Shhhh. Don't tell the kids, but these movies are not just fun to watch, they're good for them. However, do note that not all of these may be appropriate for wee ones or sensitive kids. Make sure to read details on film before screening for your child.
Ferngully: The Last Rain Forest (1992)
Ferngully is a rain forest filled with fairies that believe humans exist only in stories. That is until a human tries to destroy the rain forest. Look for a logging machine called "The Leveler" and the evil Hexxus who gets his power from "drinking" pollution. Ugh.
Stars Tim Curry, Robin Williams, Samantha Mathis, Christian Slater, Cheech and Chong and others.
Finding Nemo (2003)
A clownfish is taken from his coral reef home and his fretful father braves the Australian waters to find him. Best line from Bruce the shark: "I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food."
Stars Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garret, Geoffrey Rush, Elizabeth Perkins and others.
Over The Hedge (2005)
TV Guide called this movie about creatures that wake from hibernation to find their forest half gone, "A sly satire of American 'enough is never enough' consumerism and blind progress at the expense of the environment."
Stars Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Steve Carell, Wanda Syke, William Shatner, Nick Nolte and Avril Lavigne.
Homeward Bound: An Incredible Journey (1993)
A live action remake of the Disney classic-three pets (two dogs and a cat) trek hundreds of miles over the Sierras and through forests to be reunited with their human family. Lassie's got nothin' on these three.
Stars Michael J. Fox, Sally Field and Don Ameche.
The Lion King (1994)
It was a whole new world when this Hamlet meets Bambi tale became the highest grossing animated film of all time (since then, "Finding Nemo" has taken the crown). Nothing teaches kids the meaning behind the circle of life better than Simba and company.
Stars Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg and more.
Happy Feet (2006)
This animated drama/comedy depicts the life of free penguins in the Antarctica versus being trapped in a marine park exhibit. Although director George Miller insists the story didn't start off as an environmental message, he says, "In Australia, we're very, very aware of the ozone hole," he said, "and Antarctica is literally the canary in the coal mine for this stuff. So it sort of had to go in that direction."
Stars Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
Arctic Tale (2007)
A National Geographic documentary from the folks who brought us "March of the Penguins." It's both wondrous yet heartbreaking as we watch a walrus and polar bear from birth to maturity as their winter wonderland melts beneath them.
Narrated by Queen Latifah.
Rescuers Down Under (1990)
A boy rescues a trapped great golden eagle and befriends her. Although this movie underperformed at the box office, five of the film's creative team traveled down under to observe firsthand, then managed to magnificently capture, in animated form, the outback's unique beauty.
Stars Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, John Candy and George C. Scott.
A Bug's Life (1998)
The Pixar crew watched "bug cam" footage to make the bug's eye view authentic. Even the animated bug character traits are bona fide- in a bar scene, a snail orders a dish with "no salt." As Hopper the grasshopper explains, "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess. One of those Circle of Life kind of things. Now let me tell you how things are supposed to work: The sun grows the food, the ants pick the food, the grasshoppers eat the food..."
Stars Dave Foley, Hayden Panettiere, David Hyde Pierce and Bonnie Hunt.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)
This live-action film originated in Japan where the filmmakers edited 400,000 feet of footage that they shot over four years. The westernized version follows the extraordinary adventures of farm animal pals-an orange tabby cat, Milo and a pug named Otis-after they get separated from each other.
Narrated by Dudley Moore.
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