Which Oscar-nominated films should your kids see?

Let Carly help you decide!

Image courtesy of Paramount Home Media Canada

The Oscar nominations have been announced and the 84th annual Academy Awards celebration is just around the corner (airing on Sunday, February 26).

This year quite a few “family-friendly” films are being recognized. Leading the pack, with 11 nominations, is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and three out of the five “Best Animated Features” are kid-size hits, here’s a little look at what’s worth checking out.

HUGO
The nominations
Hugo
is acclaimed director Martin Scorsese’s first feature film for children, and it’s been nominated for “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” and pretty much every technical award under the sun.
 
The story
Set in 1931, Hugo is the story of a Parisian orphan who lives in the walls of a train station, where he keeps all the clocks running on time. One day Hugo stumbles upon a mystery involving his late father and a toy-repair shop owner at the station, which is when the film really picks up.
 
What I thought about it
The story weaves and winds through a captivating mystery that takes you back to when movies first came to be.
And this is best use of 3D I’ve seen to date; scenes inside the clock, with winding ladders and staircases, jump out at you.
 
Age appropriate for
Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking.
Hugo is a tad on the long side, and not for small children – I’m thinking perhaps 8-years+.   

Running time: 126 minutes
*Still in theatres. Available on Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray 3D, and DVD on February 28, 2012

RANGO
The nomination

Nominated for “Best Animated Feature”
 
The story
Rango
(voiced by Johnny Depp) is an eccentric chameleon who longs for adventure and finding a place for himself. When he winds up in the lawless Wild West town of Dirt, an exaggerated lie and a turn-of-events lands him as the new sheriff.
 
What I thought about it
This visually stunning and adult-worthy film, has been criticized as a children’s film that features smoking and mature references, but to be fair it’s only really the “bad guys” that were smoking. I was really drawn to the active imagination and inner turmoil Rango battles, but found myself a bit distracted by a lot of action and fighting near the end.

Age appropriate for
Rated PG
for rude humour, language, action and smoking.
Recommended for ages approximately 7-years+

Running time: 107 minutes
*Available now on Blu-Ray and DVD

KUNG-FU PANDA 2
The nomination

Nominated for “Best Animated Feature”
 
The story
Po (voiced by Jack Black) and his friends are back in action, as they fight to stop a peacock villain from conquering China with a deadly new weapon.

What I thought about it
This film is literally chock-full of butt-kicking-non-stop kung-fu fighting. And there’s plenty of witty and funny zingers from the characters voiced by Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan and David Cross.

Age appropriate for
Rated PG
for sequences of martial arts action and mild violence.
Recommended for ages approximately 7-years+
 
Running time: 91 minutes
*Available now on Blu-Ray and DVD

PUSS IN BOOTS
The nomination

Nominated for “Best Animated Feature”
 
The story
A prequel to the Shrek franchise, it follows the character Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas) on his adventures before his first appearance in Shrek 2. Learn how this sword-fighting outlaw and hero from San Ricardo ended up in Shrek’s pose.

What I thought about it
I have to admit I haven’t seen Puss in Boots yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. Who knows, the little ones might learn some new words in Spanish and with messages like the importance of unconditional friendship, and of course your favourite fairy tale characters mixed in, I see this flick as a potential family hit.

Age appropriate for
Rated PG
for some adventure action and mild rude humour.
Recommended for ages approximately 6-years+

Running time: 90 minutes
*Available on Blu-Ray and DVD on February 24, 2012

Note: Are you seeing a common thread among the three animated features listed above? Unlike previous years where the animated nominees were dominated by more story-focused tales, like Toy Story 3 and Up, this year is full of “Hollywood-sized” action and adventure flicks.

THE MUPPETS
The nomination

Nominated for “Best Original Song”  for “Man or Muppet” written by the hilarious and talented Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords).

And if you’re like me and think the aging Billy Crystal’s time as host of the Oscars has run its course, than check out these top 10 reasons why the Muppets would have been this year’s smartest hosting choice.

The Muppets was one of my favourite 2011 films, and what I couldn’t stop talking about was the music. I’ll be personally looking forward to seeing “Man or Muppet” – by far the best song from The Muppets (and perhaps even the best song from any film in 2011) – be performed at this year’s Oscars.
 
What I thought about it
I love movies with singing, dancing – can make me laugh and cry, and stars a group of lovable misfits, so basically, The Muppets was made for me. Check out my full review here.

Age appropriate for
Rated PG: for some mild rude humour.
Recommended for ages approximately 5-to-7-years+

Running time:
103 minutes
 *Still in theatres. Available on Blu-Ray and DVD this March 20, 2012

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