Some middle ground in the fight for control of the TV…

Pixar and Dreamworks may not have been the first studios to make kids movies that weren’t just for kids, but they certainly help perfect the art.

Now with the release of any new PG blockbuster we can almost expect-as-standard a few double entendres or nod-and-wink jokes and for older members of the audience. And why not, you’re the ones paying for the tickets/subscription/popcorn.

These are just a few of our favourites, that you can catch in the UAE right now…

OSN, Sar30 per month

Aladdin (2019)

Before this live-action reboot was released, there were a lot of controversial announcements. No talking Iago, arguably one of the best reasons to watch the original, the much-derided leaked ‘blue-face’ of Will Smith’s Genie, relative unknowns cast in the main roles AND the news that it was to be directed by Guy Ritchie. Yep, that Guy Ritchie – cockney funster, connoisseur of the violent, R-rated, expletive-laden crime comedy. There was, of course, no need to worry, Disney knew exactly what it was doing, and what we ended up with is an immensely enjoyable fusion of Bollywood-esque razzle-dazzle, quick-cut cinematography and clever dialogue — that is a truly worthy homage to the original.

Night at the Museum (2006)

Ben Stiller stars as a divorced father who starts a job as nightwatchman for the American Museum of Natural History. His job is made inconceivably more difficult by the fact the exhibits come to life at night. Stiller’s dead-pan unraveling through having to keep a lid on warring miniatures, dinosaurs, a ‘who’s who’ of history’s greatest tyrants and a power-crazed Egyptian Pharaoh makes for some truly epic comedic shenanigans.

Inside Out (2015)

There are two ways you can watch this animated feature. On a philosophical level, it’s a narrative that deconstructs the ego, representing human emotions as individual entities. The movie asks big questions about the nature of identity and the pursuit of happiness. It’s also incredibly fun to watch without the ‘big brain time’ element. Disney’s trademark tight dialogue and characterisation make it just as enjoyable for the kiddlywinks.

Prime Video, Dhs16 per month

Shrek (2001)

Once upon a time, in the land of Far Far Away, an ogre, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers), is tasked with saving a princess from a dragon-infested castle. With the assistance of an over-caffeinated donkey sidekick (voiced by Eddie Murphy), Shrek’s humorous odyssey is filled with fun fairytale cameos, prejudicial obstacles and a banging soundtrack. There are currently four feature-length movies in the Shrek saga, with a fifth hopefully dropping in the not too distant future.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)

SpongeBob SquarePants wears a special nostalgic medal for many millennials and xennials. This, the first big screen outing for the animated porifera, who lives in a pineapple under the sea, is an unashamedly feel-good romp that honours the spirit of the TV series. Hollywood A-list voice support is supplied by Alec Baldwin, David Hasselhoff and Scarlett Johansson, in this caper that sees megalomanic antagonist Plankton, hatching a plot for world domination. Plankton aims to secure the secret krabby patty formula by framing its creator Mr Krabs for the theft of King Neptune’s crown. Surreal nonsensery ensues, with literally nobody’s first choice heroes SpongeBob and Patrick, on a mission to retrieve the crown and save Shell City.

Netflix, from Dhs29 per month

Storks (2016)

Noice. This film proves that Andy Samberg (Hot Rod, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Lonely Island) is just as watchable in animated avian form as he is in live-action. There tonnes of adult-oriented humour that flies, stork-like, over the younger audience’s head. Besides Samberg, comic relief comes from sketch duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, Kelsey Grammer, Katie Crown and Stephen Kramer Glickman. After accidentally creating a human infant from the decommissioned ‘baby factory,’ stork Junior (Samberg) and his bungling human sidekick (Crown) must deliver the child to the recipient family. It turns out, the human baby delivery gig is a tough one, and frought with enough danger to keep the whole family chuckling for a good percentage of the movie’s 89 minute run time.

Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Are you even watching a Studio Ghibli movie if you don’t check the date on your prescription medication and routinely utter ‘what the?’ once every five or so minutes? Howl’s Moving Castle is no different, here magic and technology clash beautifully, against the backdrop of war. The story’s protagonist Sophie, is turned into an old woman by a witch. In her search for a cure, she comes across a wizard, Howl, and is thrust into a royal resistance battle. If one puts aside the, frankly bonkers, imagery and wants to look a little deeper into it, there seem to be messages about the nature of war, and sovereignty being played out here, which makes it of extra interest for adult viewers.

The Lego Movie (2014)

Chris Pratt leads the voice cast for this movie adaptation of Denmark’s most famous export, Lego. To be fair the brand didn’t leap straight into a movie deal off the back of the toy’s popularity – this film came out nearly 90 years after the first bricks started rolling off the lego factory line. And it was worth the wait. It’s a superbly crafted family movie, with plenty of lols for parents, a genuinely original storyline with compelling arc, and some brilliant voice acting performances. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is the average Lego figure next door, who is mistakenly identified as the Lego world’s best hope of defeating the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) and his dastardly plans for a new world order.

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Moana (2016)

This is the animated quest story of a young Polynesian girl (voiced by Auliʻi Cravalho), chosen by the ocean to reunite the earth spirit, Te Fiti, with an ancient relic and halt a devastating blight on her home island. The titular character teams up with a disgraced demi-power, voiced by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and a wild-eyed scene-stealing pet chicken.

Coco (2017)

We’re not crying – you’re crying. In this tale of pure Pixar magic, a young musician crosses the bridge from the world of the living to the land of the dead. Along with his trusty street dog Dante, Miguel is in search of a long-passed ancestor who he hopes will provide answers about his own passion for music. An emotional score accompanies a screen filled with colourful feels.

Ratatouille (2007)

Ah *kisses fingers* could zis be, ze greatest modern Disney movie? It’s certainly in with a shout. This truly original tale follows a culinarily gifted rat, who dreams of becoming a world-famous chef, and is presented an opportunity to do so, by secretly cooperating with the illegitimate child of a Parisian food legend. Lost? Well that’s part of the joy – this film champions the underdog (or rat), celebrates passion for food and paints large, one of the studio’s most memorable villains, head chef of Gusteau’s, Skinner.

Images: YouTube