Here are five movies from various platforms that families may want to consider, as recommended by the Deseret News arts and entertainment department. Because not all are appropriate for younger children, age recommendations or ratings are included.
The recent release of "The House With a Clock in Its Walls" introduces a tween to a world witches, warlocks and magic. In celebration of all things magical, here are five spellbinding movies for families to consider.
In theaters: 'The House With a Clock in Its Walls'
An orphaned tween, Lewis, is sent to live with his uncle, a warlock, and enters a world of magic in "The House with a Clock in Its Walls." Based on a 1970s children's book, Lewis and his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) must find a doomsday clock and save the world. The Deseret News’ Josh Terry called the film's early scenes "spooky and whimsical" but cautions that as the story moves forward, the subject matter becomes darker. Parent Previews describes the film as "good-hearted fun" but too frightening for young or sensitive children. The website notes positive messages about "accepting who you are, developing new skills, following the rules and embracing new family relationships." The movie is rated PG for thematic elements including sorcery, some action, scary images, rude humor and language.
When an ornery ogre's swamp is invaded by homeless, magical fairy tale creatures, he makes a deal and must rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona in order to win back his land. The Dove Foundation awarded the film its "Family-Approved" seal for ages 12 and over, stating that the movie "has some meaningful messages such as looking on the inside of a person and not the outside." The DreamWorks animated film is rated PG for mild language and some crude humor.
Amazon video: 'The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'
C.S. Lewis' magical world comes to life when the four Pevensie siblings are transported via wardrobe to the world of Narnia. The Dove Foundation praised the film for teaching that evil should be proactively fought against, stating the movie "is one of the most entertaining and inspiring fantasy/adventures for the family to hit the big screen in a long time.” The website also cautioned parents, saying, “Due to the lengthy battle scenes and other life-and-death issues, parents of very young children are encouraged to see the film first.” The website awarded the PG-rated film its Dove Approved seal for ages 12 and older.
iTunes: 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'
Harry Potter and his wizarding friends begin their second year at Hogwarts only to discover a mysterious creature now lurks in the halls and is attacking students. Common Sense Media praises the film for highlighting the importance of “making good choices,” stating, “Friendship, love, bravery and loyalty are always major themes in the series.” The website cautions that this PG-rated film is scarier than the first "Harry Potter" installment because it includes frightening creatures and extreme peril.
Amazon video: 'Enchanted'
A princess is banished from her magical, musical, animated land of Andalasia to the streets of Manhattan where she meets a flawed lawyer. The Dove Foundation awarded the movie its “Family-Approved” seal for all ages and refers to the film as “a fun-filled family fantasy” and praised it for its “wonderfully produced and ably performed” music and occasional scenes using “exquisitely rendered” 2-D animation. The website notes that the film is rated PG and contains “a fair amount of peril.”