Trying to recover from a hectic Christmas? Too much noise, too much activity, too much everything? Put away all those solitary new toys like your Nintendo DS' and IPod's, and kick back and reconnect with the whole gang. Here are my latest choices for worry-free family viewing---no bad language, no inappropriate themes, no embarrassing moments. If you enjoy them, there are sequels for Anne of Green Gables, Toy Story, Black Stallion and Babe---and in the case of Heidi, Dog of Flanders, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, several different versions, some considerably better than others. As always I have indicated my faves. And if you want to find even more selections, go to the tags on the left side of the screen and click on family-oriented. It will bring up all 8 previous posts and many, many more offerings. Enjoy.
Heidi---we have four English versions (featuring some big names) and a three part animated Chinese series of this beloved tale. From 1937 we have Shirley Temple as the irresistable moppet, from 1968 Maximilian Schell and Jean Simmons, from 1993 Jason Robards and Jane Syemour and from 2005 Max Von Sydow and Diana Rigg. For my money go with Shirley as the adorable orphan sent to live with a reluctant grandfather high in the Swiss Alps.
Black Stallion--- this was a very popular movie back in 1979, and deservedly so. The cinematography is beautiful and the story is timeless. The opening with the fire and resulting ship wreck might be a little intense for younger ones, but once you get to the boy and the horse on the island it is watchable for all ages.
A Dog of Flanders---this might be a little slow compared to what children are used to these days, but stick with it. It is a lovely, heart warming story of a boy, his grandfather and the mistreated cart dog they take into their lives.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth---again,we have several versions of this popular Jules Verne story. I would go with the big release from the summer of 2008, starring Brendan Fraser. The CGI's in this are very impressive, and you should find yourself pretty freaked out by the T-Rex chase.
Anne of Green Gables- hard to believe it is 25 years since this first aired on television. You would be hard pressed to find a better way to spend time than with this multi-award winning Kevin Sullivan production. Beautifully filmed on location in PEI and starring Megan Follows as the irrepressible Anne. Both of the sequels are equally engaging.
Toy Story---join Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Mr Potato Head and others in this delightful Disney offering from 1995. The story is very engaging, many of the characters are toys you will recognize and there is plenty here for the adults. Toy Story 2 is every bit as much fun as the first. Avoid reading the credits and see how many real life actors you can match to the toys voices.
Babe---Farmer Hoggett wins Babe at the local fair, and the little pig soon befriends all the other creatures on the farm. He becomes special friends with one of the sheepdogs and soon Babe embarks on a career in sheepherding. You'd swear the animals are really talking-the film took home an Oscar for best visual effects.