Top kids’ movies on Sky Cinema and NOW TV
Staff Reporter | On 11, Apr 2020
Struggling to find something to see with your littl’uns? With Sky Cinema’s deal covering most major studios, its collection of family films is hard to beat – not least because (thanks to a last-minute deal with the House of Mouse) it’s the only place outside of Disney+ that you can find Disney films to stream in the UK.
We round up the best kids’ movies available right now. Don’t have Sky Cinema? You can also stream them all on NOW TV, as part of a £11.99 monthly subscription.
“The best Pixar films have always had an element of autobiography about them, and Inside Out reads practically like a manifesto for Pixar’s output – heck, it’s practically a tour of the studio. Gather a bunch of diverse personalities together and let them work the controls in order to inspire outrageous flights of imagination, devastating heartbreak and cinematic joy. It was only a matter of time before Pixar made the logical leap and actually made a film from the viewpoint of the emotions they have so effortlessly mined over the past 20 years.” (Our full review)
Pixar’s animated gem may look like a story about an archer versus a bear but emerges as a sweet and simple tale of one daughter and her relationship with her mother.
Young fish Nemo gets taken from his dad, Marlin, by fishermen in Disney’s animated comedy. From the beautifully rendered ocean to Marlin’s hilarious sidekick Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), Finding Nemo is sweet, stunning and gloriously silly.
The Jungle Book (2016)
A live-action remake sounds like a terrible idea, until you actually see what Jon Favreau has made: a thrilling, adorable flick that combines old songs with a renewed sense of peril. Ideal family viewing. (The original is also available.)
Big Hero 6
Meet Baymax, a sort of inflatable healthcare robot that, when kitted out with the latest tech by his owner Hiro, becomes a crime fighting machine. Watch this – then get ready to rush out and buy a toy one on Boxing Day.
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
The quaintness of this genuine, old-fashioned kids’ movie won’t trouble hipsters like Pixar, and even its bucolic meta-textuality is refreshingly wholesome.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
You may have seen meteor showers, but we bet you’ve never seen a MEATIER shower. Bumbling inventor Flynn creates a machine that turns water into food in this barmy animated comedy. What starts out as a cute, romantic tale of following your dreams soon descends into a nightmarish, surreal world of sentient pizza, overweight citizens and giant, evil roast chickens. It’s a smart, food-pun-filled festival of visual gags – and the perfect introduction to the brains of The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
The tale of Count Olaf and his attempts to get his hands on his orphan nephew and nieces’ inherited treasure is an enjoyably dark modern classic. Before the Netflix TV version came this equally impressive film adaptation, with Jim Carrey turning the “odd” dial all the way up to 11.
Arguably Pixar’s best film to date, The Incredibles combines family drama, superhero silliness and a genuine sense of peril. (The Incredibles 2 is also available.)
Lilo & Stitch
The galaxy’s most wanted alien crash-lands in Hawaii, where he makes friends with a young, lonely girl. The result is a timeless tale of love and loyalty that has emotional nuance in buckets, despite its deceptively simple animated style. Adorable.
Nostalgia. Noun. A warm, fuzzy thing that looks back on the past. (See also: The Muppets.) This 2011 update of everyone’s favourite puppets sees Jason Segel and Amy Adams trying to get the band back together. It’s most sensational, inspirational, celebrational and, indeed, Muppetational.
Board games are enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment, but back in 1995, the idea of someone playing something other than Monopoly was breathtaking. What happens when Jumanji gets into full swing – CGI monsters, shouting children, general pandemonium – is equally so. The script may not hold up to much scrutiny, but pre-Captain America Joe Johnston’s sense of adventure and spectacle keep you transfixed.
The Mighty Ducks
Who says kids can’t have sports movies? This underdog tale of children playing ice hockey is proof that sports flicks don’t need animals in them to appeal to all ages.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
This 1993 remake of the original 1963 film of the same name is an enjoyable family adventure about three animals, who race to catch up with their owners when the family moves home and appears to have left them behind. Michael J. Fox and Sally Field provide charming vocals as an excitable pup and snooty, sarcastic cat.
Are monsters more terrified of us than we are of them? That’s the cute starting point for Pixar’s fluffy flick, which sees John Goodman and Billy Crystal play a double-act of scarers, whose job is to make enough kids scream to provide power for the city. A beautiful piece of world-building and a cute slice of emotion make this a charming Disney adventure that’s definitely not terrifying.
The only reason most children will even know what a St. Bernard is, this 1992 family comedy about a dog who runs riot when adopted by a picture-perfect family in the suburbs is wonderfully cheesy, unabashedly sentimental stuff.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Tale as old as time… If you weren’t a fan of the remake, or even if you were, the animated original – about a woman who falls in love with a princess cursed to look like a hairy beast – is irresistibly sweet.
Pokemon Detective Pikachu
In this almost-live action sleuthing spin-off of the globally popular video game franchise, a 21-year-old youngster is in search of his missing ace detective dad. But who can help him find out where his father gone? None other than his electric mouse partner, Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). It sounds unlikely, but this feature Pokemon outing is an absolute delight.
The Little Mermaid
A beautiful mermaid called Ariel makes a deal with Ursula, a sea witch, to meet Eric, a human prince she falls in love with. Disney’s take on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic is wonderful, iconic stuff.
Toy Story 4
The toys are back in town. Woody and the gang make a long-awaited return in another Pixar masterpiece for all the family. The toys have a new kid, Bonnie, but for the first time Woody is unsure of his place in the world. When she, literally, makes a new friend called Forky out of a spork and pipe cleaners, it’s down to Woody to show Forky the joy of being a toy. However, Forky thinks he’s trash, and when he throws himself away the gang get swept up in an adventure to rescue him. Along the way, Woody bumps into an old friend he thought he’d lost who shows him there may be life after kids.
Known the world over as a panto, this Disney version of the old Arabian Nights tale is arguably the best, as a diamond-in-the-rough street rat takes on the evil sorcerer Jafar and tries to win the hand of Princess Jasmine. Alan Menken’s songs are superb and the animation is lovely, but the show is stolen by Robin Williams as the big blue genie. You never had a friend like him.
This family fantasy starring Julie Andrews as the eponymous nanny is guaranteed to make you smile.
Mary Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt is practically perfect in this sequel that recaptures the original’s charm.
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond
Brad Bird’s underrated film follows Casey Newton (Britt Robertson), who finds that she is transported to a futuristic city every time she touches a lapel pin with the letter “T” on it. She tracks down reclusive old scientist Frank Walker (George Clooney) for answers, leading to an unabashedly old-school adventure.
Loved the stage show? Then now’s the perfect time to revisit Danny DeVito’s pitch-perfect screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale.
“How does she knoooooooow?” Intelligent, amusing and downright romantic, this post-modern flick (which sees the naive Giselle – Amy Adams – stumble from Disney’s animated universe into the real world) deftly hits the mark.
With quality CGI and a witty line in nasty behaviour, Despicable Me’s tale of supervillain Gru (Steve Carell) doesn’t quite complete with Pixar’s best, but that hardly matters when it comes with a side portion of yellow animated Minions whose slapstick silliness steals the whole show.
Despicable Me 2
There aren’t many films that really understand children. This surprisingly heartfelt sequel is one of them.
The Kid Who Would Be King
Attack the Block director Joe Cornish keeps the focus on a young cast but makes things considerably (and unashamedly) more family friendly in this Arthurian adventure set in modern-day London. When bullied school kid Alex stumbles upon the mythical Excalibur and inadvertently awakens the dark sorceress Morgana, he must unite and his friends and enemies and become the leader he never thought he could. Sadly a bomb at the box office, this magical adventure was for whatever reason passed over by cinema goers. An old school vibe meets a modern message that the future of the world lies with the young – it’s impossible to dislike and destined to become something of an overlooked gem.
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
If Stranger Things got you feeling nostalgic for Spielberg’s films of old, don’t miss the chance to re-watch this favourite from your childhood.
School of Rock
Jack Black is on winning form in this film about a failed musician who tricks his way into becoming a supply teacher educating children in how to play music. The result is a supremely silly comedy in which kids learn to rock, a loser learns to care, and director Richard Linklater captures the sheer joy of performing music.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
This adaptation of the hit Jeff Kinney books is packed with charm and humour.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Wholly unique and jaw-droppingly stylish, this progressive, post-modern story of parallel realities is one of the best superhero movies ever made.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
In this groundbreaking blend of animation and live action, Bob Hoskins plays a gruff gumshoe, who agrees to take on the case of a cartoon star who’s been framed for murder. Wonderful.
Muppet Treasure Island
The Muppets once again prove they’re the best in the biz at adapting novels for the screen with this laugh-out-loud take on the pirate classic, featuring Tim Curry, sword fights and a talking lobster/parrot.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Can your favourite stop-motion duo work as a feature-length film? By heck, they can: Aardman’s 85-minute adventure is full of visual slapstick, verbal wit and endless puns, not to mention Ralph Fiennes in his first truly comedic role – and, of course, a giant monster rabbit. It’s when you stop noticing the action set pieces are made out of clay that you realise just how superb it is.
“I ask for so little. Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.” If you’ve never seen David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King in this iconic 1986 fantasy, this is your ch
What better way to remember Nic Roeg than to revisit the child-friendly masterpiece he made in 1990, bringing Roald Dahl’s tale to scary, funny, imaginative life. Angelica Huston and Rowan Atkinson are among the stars. Did we mention it’s scary?
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