Toy Story 2

There are very few film trilogies that stack up with the quality of Pixar’s Toy Story series. It’s a tri-masterpiece, but if you were to ask someone for a favourite, they’ll either go with the original or the third one (which probably made them cry).

This leaves the first sequel in a bit of a shadow, but we still recognise it as one of the best family films ever made. It also asks an insanely deep question that sticks with you for years – would you rather have true love for a fleeting moment or shallow adoration for eternity?


The Jungle Book

You can count on Disney to make the deadly wilderness look like the jazziest joint in town. Casting the iconic Phil Harris as the voice of Baloo was a stroke of absurd genius, giving the beatnik bear an unshakeable coat of cool that any kid would have looked up to. To this day, the musical soundtrack remains as toe-tapping as ever. Need convincing? Give I Wan’na Be Like You another listen.


Spirited Away

Spirited Away exploded onto the scene with incredible precision, as if Hayao Miyazaki loaded his previous Studio Ghibli films into Disney’s marketing cannon and aimed it straight at our hearts.

From a train that glides along the ocean to a spider-limbed boiler room conductor rocking John Lennon glasses, the imagination on display is overwhelming. For a film about a girl who becomes lost in a fantasy realm, that’s exactly how you want to feel, and that feeling is what Ghibli perfected in Spirited Away.



A long time ago in a primitive land (1980s New Zealand provides much of the scenery), George Lucas and Ron Howard teamed up for this sword and sorcery tale that now reads like a precursor to Lord of the Rings.

An innocent little fellow (Warwick Davis) is tasked with a mission through a dangerous land, attempting to thwart a terrifying enemy bent on world domination. There are fairies and monsters and swordsmen and whatnot, including the most mythical creature of all - Val Kilmer when he was still attractive.

This is Davis’ turn in the spotlight though, and he anchors a pic that may spook younger kids, but should prove a little more accessible than LOTR.


Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson’s foray into stop motion animation and the imagination of Roald Dahl is a magnificent family film for some pretty simple reasons - it's the fun, adventurous and sometimes frightening tale of an extended family of adorably cute woodland creatures.

The bonds of familial love they share are what the characters can draw on, along with clever craftiness, when going up against the nasty human farmers of the pic, and help to make this not just a film that the whole family can enjoy, but they can, in particular, enjoy together in a winning mix of classic elements to please young and old.


Big Hero 6

This potent partnership between Disney and Marvel doesn’t aim to find a fit within the grown-ups’ Marvel universe, instead forging its own creative path.

That takes Big Hero 6 into the futuristic multicultural setting of San Fransokyo, ushers kids into the superhero genre, and explores grief and loss in surprisingly sophisticated fashion for such a frequently side-splitting film.

As befits its pedigree, the action scenes prove more creative and coherent than many live-action wannabes, but it’s the mechanical heart that beats within Baymax’s chest that resonates throughout the film and helps this Michelin Man mechanoid bond with teen genius Hiro - and us in turn.



Throughout his career, Will Ferrell’s made a great fist out of being a hyperactive child stuck in an awkwardly large adult frame, which sets him up perfectly to play Buddy, who lives at the North Pole but who’s never managed to work out that he’s not actually an elf, but a human.

As a fish out of water tracking down his biological dad in New York City, Buddy’s naivety joins forces with Ferrell slapstick to provide plenty of laughs for young and old - and in a Christmas movie to boot. Aiming to melt cynics’ hearts, this is perfect fodder for kids who think they’ve got Santa figured out, especially when James Caan is the role model for such grinchiness.