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Flicks for Kids Expert:
10 Favorite Family Films
by Lois Alter Mark
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#1 FINDING NEMO
What's the Story? Overprotective clownfish Marlin goes for the swim of his life when his son is caught by a scuba diver and deposited in a dentist's office fish tank far away.See the Age-by-Age Guide
Why It's a Favorite: This breathtaking computer-animated feature takes viewers to a visually stunning world under the sea, where the fish offer a fresh perspective on childhood themes like growing up, going to school, and becoming independent.
Touchy Moments: Nemo's mom and siblings are eaten by a predator. Nemo is captured and separated from his father. The lives of the fish are constantly in peril, and Bruce, the razor-toothed shark who fills the entire screen, is a terrifying sight.
Post-Popcorn Discussion: Talk to your kids about the importance of listening to you and what to do if you ever get separated. The movie also offers opportunities for your children to talk about their fears and for you to help them overcome them.
#2 MARY POPPINS
What's the Story? A British family gets a rather unconventional nanny in Disney's classic musical adaptation of P.L. Travers' book.See the Age-by-Age Guide
Why It's a Favorite: Smart and sassy Mary is the nanny of every child's (not to mention every parent's) dream. She finds joy even in the mundane, and is always able to pull a few tricks out of her magic carpetbag.
Touchy Moments: None!
Post-Popcorn Discussion: You and your kids can figure out ways to make chores as much fun as Mary does. You may also find out a few things about your own caregiver, if you have one, as your children make comparisons.
#3 THE LION KING
What's the Story? Young lion cub Simba must find the strength and courage to fulfill his destiny after his father, King Mufasa, is tragically killed at the hands of his jealous uncle Scar.See the Age-by-Age Guide
Why It's a Favorite: The compelling story and well-defined characters are so real, that viewers of all ages can't help getting emotionally involved.
Touchy Moments: Scar is one of Disney's most evil and frightening villains, especially because he's a trusted family member. Mufasa's violent and graphic death--and Simba's grief--are very disturbing and upsetting.
Post-Popcorn Discussion: This is the movie that will bring up all those difficult life-and-death questions from your children. If you have a young alpha male with a shy sister in the house, you might want to talk about Simba's female friend Nala, who never backs down and always manages to pin him to the ground when they wrestle. This may start a discussion of how girls can be as powerful as boys. This is also a good time to remind children about the consequences of disobeying parents' rules.
#4 TOY STORY
What's the Story? New toy in town Buzz Lightyear threatens to replace rag-doll cowboy Woody in the most-cherished spot on young Andy's bed.See the Age-by-Age Guide
Why It's a Favorite: Disney's first totally computer-animated feature is a wondrous celebration of childhood that answers the age-old question of what toys do while their owners are away.
Touchy Moments: The mean kid next door plays with matches and explosives. Bo Peep makes a couple of suggestive remarks.
Post-Popcorn Discussion: Woody's jealousy toward Buzz is the perfect springboard for a discussion about sibling rivalry and for reassuring children that parents' hearts have unlimited space for love.
#5 THE SWAN PRINCESS
What's the Story? Evil sorcerer Rothbart turns Princess Odette into a swan, and Prince Derek tries to break the spell.
Why It's a Favorite: It's as close to Disney quality as animation gets. Odette is a truly modern heroine who asks, "What else?" when Derek proclaims that he loves her because she's beautiful and breaks up with him when he can't give her an answer.
Touchy Moments: Rothbart disguises himself as a giant bat-like creature, attacks the King, attempts to kill Derek, and casts a spell of death over Odette.
Post-Popcorn Discussion: Use the movie themes to discuss the fact that appearances can be deceiving and that true beauty lies within.