Forum

1. Tom & Jerry (II) (2021)

PG | 101 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A chaotic battle ensues between Jerry Mouse, who has taken refuge in the Royal Gate Hotel, and Tom Cat, who is hired to drive him away before the day of a big wedding arrives.

Director: Tim Story | Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz , Michael Peña , Colin Jost , Tom

Votes: 36,666 | Gross: $46.54M

2. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2020)

PG | 91 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

After SpongeBob's beloved pet snail Gary is snail-napped, he and Patrick embark on an epic adventure to The Lost City of Atlantic City to bring Gary home.

Director: Tim Hill | Stars: Tim Hill , Clancy Brown , Bill Fagerbakke , Rodger Bumpass

Votes: 19,275

3. Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

PG | 107 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.

Directors: Don Hall , Carlos López Estrada , Paul Briggs , John Ripa | Stars: Kelly Marie Tran , Awkwafina , Gemma Chan , Izaac Wang

Votes: 156,478 | Gross: $54.72M

4. The Mitchells vs the Machines (2021)

PG | 114 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A quirky, dysfunctional family's road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity's unlikeliest last hope.

Directors: Michael Rianda , Jeff Rowe | Stars: Abbi Jacobson , Danny McBride , Maya Rudolph , Michael Rianda

Votes: 112,905

5. Cruella (2021)

PG-13 | 134 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

A live-action prequel feature film following a young Cruella de Vil.

Director: Craig Gillespie | Stars: Emma Stone , Emma Thompson , Joel Fry , Paul Walter Hauser

Votes: 240,090 | Gross: $86.10M

6. Sailor Moon Eternal (2021)

TV-14 | 160 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

When a dark power enshrouds the Earth after a total solar eclipse, the scattered Sailor Guardians must reunite to bring light back into the world.

Director: Chiaki Kon | Stars: Kotono Mitsuishi , Stephanie Sheh , Kate Higgins , Cristina Valenzuela

Votes: 1,375

7. Spirit Untamed (2021)

PG | 88 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Lucky Prescott's life is changed forever when she moves from her home in the city to a small frontier town and befriends a wild mustang named Spirit.

Directors: Elaine Bogan , Ennio Torresan | Stars: Isabela Merced , Marsai Martin , Mckenna Grace , Walton Goggins

Votes: 3,993

8. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021)

PG | 93 min | Adventure, Comedy, Crime

Thomas and Bea are now married and living with Peter and his rabbit family. Bored of life in the garden, Peter goes to the big city, where he meets shady characters and ends up creating chaos for the whole family.

Director: Will Gluck | Stars: Rose Byrne , Domhnall Gleeson , David Oyelowo , James Corden

Votes: 12,487 | Gross: $40.50M

9. Wish Dragon (2021)

PG | 98 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Determined teen Din is longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities.

Director: Chris Appelhans | Stars: Jimmy Wong , John Cho , Constance Wu , Natasha Liu Bordizzo

Votes: 28,751

10. Luca (2021)

PG | 95 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

On the Italian Riviera, an unlikely but strong friendship grows between a human being and a sea monster disguised as a human.

Director: Enrico Casarosa | Stars: Jacob Tremblay , Jack Dylan Grazer , Emma Berman , Saverio Raimondo

Votes: 169,123

11. The Boss Baby 2: Family Business (2021)

PG | 107 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

The Templeton brothers have become adults and drifted away from each other, but a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach is about to bring them together again - and inspire a new family business.

Director: Tom McGrath | Stars: Alec Baldwin , James Marsden , Amy Sedaris , Ariana Greenblatt

Votes: 19,383 | Gross: $57.30M

12. Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)

PG | 115 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A rogue artificial intelligence kidnaps the son of famed basketball player LeBron James , who then has to work with Bugs Bunny to win a basketball game.

Director: Malcolm D. Lee | Stars: LeBron James , Don Cheadle , Cedric Joe , Khris Davis

Votes: 74,011 | Gross: $70.59M

13. Jungle Cruise (2021)

PG-13 | 127 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

Based on Disneyland's theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles but with a supernatural element.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra | Stars: Dwayne Johnson , Emily Blunt , Edgar Ramírez , Jack Whitehall

Votes: 196,185 | Gross: $116.99M

14. Vivo (I) (2021)

Vivo, Sony Pictures Animation's first-ever musical adventure featuring all-new original songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, will take audiences on an epic adventure to gorgeous and vibrant locations never before seen in animation.

Directors: Kirk DeMicco , Brandon Jeffords | Stars: Lin-Manuel Miranda , Ynairaly Simo , Zoe Saldana , Juan de Marcos González

Votes: 19,791

15. PAW Patrol: The Movie (2021)

G | 86 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

Ryder and the pups are called to Adventure City to stop Mayor Humdinger from turning the bustling metropolis into a state of chaos.

Director: Cal Brunker | Stars: Tyler Perry , Ron Pardo , Will Brisbin , Kingsley Marshall

Votes: 6,728 | Gross: $40.13M

16. The Loud House Movie (2021)

TV-Y7 | 83 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

With his parents and all 10 sisters in tow, Lincoln Loud heads to Scotland and learns that royalty runs in the family in this global musical journey.

Director: Dave Needham | Stars: Asher Bishop , David Tennant , Michelle Gomez , Jill Talley

Votes: 2,327

17. Cinderella (I) (2021)

PG | 113 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A modern movie musical with a bold take on the classic fairy tale. Our ambitious heroine has big dreams and with the help of her fab Godmother, she perseveres to make them come true.

Director: Kay Cannon | Stars: Camila Cabello , Billy Porter , Nicholas Galitzine , Idina Menzel

Votes: 43,047

18. My Little Pony: A New Generation (2021)

PG | 90 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

After the time of the Mane 6, Sunny--a young Earth Pony--and her new Unicorn friend Izzy explore their world and strive to restore Harmony to Equestria.

Directors: Robert Cullen , José Luis Ucha , Mark Fattibene | Stars: Vanessa Hudgens , Kimiko Glenn , James Marsden , Sofia Carson

Votes: 4,032

19. The Addams Family 2 (2021)

PG | 93 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

The Addams get tangled up in more wacky adventures and find themselves involved in hilarious run-ins with all sorts of unsuspecting characters. Sequel to the 2019 animated film, 'The Addams Family'.

Directors: Greg Tiernan , Conrad Vernon , Laura Brousseau , Kevin Pavlovic | Stars: Oscar Isaac , Charlize Theron , Chloë Grace Moretz , Javon 'Wanna' Walton

Votes: 13,748 | Gross: $56.49M

20. Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle (2020)

TV-Y7 | 99 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The story of Koko, a young boy raised by Pokémon, and the creation of a new bond between humans and Pokémon.

Director: Tetsuo Yajima | Stars: Sarah Natochenny , Kimlinh Tran , Edward Bosco , Kellen Goff

Votes: 2,189

21. Ron's Gone Wrong (2021)

The story of Barney, an awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device. Ron's malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age launch them on a journey to learn about true friendship.

Directors: Sarah Smith , Jean-Philippe Vine , Octavio E. Rodriguez | Stars: Jack Dylan Grazer , Zach Galifianakis , Ed Helms , Olivia Colman

Votes: 35,749

22. The Claus Family (2020)

TV-PG | 96 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

After discovering his grandfather is Santa Claus, Jules has to help him deliver his presents all around the world. But Jules' hatred for Christmas might make that more difficult than Santa thought.

Director: Matthias Temmermans | Stars: Jan Decleir , Mo Bakker , Bracha van Doesburgh , Renée Soutendijk

Votes: 2,591

23. Clifford the Big Red Dog (2021)

PG | 96 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

A young girl's love for a tiny puppy named Clifford makes the dog grow to an enormous size.

Director: Walt Becker | Stars: Darby Camp , Jack Whitehall , Izaac Wang , John Cleese

Votes: 14,385 | Gross: $48.95M

24. Home Sweet Home Alone (2021)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Crime, Family

A married couple tries to steal back a valuable heirloom from a troublesome kid.

Director: Dan Mazer | Stars: Ellie Kemper , Rob Delaney , Archie Yates , Aisling Bea

Votes: 18,422

25. Encanto (2021)

PG | 102 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

A Colombian teenage girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.

Directors: Jared Bush , Byron Howard , Charise Castro Smith | Stars: Stephanie Beatriz , María Cecilia Botero , John Leguizamo , Mauro Castillo

Votes: 230,516 | Gross: $96.09M

26. A Boy Called Christmas (2021)

PG | 106 min | Adventure, Drama, Family

In this origin story of Father Christmas, an ordinary boy (with a loyal pet mouse and a reindeer at his side) sets out on an extraordinary adventure to find his father who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of Elfhelm.

Director: Gil Kenan | Stars: Maggie Smith , Isabella O'Sullivan , Joel Fry , Eden Lawrence

Votes: 24,262

27. Robin Robin (2021)

G | 32 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

In this stop-motion short film, a bird raised by mice begins to question where she belongs and sets off on a daring journey of self-discovery.

Directors: Daniel Ojari , Michael Please | Stars: Bronte Carmichael , Richard E. Grant , Gillian Anderson , Adeel Akhtar

Votes: 6,342

28. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021)

PG | 58 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

Greg Heffley is an ambitious kid with an active imagination and big plans to be rich and famous. The problem is that he has to survive middle school first.

Directors: Gino Nichele , Swinton O. Scott III | Stars: Cyrus Arnold , Braxton Baker , Erica Cerra , Lossen Chambers

Votes: 3,483

29. David and the Elves (2021)

TV-G | 105 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A jaded, overworked elf runs off to the real world where he tries to experience the magic of Christmas with the help of a newly befriended young boy.

Director: Michal Rogalski | Stars: Cyprian Grabowski , Jakub Zajac , Cezary Zak , Anna Smolowik

30. Sing 2 (2021)

PG | 110 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Buster Moon and his friends must persuade reclusive rock star Clay Calloway to join them for the opening of a new show.

Directors: Garth Jennings , Christophe Lourdelet | Stars: Matthew McConaughey , Reese Witherspoon , Scarlett Johansson , Tori Kelly

Votes: 72,608 | Gross: $162.79M

31. Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania (2022)

PG | 87 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

After one experiment, Johnny turns into a monster and everyone else becomes human. Now it has to be seen whether they will be able to reverse this experiment.

Directors: Derek Drymon , Jennifer Kluska | Stars: Andy Samberg , Selena Gomez , Kathryn Hahn , Jim Gaffigan

Votes: 32,869

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good new kid movies 2021

New Kids Movies

And where to stream them.

New Kids Movies

As the father of three young adults, I remember clearly those days when we’d watch just about any new kids movie that was released. And I also remember feeling like studios took advantage of that desperation for entertainment, filling the latest unoriginal script with enough silly gags that the little ones would giggle as the parents checked the time. I was always so thankful for those rare family films made with the same kind of care that went into the latest arthouse flick.

We’re keeping a running list of the latest movies for children for you to peruse and find something that the whole family might enjoy. We’ve included a synopsis of each.

Here are 20 of the biggest new kids movies from the last few months:


Only in theaters

Adapting Terry Pratchett’s Carnegie-winning Discworld book, The Amazing Maurice is a successfully wry, odd, utterly British spin on the Shrek -like self-aware fairy tale. Stuffed with motormouths and throwaway gags, the chunky animation can be a little off-putting, but its momentary ugliness feeds into its delightfully dark villains, its underdog heroes and the strange story tying them all together. This isn’t pristine, groundbreaking, photoreal CG, but cartoonishness that suits its oddballs—and might even give a kid a stray nightmare or two. As a former kid with a lot of affection for the animated movies that used to freak me out, that’s a compliment. Turning the Pied Piper story on its head, and then flipping it around again so that it’s right-side up but utterly disoriented, The Amazing Maurice asks plenty of its young audience. They’d better be able to keep up with Malicia’s (Emilia Clarke) rapid sledgehammer blows smashing through the fourth wall, because the narrator finds herself wrapped up in her own story; they’d also better be able to parse the nested myths explaining how some of the tale’s animals came to grasp such intelligence. But, because the film has faith in its young viewers, it’s completely achievable. While it cuts some of Pratchett’s most incisive and dark components (like the intelligent rats navigating relationships with regular rats) in favor of cinematic comprehension, it’s still a faithful enough translation to win fans over—and introduce kids to a welcoming literary world that takes the piss out of everything around it. — Jacob Oller


Watch on Netflix

Almost a decade ago, a story captivated the nation. This story follows a dog named Gonker, who went missing on the Appalachian Trail, and his loyal owner, who wouldn’t stop until the two were reunited. The tale of the Little Labrador That Could is endlessly suspenseful and surprising; but above all, it’s inspiring as hell. If you’re looking for an adaptation of this story that latches onto this final point and absolutely nothing else, Dog Gone is the film for you. Netflix’s newest feel-good endeavor centers around Fielding Marshall (Johnny Berchtold), a college student who rescues a yellow lab pup/bonafide goodboy from a shelter in an effort to get over his recent ex dating a ripped frisbee player. But Fielding and Gonker can’t stay in their college campus dream life forever, and eventually it’s time to venture back into reality: Fielding’s parents’ multi-million dollar mansion. While there, Gonker runs off; but never fear! Fielding and his stern (but eventually proud and even touchy-feely!) dad John (Rob Lowe), will stop at nothing to get that doggone dog back from being gone! As you might have gathered by now, Dog Gone is shamelessly sickly-sweet. This exhaustively sanitized, overly saccharine take on the hero’s journey is certainly nothing new, but it remains rather uninteresting. But, despite its over-commitment to the family-friendly angle, Dog Gone is fun enough. It’s hard not to fall in love with a pooch who flips donuts in the air and catches them, so the main quest is bound to pull on your heartstrings—even just a little. These inklings of genuine heart make it that much more disappointing that Dog Gone is so steadfast on sanitizing Gonker’s real story. — Aurora Amidon


After an 11-year cat nap, our favorite orange outlaw is back for another flamenco adventure. Told with a bold and contemporary visual style, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish celebrates the magic of classic folklore with the reverential irreverence we’ve come to love about this storybookland. What could have easily been a hairball of half-digested nostalgia is transformed into a mature and cat-ivating story that positively purrs. When we last left our fearless feline, Puss (Antonio Banderas) was still running across terracotta rooftops. But now it seems all nine of his lives have finally caught up with him. Down to his last life and suddenly aware of his mortality, his only hope of getting his lives back is to wish upon the magic star lodged in the heart of The Dark Forest. His journey crosses paths with his old flame, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), and Puss even gets his own chatty sidekick/service animal (Harvey Guillén), just like his old pal Shrek. To find the magic star and make a wish, they’ll need to conquer new foes: Goldi (Florence Pugh), The Three Bears (Olivia Colman, Ray Winstone, Samson Kayo) and Little Jack Horner (John Mulaney). Together they’ll prove there’s no more wondrous magic than Team Friendship. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish excels where The Swampverse has always succeeded: Indexing classic folklore. Like Jack Horner’s collection of magic artifacts being pulled from a bottomless bag, Fisher and Swerdlow provide an unending stream of references to stories, tales, songs and lullabies that we don’t share anymore. No other films today celebrate Mother Goose lullabies, idioms, Dancehall music and literary fairy tales the same way The Last Wish does, let alone takes the time to remind us of the difference between these cultural genres. — B.L. Panther


Avatar: The Way of Water is a promise—like the titular Way as described by a beatific, finned Na’vi fish-people princess, the film connects all things: the past and the future; cinema as a generational ideal and one film’s world-uniting box office reality; James Cameron’s megalomania and his justification for Being Like That; one audience member and another audience member on the other side of the world; one archetypal cliché and another archetypal cliché; dreams and waking life. Avatar ’s sequel can be nothing less than a delivery on everything Cameron has said, hyperbolic or not, he would deliver. What’s less clear is exactly what Cameron’s intending to deliver. The Way of Water ’s story is a bare bones lesson in appealing to as many worldwide markets as possible, the continuation of the adventures of Bostonian Jake Sully (Sam Worthington, who’s spent the past decade trying not to sound like an outback chimney sweep) as he raises a Na’vi family with like-warrior-minded Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña, screaming from inside her golden prison) and realizes that Earthlings aren’t going to stop colonizing Pandora just because they had their shit kicked in a lifetime ago. The Way of Water ’s true achievement is that it looks like nothing else but the first Avatar , unparalleled in detail and scale, a devouring enterprise all to itself. Watching The Way of Water can at times feel astonishing, as if the brain gapes at the sheer amount of physical data present in every frame, incapable of consuming it, but longing to keep up. We believe that this film will redefine box office success because Cameron presents it—making the absolute most of high frame rates, 3-D, and IMAX, normalizing their use, acclimating our brains in ways Ang Lee could only wish—as the next evolutionary step in modern blockbuster filmmaking. This is immersion for its own sake, moviegoing as experience vaunted to the next level, breathtaking in its completely unironic scope. After so many hours in Pandora, untroubled by complicated plot or esoteric myths, caring for this world comes easy. As do the tears. The body reacts as the brain flails. Avatar has consumed James Cameron; it is his everything now, the vehicle for every story he wants to tell, and every story anyone may want to tell—the all-consuming world he’s created is such a lushly resourced aesthetic wonder that anything can be mapped onto its ever-expanding ecosystems. Pandora is a toolbox and ready-made symbol. No film will ever be this beautiful in my lifetime, at least until the next Avatar .— Dom Sinacola


Many of Roald Dahl’s fantastical stories include adults being exceptionally malicious to children, and that’s certainly the case in Matilda the Musical . Matilda Wormwood’s (Alisha Weir) parents never wanted her, are casually cruel and neglect her to the point they forget to send her to school. Once at school, called Crunchem Hall where a statue with the words “No Sniveling” greets students and headmistress Miss Trunchbull (Emma Thompson) delights in torturing children. The school motto is “Children are Maggots.” Nice, right? Orphaned children singing about their troubles while unifying their peers is a musical staple (see: Annie ). But Matilda is a decidedly stranger, darker show. Matilda has a vivid imagination and magical powers. When she’s not standing up to Miss Trunchbull or dealing with her garish parents, she tells extraordinary, disturbing stories about an Escapologist (Carl Spencer) and an Acrobat (Lauren Alexandra) to kind traveling librarian Mrs. Phelps (Sindhu Vee). But none of that really matters, because Matilda the Musical , an adaptation of the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical, is so good. Just give yourself over the utter weirdness. Weir is fantastic, bringing a plucky spunk and some fantastic vocals to the lead, while Thompson leaves all (and I do mean all ) vanity behind as the horrific Trunchbull. Lashana Lynch is goodness personified as Matilda’s loving teacher Miss Honey; Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough are tawdry comic relief as Matilda’s awful parents. And wow, those musical numbers. With original music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, the songs and the accompanying choreography, by Ellen Kane, are full of energy and deliciously executed dance moves. The cast of children, many of whom in their film debut, are terrific. And the message of Matilda the Musical is a good one. Children should be listened to. They know and understand more than you think, and today’s children are tomorrow’s adults. Even though they’re little, they can do a lot. Matilda the Musical is a movie for the entire family that will leave you singing and dancing. A movie musical this good is a miracle—you can tell Matilda’s parents I said so. — Amy Amatangelo


Guillermo del Toro has never shied away from infusing the harsh realities of life and death into the journeys of his young protagonists. His fascination with the intersections of childhood innocence and macabre whimsy are what make him the ideal co-director of Netflix’s newest Pinocchio adaptation, a work that marvelously marries the filmmaker’s flair for dark fantasy with the equally strange fairy tale elements of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 The Adventures of Pinocchio . Like all successful marriages, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio brings out the very best of both parties. The stop-motion musical is an artistic triumph that colors Collodi’s cherished storybook characters with humanity and depth to craft a mature tale about rebellion, mortality and the love between a parent and child. This rendition marks the 22nd film adaptation of the Italian novel, and while it remains true to the grisly nature of Collodi’s original stories, it boldly departs from its dated moral lessons. In The Adventures of Pinocchio (and notable renditions thereafter), Pinnochio’s many escapades are structured as cause-and-effect narratives that serve to caution children against defiant behavior. In Disney’s 1940 animated feature, an evening of fun and relaxation on “Pleasure Island’’ nearly turns the wooden boy into a salt-mining donkey. In the original serial La Storia di un Burattino , delinquent behavior leads him to a gruesome death. These values of compliance and servility are reversed by del Toro’s fascist setting. In his Pinocchio , disobedience is a virtue—not a crime. These moral examinations are given a sense of urgency in death—a theme that informs so much of the film’s mind and soul. Where previous adaptations are preoccupied with life—with the puppet’s extraordinary consciousness and the hope that he may someday become a “real boy”— del Toro’s Pinocchio is interested in what our mortality can teach us about being human. In the film, death is never too far away from the protagonist or his loved ones. Death touches Carlo, then remains close to Pinocchio throughout his epic journey. The beauty of del Toro’s Pinocchio is that death isn’t treated with the usual dread and cynicism we typically see in the Western world. Here, death is mysterious, ethereal, soaked in gorgeous blue light. Death is not something to be feared, but respected and accepted when the time comes, because the notion that we will someday—maybe unexpectedly—leave this earth is what makes our time here so beautiful. I don’t typically advise listening to crickets, but believe Sebastian J., because the story of Pinocchio has never been told quite like this.— Kathy Michelle Chacón


Watch on Disney+

The Night at the Museum franchise gets its first animated entry, a follow-up to 2014’s Secret of the Tomb . Joshua Bassett is the third actor to portray Nick Daley, the son of Ben Stiller’s security guard Larry Daley (this time voiced by Zachary Levi). Nick is now a high-schooler working the night shift as his summer job. It’s up to him—and pals like Teddy Roosevelt (Thomas Lennon), Sacagewea (Kieran Sequoia) and the dinosaur skeleton Rexy—to stop the ancient Egyptian Kamunrah from freeing an entire army of the dead.


It’s hard to believe, but this is the sixth film adapted from Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid children’s books—and the second adaptation of Rodrick Rules after a 2011 live-action version. The latest serves as a follow-up to 2021’s first animated film in the series with most of the voice actors returning. Ed Asner voiced Grandpa Heffley in one of his final performances before his death in 2021. The “rules” in Rodrick Rules pertain to Gregg’s older brother Rodrick’s tricks for accomplishing things with minimal effort.


Strange World , Disney’s sole original animated feature of 2022, combines facets of Pixar’s pair of the year’s releases to a lesser effect. Looking both backwards to Lightyear ’s loving homage to pulp fiction and forwards to Turning Red ’s progressive and wholesome examination of specific family dynamics, Strange World is late to its own company’s trends. It wears its more talented siblings’ emotional honesty and retro homages like hand-me-downs. Like many of the flashy adventure stories it mimics, Strange World can be arresting—especially with its inventive setting and bulbous creatures—and its attempts at deconstructing the sweaty, macho-man ethos hawked by its inspiration are admirable. But with muddled themes and slight characters, remnants of the old dime magazines coordinate to bring Strange World down on the wrong side of familiar. Strange World ’s embrace and rejection of both tradition and modernity can be confounding, despite the undeniable beauty it finds along the way. Like the wild, untamed, interconnected world lying underneath humanity’s Avalonia, there’s a complexity worth tangling with lurking beneath Strange World ’s tired family conflict. But its desire to have its world and strange it too is irreconcilable with its top priority: Be a Disney movie. Sadly, the resulting confusion, of commentary stifled by corporate need and tradition, isn’t that strange at all. — Jacob Oller


Unlike the first act of Enchanted , the sequel Disenchanted is light on the satire of fairy tale tropes, and heavy on the fairy tale rules and aesthetics. There’s still plenty of charm to go around, and it’s ultimately a fun experience, but it undeniably avoids the original movie’s strongest aspects in favor of sincerity. Fifteen years after the events of Enchanted , in which Giselle left behind the magical land of Andalasia for a life in New York with Robert, their family has a new baby, Sofia, in addition to Robert’s now-teenage daughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino). The family’s New York condo suddenly feels too small to contain their growing needs. Giselle convinces Robert to move to the quaint suburb of Monroeville, where everyone struggles to adjust to their new lives. Giselle clashes with the town’s queen bee Malvina (Maya Rudolph), while Morgan increasingly feels like she has no place in her family. Giselle’s Andalasian ex-beau Edward (James Marsden) and Nancy (Idina Menzel), Edward’s queen and Robert’s ex, come to visit Giselle and Robert’s new home bearing a gift for Sofia: A magic wand that will grant her every wish. After an argument with Morgan, Giselle and her chipmunk pal Pip (voiced by Griffin Newman) use the wand to try and bring some fairy tale magic to Monroeville, unwittingly causing catastrophic consequences for their world and Andalasia that must be undone before the clock strikes midnight. There’s a telltale corporate scent here, as if Disenchanted was created by studio executives who didn’t understand what made the original movie a winning formula. If you’re willing to overlook that and enjoy a goofy bit of treacle, you’ll still have a nice time. Just don’t expect brilliance. — Abby Olcese .


Declaring what our dreams look like, if such a sweeping declaration can be made, is asking for trouble, but I can certainly put forth what I hope our dreams don’t look like: I hope they don’t look a thing like Slumberland . Director Francis Lawrence deadens and dulls Winsor McCay’s classic comic Nemo in Slumberland , updating McCay’s bright and groundbreaking early 20th century absurdity to modern VFX’s best-practice aesthetic—namely, “dark, and in a big room.” Slumberland ’s loose adaptation is Disneyfied in plot and theme, and self-smothering of a feeble imagination that barely outpaces its images. Slumberland ’s Nemo (Marlow Barkley) lives an idyllic life running a lighthouse with her hot, bearded and cableknit widower dad Kyle Chandler. In the same kind of endearing yet inevitably tragic opening that comes pre-packaged into every children’s movie, Chandler’s perfect parental character is not long for this world. When he dies and Nemo is thrust into the care of her uptight urbanite uncle Philip (Chris O’Dowd), she finds herself escaping time and time again into the dream world, where she can briefly pursue her father alongside a dream-being who was the co-star of many of her father’s bedtime stories. This dream-being, Flip (Jason Momoa), is supposed to be the source of all the film’s energy. Momoa, who looks like Rob Zombie in a Willy Wonka costume, all but has this assignment written on his forehead. He’s growly and eccentric, with plenty of useless wibbly-wobbly Jack Sparrow tics, and has a little trouble talking through his Beauty and the Beast fangs. While Barkley is clearly out of her depth as our wide-eyed heroine, Momoa is equally ill-equipped to bring the Jack Black-like pop his karate moves, heel clicks and heroic poses try to generate. — Jacob Oller

12. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Release Date: November 11, 2022 Director: Ryan Coogler Stars: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett Rating: PG-13

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever boasts the same director in Ryan Coogler (and the same writing team of Coogler and Joe Robert Cole), who have again created a story whose conflicts and character arcs go deeper than the average MCU fare. Of equal importance, Wakanda Forever again features the Oscar-winning talents of Hannah Beachler (production design) and Ruth E. Carter (costume design). Wakanda remains a vividly realized Afrofuturist cityscape (even in mourning), and the MCU’s newest kingdom, Talokan, though markedly less flashy than James Wan’s Atlantis in Aquaman , feels as real and wondrous as a fictitious Aztec/Mayan underwater realm should. The cast is mostly the same, with Michael B. Jordan’s scene-stealing antagonist Erik Killmonger replaced by Tenoch Huerta’s similarly compelling and cleverly reimagined anti-hero Namor (who is much more integral to Marvel Comics—and likely the MCU—than Killmonger). But how keen the loss contained in that word—“mostly.” Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa was a magical piece of casting alchemy on par with Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers. Coogler confronts the loss directly in Wakanda Forever in a beautiful opening tribute to both actor and character. T’Challa’s funeral is a reminder of just how strong the cast is overall, providing Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira some grief-themed scene-chewing of their own. Where Thor: Love and Thunder felt like a lighter, sloppier version of its predecessor, Wakanda Forever feels like a well-considered, necessary next step for a franchise rocked by loss. It’s a tad overstuffed—an entire sub-plot involving Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) feels more like Feige fiat to ensure certain characters and developments are sufficiently presaged—but that only serves as a reminder of the fine line between “laying groundwork” and overpacking. Despite the daunting challenge faced by Coogler and his team, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever feels like the surest step taken in the MCU since Thanos was reduced to ash. It’s both an impressive achievement and a promising development, especially when considers the strong comic book connections between Namor, mutants (he is one), and a certain fantastic foursome on the MCU horizon.— Michael Burgin

13. My Father’s Dragon Release Date: November 11, 2022 Director: Nora Twomey Stars: Jacob Tremblay, Gaten Matarazzo, Golshifteh Farahani, Dianne Wiest, Rita Moreno Genre: Animation, Fantasy Rating: PG-13

My Father’s Dragon , the latest film from Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon, is directed by studio co-founder Nora Twomey and based on the beloved children’s book of the same name created by Ruth Stiles Gannett. This adaptation brings to life, in gorgeous 2D animation, a kaleidoscope of surreal visuals and strange creatures encountered by a little boy and his dragon friend. Theirs is an intimate story about processing fear, especially speaking to those children wrestling with the burdens of having to emotionally navigate real-world stresses that invade their lives too soon. Like Gannett’s book, My Father’s Dragon is also narrated (sparsely) by the unseen grown child (Mary Kay Place) of the story’s protagonist, Elmer Elevator (Jacob Tremblay). She sets up an adventure Elmer had in his childhood that not only utilized his talent for finding things, but was also life-changing, involving a talking cat (Whoopi Goldberg) and a dragon (Gaten Matarazzo). Twomey and her artists have done the magic of staying within the illustration aesthetic of their studio’s signature approach, while expanding that into a more surrealistic and fanciful approach that feels individual and unique. It will especially appeal to the sensitive kids (and adults) in your life, and it most definitely meets the high standards Cartoon Saloon continues to make in the medium. — Tara Bennett


With its latest movie One Piece Film: Red in theaters, it might seem like a fine time to become acquainted with what Oda has been building for over 25 years. The story of Monkey D Luffy and his misfit Straw Hat Crew’s attempts to find the fabled One Piece treasure blends magnificent emotional poignancy with escalating adventures in a way that’s honestly awe-inspiring. One might expect this kind of story to become exhaustingly cyclical, as many of its ilk have: Heroes get stronger, while new, more powerful villains appear in revolving door fashion. But One Piece has, for the most part, managed to stay vibrant, and the sense of discovery that leads people to first engage with the series remains just as potent as it did in 1997. — Daniel Dockery

15. Wendell & Wild Release Date: October 28, 2022 Director: Henry Selick Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Angela Bassett, Lyric Ross, Ving Rhames Genre: Animation, Comedy Rating: PG-13

Early on, Wendell & Wild feels like it might not be for kids so much as inebriated adults. Over the course of its runtime, that is revealed to be a reductive appraisal—it’s a spooky coming-of-age comedy made of sad and dramatic moments which demonstrate the importance of community resistance to corporate control of the government. The plot has enough going on that it could have been a TV series or a two-parter, but for whatever its flaws or limitations, it flows coherently for 106 minutes to a satisfactory conclusion. All the while, it’s a marvel of artistry and artisanship, with a soundtrack full of Black-fronted rock bands to boot. Kat (Lyric Ross), a young green-haired Black girl, loses her parents—pillars of their community—in a car accident and is roughed up over the years by the juvenile justice system as the film visually summarizes through shadow-puppet illustrations of memories. It’s a nice added layer, artistically and didactically. A grant-funded reintegration program brings Kat back to her now largely-deserted hometown, Rust Bank, and its eponymous private Catholic school. There, Kat discovers her supernatural connection to the underworld through Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Jordan Peele). Wendell & Wild reminded me of Beetlejuice and Nightmare Before Christmas , but it isn’t cribbing from what has come before. It’s building on it, and kids and parents everywhere are lucky to have this film. Selick hasn’t directed a lot of movies, but his films have a lasting impact, etching themselves in the memories of their audiences for decades. — Kevin Fox, Jr.

16. Enola Holmes 2 Release Date: October 27, 2022 Director: Harry Bradbeer Stars: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, David Thewlis, Louis Partridge, Helena Bonham Carter, Susie Wokoma, Adeel Akhtar, Sharon Duncan-Brewster Genre: Thriller, Adventure Rating: PG-13

Millie Bobby Brown returns as the kid sister of Sherlock Holmes in this sequel to 2020’s Netflix original. This time, she’s a full-fledged private detective trying to solve the mystery of a missing girl.

17. The School of Good and Evil Netflix Release Date: October 19, 2022 Director: Paul Feig Stars: Sofia Wylie, Sophia Anne Caruso, Kit Young, Kerry Washington, Charlize Theron Genre: Teen Fantasy Rating: PG-13

Warner Bros. has Harry Potter . Lionsgate has The Hunger Games . Now, Netflix (regrettably) has The School for Good and Evil . Though the streamer has seen enormous success in adapting Young Adult fiction in recent years, its latest venture into the teen fantasy market is an agonizing two-and-a-half-hour experience drawn out by lackluster VFX and familiar narrative elements. Based on the bestselling children’s book series by Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil tells the story of two unlikely companions: Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie). When the duo find themselves clutched between the claws of a giant bird-like creature, they are transported from their quiet town of Gavaldon to the enchanted School for Good and Evil, an institution that has educated legendary storybook characters for ages. Trouble ensues when Sophie is dropped off at the School for Evil and Agatha at the School for Good, a decision the girls are certain is a mistake. As the film progresses, and Sophie becomes influenced by an evil force, the best friends are placed on opposite sides of a magical battle. The School for Good and Evil is juvenile, over-the-top and campy in all the worst ways. It’s too busy trying to combine TikTok fashion with Top 40 music and popular children’s fantasy films to create any visual, musical or narrative distinction for itself. Its final scene teases a sequel, but it’s difficult to imagine The School for Good and Evil becoming even half as bewitching or influential as the YA series it’s trying so hard to be. — Kathy Michelle Chacón

18. Lyle, Lyle Crocodile Release Date: October 7, 2022 Directors: Will Speck, Josh Gordon Starring: Shawn Mendes, Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Winslow Fegley, Scoot McNairy, Brett Gelman Rating: PG

If you’re going to steal, steal from the best. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile desperately wants to be the American incarnation of Paul King’s Paddington movies, considered by many fans of family-friendly films to be the cream of the contemporary crop. Lyle wants this so badly that it turns most of the elements of King’s films into a checklist: Adorable animal protagonist, family with a creative mom and stuffy-but-sweet dad, a hateful neighbor, wrongful imprisonment. It even mimics the warm bohemian colors and vintage clutter of King’s films. Some of the charm is there, too. However, in their quest to follow Paddington ’s lead, directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck miss the secret sauce of King’s movies: Not only are they sweet and touching, they’re also great examples of economical storytelling. Lyle , by contrast, skips substance for flash and replaces actual communication and growth with musical numbers that don’t fill that void. At the beginning of the film, Lyle—a singing crocodile whose dulcet tones are voiced by Shawn Mendes—is discovered in the back of a pet shop by struggling performer Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem). Hector takes Lyle home in the hopes of creating a double-act. Lyle can only verbally communicate through song, but his stage fright prevents the act from taking off. Hector goes on the road to make some quick cash, abandoning Lyle. Eighteen months later, the Primm family—teacher Mr. Primm (Scoot McNairy), cookbook author Mrs. Primm (Constance Wu) and their nervous pre-teen son Josh (Winslow Fegley) move into Hector’s old house. The Primms inherit both Lyle, whom Josh immediately takes to, and persnickety downstairs neighbor Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman). Lyle eventually wins the whole Primm family over, but his future with them gets complicated when Hector comes back into their lives. Lyle is lovingly animated and expressive, making him easy to like. However, the character is stymied by his ability to sing, but not talk. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile knows what kind of movie it wants to be, but unfortunately the folks behind the camera don’t know how to make that happen. In true American fashion, Gordon, Speck and screenwriter Will Davies get caught up in unnecessary gimmickry that nearly undermines the movie’s natural charm. — Abby Olcese

19. Hocus Pocus 2 Release Date: September 30, 2022 Director: Anne Fletcher Stars: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Sam Richardson, Doug Jones, Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo Rating: PG

The good news is if you liked Hocus Pocus , you will definitely like Hocus Pocus 2 …because it’s basically the exact same movie except with cell phones, better special effects and a cameo from Hannah Waddingham. Imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery. The bad news is…it’s the exact same movie. Hocus Pocus 2 gets a jolt of energy when the Sanderson sisters finally arrive about a half-hour into the film. Midler, Parker and Najimy are clearly having so much fun it’s hard to not go along with their hijinks a little bit. All the beats of the first movie are there, including a big Halloween party where the sisters perform. “I bet you’re looking for the stage,” one resident asks. “Always,” replies Winifred. Parker is hilarious as the daft younger sister. “I delighted in luring,” she laments. “‘Twas my only job.” (And suffice to say by default, this is a much better sequel than Parker’s And Just Like That… ) — Amy Amatangelo

20. The Munsters Release Date: September 27, 2022 Director: Rob Zombie Stars: Jeff Daniel Phillips, Sheri Moon Zombie, Daniel Roebuck Genre: Comedy Rating: PG

Rob Zombie’s newest feature is his Netflix adaptation of the The Munsters , a family-friendly American sitcom from the 1960s about the goofy, supernatural Transylvanian clan who struggle to fit in among the suburbia of their neighborhood on Mockingbird Lane. If you’re well-acquainted with Zombie, it’s as if his career has been leading up to this. The Munsters has been a direct source of inspiration for Zombie since childhood. The narrative is an origin story, Zombie’s vision from the start, not assuming the audience is entirely caught up on the series. It follows the hijinks-laden creation of Herman Munster by mad scientist Dr. Henry Augustus Wolfgang (Richard Brake), whose doltish assistant Floop (Jorge Garcia) accidentally implants the brain of a flop comedian instead of a genius. Herman’s inception comes at just the right time, as poor Lily is desperate for love but perpetually disappointed by the Transylvanian dating scene. Goofy Herman is Lily’s dream man, and the two meet, fall in love and get married. This is much to the chagrin of The Count (Grandpa Munster, pre-Grandpa), who disapproves of the dimwitted Herman. It’s Herman’s density that puts the family in financial peril, as a scheme concocted by The Count’s vengeful ex-wife, Zoya (Catherine Schell)—in alliance with The Count’s estranged, werewolf son, Lester (Tomas Boykin)—ends up forcing the Munsters to start a new life in sunny California. Zombie’s Munsters film turns out to be the only kind that he could have directed: An extremely earnest, incredibly cheesy adaptation that stays true to the show while being suitably inventive. He creates an off-beat origin story for the Munster family that is neither superfluous nor redundant and always utterly gorgeous, putting the consistently dull, muted color palettes of modern films (chiefly and ironically, Netflix fare) to shame. — Brianna Zigler

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Best Family Movies of 2021, Ranked

From Yes Day to The Mitchells vs. the Machines, here's a look back at the best films of 2021 to enjoy with the entire family.

The worldwide impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was massive when it first appeared in 2020, striking the lives of billions of people and disrupting nearly every industry. The entertainment industry and its performers, in particular according to Forbes , suffered a severe blow, as, among other things, performances in cinemas, theaters and stadiums around the world were completely cut off. Moreover, many film and television projects that were already in development had to be delayed for an indefinite period of time, and some were even canceled for good.

For these and many other reasons, 2021 was a great year for the film industry: movie theaters reopened, and millions of people around the world got to experience once again the thrill of watching a silver screen premiere with a big bucket of popcorn on their laps. Additionally, a new way of enjoying premieres gained popularity: watching them from the comfort of one's own home via streaming platforms. A large number of the movies that were released last year were aimed specifically at younger audiences . However, it is becoming increasingly common for children's movies to be intended not only for kids, but for the entire family to enjoy , and 2021 featured many great movies of this kind showcasing diverse themes, ranging from dysfunctional family dynamics to warrior princesses and animals with strong singing talents. This article will review some of the best family movies of 2021.

9 Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the perfect choice for the entire family, as this film is part of a franchise that has spanned generations. Headlining the cast are Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, and Paul Rudd, with guest appearances by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver (reprising their characters from previous films). Interestingly, Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two films, stepped into the role of lead producer, passing the director's chair to his son, Jason Reitman. This time around, a family moves into a peaceful town that is suddenly affected by mysterious earthquakes. They soon discover their grandfather's secret legacy and, together with the help of a seismologist, must face unexpected forces.

Related: 9 Great Family-Friendly Horror Movies

If your parents could only say yes to any and all requests, what would you ask them for? Allison (Jennifer Garner) and Carlos Torres (Edgar Ramirez) discovered that, over time, they became too strict with their lives, and especially with their children, who are constantly denied all their requests. Therefore, to subvert the family dynamics, Allison suggests establishing one Yes Day a year, a day during which they must accept their children's requests no matter what, leading the family to experience the most unimaginable adventures. This movie was a project conceived by Garner exclusively for her kids, per People , as it is an adaptation of their favorite book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.

In the last few years, Disney has worked on a great number of live-action adaptations of its classic films. In 2021, in particular, they decided to go one step further, and center one of their productions around one of their most famous villains: Cruella De Vil, from The 101 Dalmatians . In the live-action film Cruella , the audience is introduced to this glamorous fashion designer's origins and the story of how she turned into a villain, proving that nothing is what it seems. Emma Stone stars in the title role, alongside a stellar cast including Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser, Emily Beecham, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Mark Strong.

6 Finding 'Ohana

Finding 'Ohana is a Netflix film that marked the directorial debut of Jude Weng, and it stars Kea Peahu, Alex Aiono, Lindsay Watson, Owen Vaccaro, and Kelly Hu. The film revolves around siblings Pili and Ioane, who must move back to their native Oahu with their mother so that she can help her father with health and financial issues. The siblings, who are initially hesitant to relocate indefinitely, quickly make friends on the island, and eventually discover an old diary of their grandfather's containing a clue to the location of a pirate treasure. Guided by this trail, they all embark on an adventure that not only changes their lives, but also reconnects them to their Hawaiian roots.

Sing 's sequel was one of the movies delayed due to the consequences of the pandemic, which is why fans were so excited when it finally came out in 2021. Sing 2 features all the characters from the first film, who are now stars in their hometown. Now, Buster Moon wants to take it a step further, and he takes his theater troupe to audition in the entertainment capital. He manages to convince the industry mogul to put on a show like no other. But things don't turn out the way he hopes: if Moon fails to secure the appearance of a retired hit musician, the show gets canceled.

Related: Sing 2: Best Songs in the Movie, Ranked

4 Raya and the Last Dragon

Sticking with Disney's latest princess films, Raya and the Last Dragon strengthens the idea of having strong women characters who are the leaders of their own story. This was another film delayed by the impact of the pandemic and, at the time of its release, was available in theaters and on Disney+ as a rental at the same time. Raya is a warrior princess from Kumandra Kingdom, a place where peace used to reign, but has been haunted by evil spirits known as The Druun for years. That is why Raya sets out on a quest to find the last dragon in the land, hoping to obtain the gem that would restore balance to her land.

Luca marked the feature directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa, and it focuses on the value of friendship and the pain of feeling different from others. The film follows Luca, a sea monster who lives with his family underwater, near a small town on the Italian coast. He is a very curious boy who wishes to explore the surface, but his family strongly discourages him from doing so, as the villagers of Portorosso hunt sea monsters. But one day, when Luca emerges to the surface, he discovers that, out of the water, he acquires a human appearance, and he meets Alberto, a boy who is just like him. The group is joined by Giulia, and soon they embark on an adventure together. However, they need to be very careful: if Luca and Alberto's secret is revealed, they will both face serious danger.

In 2021, Encanto became the 60th film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Set in Colombia, the movie follows the Madrigal family, blessed many years ago with the Encanto, a magical realm, bordered by high mountains. They all live there under the command of their grandmother, Alma Madrigal, and eventually, each family member is given a special gift that helps the community. The only member that did not receive a gift was Mirabel, the main character. But when the darkness strikes the Encanto, and the Madrigal family is close to losing their gifts, Mirabel sets out on a mission to uncover the truth behind what is happening in order to save her family and her people.

1 The Mitchells vs. the Machines

The top spot on this list goes undoubtedly to this Netflix animated production, well received by critics and audiences alike, and even earning a nomination for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. The Mitchells vs. the Machines introduces a rather atypical, yet very loving family, formed by Rick, Linda and their children Katie and Aaron. Katie is an aspiring filmmaker who got accepted to a film school in California. But just before her trip, her father breaks her computer during a fight, shattering their relationship. In order to redeem himself, he decides to cancel Katie's flight and drive her across the country with the whole family, seizing on the experience to strengthen their bond. However, an unexpected technological awakening threatens to destroy humanity, so the Mitchells must do whatever it takes to fix their issues, save the world, and simultaneously get Katie to California in time for her first class.

The 15 Best Family Movies Of 2021

Raya searches for The Last Dragon

2021 had its fair share of great film releases . From sweeping genre epics like "Dune" and "The Green Knight" to the delightfully absurd comedy of "Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar," there have been plenty of fun flicks to choose from. But as the weather gets colder, the days grow shorter, and the holiday season begins swirling around us like a blizzard of twinkling lights, it's time to cozy up on the couch with something the whole family can enjoy. It's been a tough couple of years. We all could use a little comfort.

Luckily, 2021 had plenty of fantastic family movies, too. There were spooky Halloween tales packed with kid-friendly scares, grand adventures filled with magic and monsters, and musicals that put a swing in your step and a song in your heart. For those of us spending time with children, or those of us who are simply young at heart, here are the 15 best family movies of 2021.

15. Cruella

Continuing its quest to rehabilitate its most iconic villains by giving them complicated origin stories, Disney follows up "Maleficent" with "Cruella," a film about the fur-obsessed fashionista Cruella de Vil. Once known only as the antagonist of "101 Dalmatians," this movie gives Cruella the chance to tell her side of the tale. 

The film centers on Ella, an aspiring fashion designer driven to desperate measures by a cruel, conniving rival, played by the fabulous Emma Thompson. As Ella develops her craft and works to get revenge, she taps more and more into her glamorous and wicked alter ego, Cruella. Getting an audience to sympathize with a character like Cruella de Vil is no easy task, but Emma Stone is clearly having a blast in the role, and every scene between her and Thompson is magnetic. Add in some heists, gorgeous clothes, and the backdrop of 1970s London, and "Cruella" ends up being a surprising bit of campy fun. And don't worry — no Dalmatians were harmed in the making of this movie.

14. Flora & Ulysses

A dog might be man's best friend, but a little girl's best friend is an ultra-smart squirrel who has superpowers. "Flora & Ulysses," based on the Kate DiCamillo children's novel of the same name, is about an unlikely friendship between Flora, a cynical 10-year-old comic book enthusiast, and Ulysses, a squirrel she rescues from a vacuum cleaner. Not only can Ulysses communicate by typing on a typewriter, which is already pretty impressive for a pint-size rodent, but he also has superhuman strength and the power of flight. 

Flora's chance encounter with Ulysses begins a journey that helps her find a new perspective on life, reunites her troubled family, and brings joy and whimsy to the world around her. Of course, there are obstacles too, mainly in the form of an animal control officer with a grudge against squirrels, played by Danny Pudi of "Community" and "DuckTales" fame, and a series of wild misunderstandings. With lovable characters, goofy humor, and an optimistic message, this Disney+ feature is a sweet story about finding heroes in the most unlikely places.

13. Finding 'Ohana

When the trailer for Netflix's "Finding 'Ohana" dropped, its band of young and scrappy kids spelunking through caves in search of treasure invited comparisons to the '80s classic "The Goonies," but the film is more than a simple knock-off. The story follows New York City-raised siblings Pili and Ioane as they relocate to Oahu to help their ailing grandfather. There, geocaching enthusiast Pili finds a journal that kickstarts a quest to uncover a long-lost pirate hoard. 

Pili teams up with her brother and two local kids, Hana and Casper, for an adventure that takes them across Hawaii's stunning landscapes and through a series of dangerous challenges. "Finding 'Ohana" makes great use of its location, showcasing Hawaii's natural beauty, which lends a grand, fantastical quality to the group's quest. As the ragtag crew works together and becomes closer, Pili and Ioane also embrace their Hawaiian heritage, developing a new appreciation for the place they came from and what "ohana," or family, truly means.

2021 has been a big year for movie musicals , from the lows of "Dear Evan Hansen" to the highs of "West Side Story." As such, it should be no surprise that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mastermind behind "Hamilton" and songwriter for "Moana," is heavily involved in a number of them. In addition to directing "Tick, Tick... BOOM!" and seeing his Broadway hit "In the Heights" brought to the big screen, Lin-Manuel Miranda also contributed the music (and a lead voice performance) to Sony Pictures Animation's "Vivo." 

"Vivo" is the tale of a music-loving kinkajou who leaves his home in Cuba to deliver a song to his former owner's long-lost friend Marta. Vivo stows away on a trip to Florida and teams up with a young girl named Gabi on his quest to make sure Marta finally hears the tune. "Vivo" boasts a star-studded voice cast that includes Zoe Saldana, Juan de Marcos Gonzalez, and beloved Cuban songstress Gloria Estefan. It's a vivid, engaging, and sometimes bittersweet story about love, music, and finding your way back to joy after loss.

11. Muppets Haunted Mansion

"Muppets Haunted Mansion" isn't a feature film, but rather a 50-minute Halloween special made for Disney+. However, it's just too much spooky fun to leave off of this list. Not only is the "Muppets Haunted Mansion" delightful, but it's also a historic event — it's the first-ever Muppets Halloween special!

Instead of participating in the Muppets' yearly Halloween party, Gonzo and Pepe decide to put their courage to the test and spend the night in the haunted mansion where Gonzo's favorite magician disappeared 100 years ago. There, they encounter a series of wacky characters, including a hearse driver (Yvette Nicole Brown), the mansion's caretaker (Darren Criss), and the ghostly Host (Will Arnett). It's not all fun and games, though. Gonzo and Pepe must remain brave and survive the night, or they will be trapped inside of the mansion forever. 

Though the mansion is filled with spooks and ghouls, this special is more silly than scary and is appropriate for all ages. Kids will enjoy the Muppets and the music, and adult Disney fans will get a kick out of the hidden references to "The Muppet Show" and the Disney parks' Haunted Mansion ride.

10. Arlo the Alligator Boy

2D animated films are few and far between in the age of CGI, but the medium isn't the only thing that sets Netflix's "Arlo the Alligator Boy" apart from the other animated features that came out this year. The film is Ryan Crego's directorial debut, as well as the first acting roles for both of its leads, Michael J. Woodard and Mary Lambert. 

The movie is a heartfelt modern fairytale about a half-human, half-alligator boy named Arlo who leaves his swampy home to seek out his biological father in a new and unfamiliar place: New York City. The story may be similar to other fish-out-of-water tales, but "Arlo the Alligator Boy" sets itself apart with its quirky art style, catchy songs, and a whole lot of folksy charm. If you just can't get enough of Arlo and friends, good news! Netflix is continuing the story of the intrepid alligator boy in the form of an upcoming TV series .

9. Nightbooks

Some kids want their Halloween treats to come with more frights and fewer puppets. For these burgeoning horror fans, Netflix's "Nightbooks" might just satisfy their craving for all things creepy. Produced by genre icon and fan-favorite director Sam Raimi , this stylish dark fantasy film is all about scary stories. 

Based on a children's book of the same name, "Nightbooks" follows a young boy named Alex who loves nothing more than writing horror stories. After his disapproving parents convince Alex to stop his creative endeavors, he is captured by a witch named Natacha (Krysten Ritter), who demands that he write her a new story every night if he wants to stay alive. 

Alex bonds with another child in the witch's captivity, a girl named Yazmin, who helps rekindle his love of writing. Together, the two forge a friendship and a plan to escape Natacha's clutches. "Nightbooks" is a love letter to all the kids (and adults) with a penchant for the dark and spooky things in life.

8. Raya and the Last Dragon

Years ago, the beautiful land of Kumandra was attacked by the Druun, evil spirits capable of turning humans and dragons into stone. Though the humans survived, thanks to a dragon who concentrated her magic into a powerful gem, the country fractures into rival tribes. This is the setting for Disney's "Raya and the Last Dragon." 

Kelly Marie Tran stars in this magical adventure about a warrior princess who searches for the legendary last dragon so that she can save her family and her nation. The princess, Raya, hopes that the dragon will create another gem to drive away the returning Druun and finally reunite her people. 

But locating the dragon is only the beginning. Once they meet, the two must travel across the land to repair the broken world. For fans of fairytales and fantasy, "Raya and the Last Dragon" is a refreshing change of pace that puts its own spin on stories of dragons, princesses, and magic.

2016's "Sing" was a jukebox musical about a group of animals who enter a singing competition thrown by koala named Buster Moon in a last-ditch attempt to save his theater. "Sing 2" brings back the first film's characters, love of music, and merry tone for a continuation of the story. 

"Sing 2" picks up some time after the first film left off, bringing us back into the lives of Buster and the rest of the performing animals. The original band of characters reunites for a quest that'll prove each member's worth as an artist, although they're joined by some new characters, including reclusive rock star Clay Calloway (a lion played by Bono) and a charming ice cream vendor named Alfonso (an elephant voiced by Pharrell Williams).

In terms of story, "Sing 2" is very similar to the first movie. A variety of animals who love the arts come into their own as performers and find love and joy onstage. However, if you enjoyed "Sing" and want more of its characters and unique takes on your favorite songs, "Sing 2" is an endearing and entertaining, if not particularly surprising, film.

Sometimes, a setting tells you everything you need to know about a film. Disney's "Luca" is set along the Italian Riviera, a locale known for its balmy climate, its beaches, colorful painted houses, and absolutely stunning views. So, it makes sense that "Luca" would be a warm, comforting story filled with bright colors and incredible sights. 

The movie centers around the titular character, a young sea monster who assumes a human form when he's on land. He befriends another monster named Alberto, who takes Luca to the town of Portorosso. Despite his disapproving parents, Luca explores the world of humans and bonds with Alberto. The two sign up for a triathlon in hopes of winning enough money to buy a Vespa, teaming up with a local girl named Giulia in order to improve their chances at winning. 

Inspired by a combination of Italian folklore and director Enrico Casaroa's childhood, "Luca" is a story about courage, friendship, and letting the ones you love see you as you truly are.

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid

2021's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" is not the first time that Jeff Kinney's children's novels have been adapted into a film, but it is the first time Greg Heffley and friends have been brought to life via animation. With computer-generated versions of the doodle-like illustrations that made the original book series so memorable, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" follows protagonist Greg Heffley as he anxiously attempts to navigate the strange new world of middle school. 

Fearing he will make a fool of himself, and even more afraid that his best friend Rowley will make him appear childish, Greg tries his best to adjust to this new chapter of his life. It doesn't happen easily, and both Greg and Rowley embark on a series of misadventures that test the very fabric of their friendship. Of course, it all works out okay in the end — no matter how wimpy you are or how awkward middle school gets, a strong friendship will always see you through.

4. A Boy Called Christmas

If you're looking for a family film with more Christmas cheer than Halloween frights, then look no further than "A Boy Called Christmas." This British fantasy film is a hidden gem that pairs a festive winter atmosphere with an earnest heart. 

In spite of what the title might lead you to believe, the protagonist of this film is not in fact named Christmas. Instead, the hero is Nikolas, a young boy who goes on a quest into the cold, foreboding north to look for his father, who has been searching for a legendary elf village. Accompanied by a mouse and a reindeer named Blitzen, Nikolas discovers his magical destiny, his secret family history, and true meaning of the season. 

There are already many Christmas movies out there, so it's understandable if you don't want to take a chance on a new one. Still, "A Boy Called Christmas" is worth a watch. It's a cold and snowy holiday story with a warm, kind spirit.

3. Ron's Gone Wrong

Sometimes, you just have to root for the underdog. There is something endearing about a person who almost everyone has written off, but who still keeps trying their very best. That joy is at the heart of the animated science-fiction comedy "Ron's Gone Wrong." 

"Ron's Gone Wrong" is set in a not-so-distant future where a massive tech company called Bubble has launched their newest creation: a friendly robot companion called the B-bot. Our protagonist, Barney, is the only kid in school who does not have a B-bot of his own, and who longs for a mechanical buddy who he can spend time with. Barney's father and grandmother attempt to find him a new B-bot, but are forced to settle for a damaged model that fell out of a delivery truck. Quite simply, this B-bot is not quite right, glitching and malfunctioning at random. 

Still, Barney grows attached to the robot, which he names Ron. As Barney and Ron bond, Barney teaches the robot what it means to be a good friend, and realizes that the bot's flaws are what make it special. With the adorably-animated Ron, a likeable protagonist, and a balance of comedy and heart, "Ron's Gone Wrong" gets a whole lot right.

"Encanto" is a musical fantasy from Disney about the Madrigal family, who live a life full of magic. Their house, the Casita, is an enchanted being with its own intelligence and ability to protect the family inside. See, thanks to the Casita, all of the members of the Madrigal family each have their own, unique magical talents. Well, all the family members except one: Mirabel, the film's protagonist, is the only Madrigal without a supernatural ability. 

As a result, Mirabel feels inadequate, especially when she compares herself to her super-strong sister, Luisa, or her brother, Antonio, who can talk to animals. But when the Casita begins to crumble without explanation and her family's magic begins to wane, Mirabel must step up and find a way to rebuild her home and save her family. 

The film transports its audience to a colorful, lush world filled with magic and mystery (as well as some great songs ) and strong lessons about the bonds between family members, which are easily tested, but remarkably hard to break.

1. The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Of all the movies that came out in 2021, none were like "The Mitchells vs. the Machines." This animated science-fiction comedy tells the story of a dysfunctional family forced to become unlikely heroes in the face of an apocalyptic robot uprising. 

After a disastrous fight between Katie Mitchell and her father, Rick, the whole Mitchell family piles into the car for a cross-country road trip and one last chance to bond before Katie starts film school in California. The trip is derailed, however, by an angry A.I. that orders robots and internet-enabled appliances to gather up each and every human and launch them all into space. As the world falls apart around them, the Mitchells must work through their own difficult relationships (and battle some killer robots) to save the world.

"The Mitchells vs. the Machines" is as heartwarming as it is laugh-out-loud funny, with voices from a cast of comedic actors at the top of their game and a commitment to big swings that land every time. It is a high-energy film that truly understands how it feels to be different, and how wonderful it is when the people in your life love you not just in spite of those differences, but because of them.

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The 20 Best Movies for Kids on Amazon Prime Video

How to Train Your Dragon

This list is regularly updated as movies rotate on and off of  Prime Video . *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

The selection of family films on Amazon Prime’s streaming service leaves a little something to be desired, but that just makes a guide like this even more useful! You have to dig through the titles on Prime Video to find something appropriate for everyone from kindergartener to great grandpa, but there are some titles worth a look, including some family classics that you may have forgotten.

Addams Family 2

Year: 2021 Runtime:  1 hour, 33 minutes Directors: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon

The characters created by Charles Addams will never grow old, even if this recent animated hit isn’t exactly their best outing. There’s still just enough to like in this sequel to the 2019 animated debut of the Addams Family, especially in the voice work by Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Nick Kroll, Bill Hader, Wallace Shawn, and many more. This one is about a road trip for the Addams clan and despite being generally ignored during the pandemic, it still made a fortune. They’re going to be making Addams movies forever.

The Brady Bunch Movie

Year: 1995 Runtime:  1h 30m Director: Betty Thomas

Movies based on beloved sitcoms are almost always a waste of time but Betty Thomas knew how to take the crowd-pleasing comedy of The Brady Bunch and twist it into a subversive satire of suburban norms. She took the 1970s family and dropped them in the ‘90s, turning their values and styles into fish-out-of-water humorous targets. It’s still a surprisingly funny movie.

The Breadwinner

Year: 2017 Runtime: 1h 33m Director: Nora Twomey

The wonderful creatives over at Cartoon Saloon earned some much-deserved attention for their 2020 gem, Wolfwalkers , now on Apple TV Plus, but it wasn’t even close to their first film. These geniuses make internationally renowned fables that refuse to talk down to children, including Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells . One of their most acclaimed works was this 2017 drama based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Deborah Ellis that was acclaimed enough to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature.

Year: 2021 Runtime:  1h 53m Director: Kay Cannon

Another year, another Cinderella movie. The original one on Prime belongs to pop superstar Camila Cabello, who channeled her fame from the music world into this jukebox musical take on the classic tale. That means familiar hits, intertwined with a few original songs. It’s not the best Cinderella, but it’s not the worst either. Maybe it will be the shoe that fits you.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Year: 2021 Runtime:  1h 37m Director: Walt Becker

This adaptation of the children’s book series about the giant dog was originally scheduled for a theatrical release but ended up shuffled onto Paramount+ in late 2021 before also being made available to Prime subscribers. It’s just sweet enough to make this list, thanks in large part to a game cast that includes a fun Tony Hale and Kenan Thompson.

* Duck Soup

Year: 1933 Runtime: 1h 9m Director: Leo McCarey

Movies don’t get funnier than the best of the Marx Brothers in this 90-year-old comedy masterpiece. The last of the Paramount Marx movies, it features Groucho as the President of a fictional country called Freedonia. It’s all so wonderfully, perfectly silly, and a great gateway to introduce kids to classic cinema.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

Year: 2022 Runtime:  1h 27m Director: Derek Drymon and Jennifer Kluska

The massive blockbuster franchise of Hotel Transylvania films took a surprising turn in early 2022 when the pandemic forced this once-Sony property into a Prime Video exclusive. Likely the final film in this four-movie series, this one sees Dracula (Adam Sandler) becoming a human as his son-in-law (Andy Samberg) becomes a monster. Of course, it’s about what’s on the inside that really counts. Everybody knows that.

How to Train Your Dragon

Year: 2010 Runtime:  1h 37m Directors: Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois

When people speak of the best film trilogies of all time, they too rarely include the films based on the books by Cressida Cowell about a boy and his beloved fire-breathing friend. These movies are gorgeously animated and legitimately moving. They have an odd habit in the streaming era of bouncing around the streaming services like Toothless himself, but the first, and probably still the best, film is the one that’s on Prime Video now.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Year: 1946 Runtime:  2h 10m Director: Frank Capra

One of the most beloved films of all time doesn’t just have to be watched around the holidays. The lessons in this film about what people value in life could be appreciated any time of the year, as could one of the most iconic performances in film history from Jimmy Stewart.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

Year: 2022 Runtime: 1h 37m Director: Rob Minkoff, Mark Koetsier, Chris Bailey

A loose remake of Blazing Saddles , this 2022 CGI animated film barely made any waves when it was released last Summer, but it’s not bad! Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, Samuel L. Jackson, Michelle Yeoh, and even Mel Brooks himself contribute voice work to the tale of a dog who becomes a samurai to help rescue a cat village from its awful owner.

The Secret of Roan Inish

Year: 1995 Runtime: 1h 42m Director: John Sayles

Take a break from the escapism and show your kids something culturally resonant and unforgettable in John Sayles’ version of a classic Irish legend. With breathtaking cinematography by Haskell Wexler, this is the story of a girl in Ireland who hears that her brother was swept away by a selkie when he was a baby. It’s a tale of magic and legends in a way that could only take place in Ireland.

Year: 2001 Runtime: 1h 30m Director: Vicky Jenson, Andrea Adamson

It’s hard to explain how massive this family animated comedy was in 2001. It really changed the landscape forever, giving power to an animated studio other than Disney, and teaching copycats to repurpose old fairy tales into new stories. It also led to three direct sequels and a spin-off franchise that’s still making hits (Puss in Boots). See where it all began.

Year: 2004 Runtime: 1h 32m Director: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon

Three years after the first fractured fairy tale, DreamWorks really proved how much life was in this franchise in the first sequel, which arguably became more critically and commercially successful than the first. Not only would it be nominated for Best Animated Feature but it made nearly a billion dollars worldwide.

Sonic the Hedgehog 

Year: 2020 Runtime:  1h 38m Director: Jeff Fowler

It’s hard to believe it but the movies about the super-fast blue hedgehog are kind of more popular than the games right now. Ben Schwartz voices the character in this first film based on the games by Sega, a movie so popular that it’s already produced a hit sequel. Jim Carrey kind of steals the movie as the mustachioed villain, going so far over the top that he turns his performance into campy fun.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Year: 2022 Runtime:  2h 2m Director: David Mickey Evans

With a third film in production, it kind of feels like these films about the fast little blue guy are the first new mega-franchise of the pandemic, right? And something interesting about them is how quickly Paramount has worked to make them available to subscribers. This film jumped from theatres to Paramount+ before it was even on Blu-ray and now it’s on Prime Video too. There’s a reason kids love these movies. Watch for yourself and find out why.

Year: 1973 Runtime: 1h 45m Director: Martin Ritt

It may not be the kind of family film that Minions fans are looking for, but why not challenge your kids with something more grounded every now and then? Sounder is more than just the story of a dog. It’s a tale of the Deep South during the Great Depression, anchored by stunning performances from Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson, both of whom earned Oscar nominations for their work here, and the movie was also nominated for Best Picture.

* Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Year: 2014 Runtime: 1h 41m Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Who could have guessed that the pizza-loving turtles would become such a long-lasting franchise that an animated reboot film called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is hitting theaters later this year. Before then, go back and check out the last reboot attempt in the live-action flick starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett, and the voices of Tony Shalhoub and Johnny Knoxville. It’s a silly movie but it’s just old enough that it might be nostalgic already for the right Prime subscriber.

Whale Rider

Year: 2002 Runtime:  1h 41m Director: Niki Caro

A lyrical and moving coming-of-age film, this adaptation of the 1987 novel stars Keisha Castle-Hughes as a 12-year-old girl in a Maori clan who wants to become the chief of her tribe, a role reserved for the men in the tribe. More than a mere girl power tale (although it is that too) this is a film that never talks down to its kids, understanding their ambitions and fears in a way that feels both poetic and true.

Where the Red Fern Grows

Year: 1974 Runtime:  1h 37m Director: Norman Tokar

A lot of children of the ‘80s probably watched this in middle school and were never quite the same. Relive the trauma! Based on the 1961 novel of the same name, this is the tale of an ordinary 12-year-old boy who is obsessed with hunting dogs, even though his family can’t afford them. A moving, challenging story well-told, this is a great option for a book that everyone in the family can read and a film everyone in the family can watch together.

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good new kid movies 2021

The Best Family And Kids Movies Of 2021

Jason Bancroft

UPDATE: Check out the top family and kids movies of 2022!

It's time to gather the family on the couch and pick out a new movie on streaming, but which 2021 family movie are you going to watch? Luckily for you, the best of new 2021 kids movies are listed here. While there are plenty of top kids movies due to come out this year, which one is the best? You get to help decide with your votes so other parents know which movies to show their kids.

Raya and the Last Dragon and  Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway are just a few of the best kids movies coming out in 2021. Do you think either one will make it to the top of the list?

Help out other parents by voting up the 2021 kids films you enjoyed so other families know what to watch next. Be sure to check back as other kids films are released in 2021 to see where they end up in the rankings.


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Raya And The Last Dragon

Raya And The Last Dragon



The Mitchells vs. The Machines

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise

good new kid movies 2021


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    good new kid movies 2021

  3. 2021 In Film

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  4. 20 Best Kids Movies 2019

    good new kid movies 2021

  5. The Best Kids' Movies Of 2021

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  6. Children S Movie Releases 2021

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  2. Top 10 upcoming animated movies 2019 to 2021

  3. Top 5 Best Family Movies in 2022 #movie #bestmovie #imdb #familymovies #youtubeshorts

  4. New KIDS MOVIES 2022

  5. Top 20 Best Kids' Movies of 2021



  1. 35 Best Kids Movies of 2021

    36 Best Kids' Movies of 2021 (That Parents Will Love Too) · Tom & Jerry · The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run · Raya and the Last Dragon · The

  2. Best Kids & Family Movies 2021

    Best Kids & Family Movies 2021 · Dream Horse (2020) 88% · The Water Man (2020) 78% · Flora and Ulysses (2020) 73% · Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021) 67% · Clifford

  3. Best Kids' Movies of 2021

    Best Kids' Movies of 2021 — That Parents Will Love Too · 1. Tom & Jerry (II) (2021) · 2. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2020) · 3. Raya and the Last

  4. New Kids Movies

    And where to stream them ; 1. The Amazing Maurice. amazing-maurice.jpg · February 3, 2023 · Toby Genkel ; 2. Dog Gone. dog-gone.jpg · January 13

  5. Best Family Movies of 2021, Ranked

    Best Family Movies of 2021, Ranked · 9 Ghostbusters: Afterlife · 8 Yes Day · 7 Cruella · 6 Finding 'Ohana · 5 Sing 2 · 4 Raya and the Last Dragon · 3

  6. The 15 Best Family Movies Of 2021

    The 15 Best Family Movies Of 2021 · 15. Cruella · 14. Flora & Ulysses · 13. Finding 'Ohana · 12. Vivo · 11. Muppets Haunted Mansion · 10. Arlo the

  7. 2021 Family Movies

    2021 Family Movies ; Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans Poster · Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans July 21, 2021 ; Space Jam: A New Legacy Poster · Space Jam: A New

  8. The 20 Best Movies for Kids on Netflix Right Now

    The 20 Best Movies for Kids on Netflix Right Now · Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood · The Bad Guys · Enola Holmes · Flushed Away · Home · Hotel

  9. The 20 Best Movies for Kids on Amazon Prime Video

    Looking for the best movies for kids and families streaming for free on Amazon Prime Video? We list the best films, including 'How to Train

  10. The Best Family And Kids Movies Of 2021

    The Mitchells vs. The Machines. 5