Now that school is back in session movie studios have started releasing a raft of family-friendly movies. After a weak summer that didn’t offer much in the way of good kids' movies (which probably explains the surprising success of the lame Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot), five promising new movies are being released. Here’s our round-up, plus trailers so you can check them out for yourself.
1. The Boxtrolls
Rated PG, released Sept. 26
Based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls is a stop-motion animation from the studio that created Coraline and ParaNorman. The movie is based on the world from the book where delightful and misunderstood creatures create inventions from trash they collect but the film takes considerable liberties with the characters and plot. In the film, an orphan boy, Eggs, is trying to help his adoptive family of Boxtrolls escape the murderous pest exterminator. While the book is a delight for readers 8 and up, the movie may prove to be too intense for the youngest viewers considering the PG rating. Coraline and ParaNorman are probably good measures of what your kids can handle when it comes to The Boxtrolls.
2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Rated PG, released Oct. 10
Starring Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner as Alexander's parents, the movie expands on the popular picture book. Alexander still wakes up with gum in his hair but now his family's seemingly perfect life comes unraveled as everyone has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It looks to be the kind of gentle family comedy along the lines of Cheaper by the Dozen and Yours, Mine & Ours.
3. The Book of Life
Rated PG, Oct. 17 release
A colorful animated adventure that plays with the cultural traditions around Día de los Muertos, The Book of Life has a visual inventiveness and quality that makes it feel as if it were produced with stop-motion puppets even though it was computer-generated. The story starts with the love triangle between Manolo, Maria and Joaquin and is quickly complicated by a wager between the spirits La Muerte and Xibalba who send Manolo on a journey through the "Land of the Remembered." The film promises to be an ideal Halloween offering and likely no more frightening than The Nightmare Before Christmas.
4. Big Hero 6
Not yet rated — probably PG, Nov. 7 release
Big Hero 6 is Disney Animation’s follow-up to Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen. It is actually another Marvel superhero movie but uses an obscure superhero team based in Japan. Set in the future metropolis of San Fransoyko, the film follows the adventures of young scientific prodigy Hiro and his synthetic friend Baymax (soon to be every kid's favorite plush toy) as well as a motley assortment of characters who become the team Big Hero 6. Considering the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, there is reason to believe this obscure comic book team will be very popular.
5. Penguins of Madagascar
Not yet rated — probably PG, Nov. 26 release
I’ve been saying all along that the Despicable Me movies will eventually be nothing but minions. Penguins of Madagascar is proof of that. Kids will be delighted with the antics of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private as they live a life of international espionage and join forces with an undercover organization called the North Wind to battle the evil octopus, Dave.