Finding a film to watch during isolation with your family can be tough. Especially since the last time you spent this much time together was probably on your last vacation – at then you at least had a beach escape or a jungle hike to give you a break! Well put the remote down and stop your channel surfing, here are five movies that will get you out of your living room and put you all on a path of adventure.
Just like the game upon which it’s based, this is a movie “for those who seek to leave their world behind” – kind of. Many will recognise the name of this film from its modern reboots featuring silver screen favourite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Of course, when the original came out he was still just Dwayne Johnson with no wrestling belts or acting credits to his name. The movie that started it all featured a young Kirsten Dunst and legend Robin Williams as we remember him best – a wild child stuck in a grown man’s body. The story follows two kids as they start life in a new town with their aunt. While exploring the new surroundings they stumble upon a strange thumping board game called Jumanji. After hearing rumours that their home holds a dark past involving the disappearance of a local shoe tycoon’s son they soon find out that the game has a lot more to reveal about the missing boy’s true fate. Although for many the CGI may feel slightly dated, it takes nothing away from the fun we see on screen as our heroes try to finish this deadly game.
SPIRITED AWAY (2001)
Considered by many to be a keystone in Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s work, SPIRITED AWAY brings you a coming of age story like you’ve never experienced before. We accompany a young girl, Chihiro, and her parents as they drive to their new home when they decide to take a mysterious short cut through the woods. It’s a familiar family setting; Mom and Dad are overly optimistic, and young Chihiro is naturally apprehensive about leaving her old life behind. The family arrive at an old tunnel and upon dad’s insistence, they walk through and happen on what seems to be an abandoned theme park. Seeing a delicious spread of food Chihiro’s parents airily assume it is an unmanned buffet and greedily tuck in and much to Chihiro’s horror they are transformed into pigs! Together we realize that this is no theme park, but a magical realm filled with strange otherworldly characters. Chihiro must bravely navigate them all if she is to save her parents from their porky demise. To try and summarize this tale is an impossible feat as it is just brimming with story, breathtaking visuals and dreamy music. Originally in Japanese, the film has been exceptionally dubbed in English for those who would prefer to focus on the ethereal scenery rather than subtitles.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (2005)
In this first installment of the film adaptations of C.S Lewis’ fantasy novels, The Chronicles of Narnia, we tag along with the four Pevensie children as they are evacuated to the British countryside in the midst of World War II. Their reclusive host is unaccustomed to children and the siblings must now try to balance the grim reality of their situation and happy childhood filled with fun. One day while playing hide-and-seek Lucy, the youngest, stumbles upon a curious wardrobe that seems to be storing a lot more than just dusty coats. In fact, it contains a whole world named Narnia where animals talk, trees walk and thanks to the White Witch Jadis (icily played by Tilda Swinton), it is always winter but never Christmas. However, the arrival of the Pevensies signifies change on the horizon and the end of evil Jadis’ reign. As we dive into this beautifully rendered snow globe universe we go on a whirlwind journey that keeps the audience gripped to their seats.
The first five minutes of Up introduce us to our protagonist Carl Fredricksen and poignantly summarize his 78-year-long life which was at one point lovingly occupied by his wife Ellie. The couple is free-spirited, in love and hungry for adventure – but, as always, life happens and heads up: you might ugly cry. In the present-day Carl has lost much of the wonder that Ellie inspired and his face has become a permanent host to a wide-faced grimace. Eventually fed up with all the change being forced upon him, he decides to take off. Literally. As a retired balloon salesman, he uses the tools of his trade and ties thousands of inflated balloons to his house lifting it high into the sky and away towards Paradise Falls, his (and Ellie’s) dream adventure spot. It’s all looking like the retirement cruise of a lifetime until Carl realizes that he’s got a stowaway on his porch. His new companion is young Russell, an enthusiastic, rotund wilderness explorer 70 years his junior. Carl has now got the challenge of keeping this dream journey on track while putting up with Russell’s cheerful wide-eyed wonder. The result is a colorful adventure and leaving the viewers with warm fuzzies abound.
Plucky Moana has always felt an inexplicable connection to the ocean, but as the daughter of the chief her place is at home overseeing the daily life of her village – something which her father makes abundantly clear by forbidding any travel beyond the reef. However, there are much greater forces at play in this tale. A thousand years ago the demi-God Maui stole the heart stone of the Goddess Te Fiti, but lost it when he was attacked by the demon Te Kā. Without the sacred stone the oceans are now untamed making them a source of danger for anyone who tries to cross the reef. When a dark blight hits the island paradise Moana decides to take matters in her own hands and defies her father by braving the ferocious waves. Accompanied by her adorable companion, Pua the pig, she sets off on a mighty mission to find Maui and return the heart stone to Te Fiti so she can heal the land. Beautifully animated, Moana brings Polynesian lore to new life encapsulating themes of love, bravery and girl power along with lively musical numbers that will have you humming for the rest of the day!