2013 was an incredible year for family movies. ‘Frozen’, ‘Monsters University’, ‘Despicable Me 2′,’ The Croods’, ‘Epic’, and ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2’ were but a handful of the excellent movies released last year.
Amazingly, 2014 is looking to be even better, with dozens of excellent family movies hitting cinema screens throughout the year.
This top 10 list will preview the top 10 family movies of 2014.
The Lego Movie – 7 February
Legos were first introduced to the world in 1947. At first, they experienced little success, with most children preferring dolls, action figures, and other toys instead. However, slowly, over time, legos gained more popularity, eventually becoming the world’s most popular children’s toy in the 60s. Today, lego remains a mainstay of the toy industry, with dozens of lego sets available to buy on store shelves. Strangely, while other children’s toys have made the jump to film, lego has been left behind. Until now, that is. Directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, ‘The Lego Movie’ sees lego jumping onto the big screen for the very first time.
The Lego Movie features an all star cast of some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman are but a few of the names who have lent their voices to the film. Based on the lego construction toy set, the film tells the story of a courageous lego who does battle with an evil tyrant trying to destroy the lego universe.
The Lego Movie has already been a hit with critics who have reviewed it favourably. Releasing in January worldwide, it’s looking to kick start 2014 with a bang.
Muppets Most Wanted – 21 March
2011’s ‘The Muppets’ was an unexpected surprise. After a series of disappointing outings, the 2011 Muppets movie was a welcome return to form. The film, starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams, was one of the best reviewed and most successful movies of 2011. ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ picks up where The Muppets left off. Starring Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey, the film will follow the Muppets as they try to stop an international crime syndicate from pulling off a series of thefts throughout Europe.
Director James Bobin looks to have captured the same humour and wit that made the 2011 Muppets film a joy to watch. Releasing in March, 2014, Muppets Most Wanted is likely to be one of the best family movies of 2014.
Rio 2 – 11 April
The first ‘Rio’ movie, released in 2011, was a pleasant surprise. Starring Jesse Eisenberg as a blue macaw parrot called ‘Blu’ who travels to Rio to find a mate, the film featured gorgeous visuals and a delightful script full of laughs and amusing moments.
Rio 2 is set 5 years after the first Rio movie. Happily settled with his mate, Blu finds himself travelling to the rainforest to discover his roots. While there, he finds his extended family and discovers that his rainforest home is under threat from deforestation. Director Carlos Saldanha has returned for Rio 2, and he doesn’t appear to have skipped a beat. Judging by the trailer, Rio 2 looks to have captured all the charm and joy of the first film. Rio 2 is pencilled in for a late March/early April release.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return – 9 May
The story of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz is a classic. Written by author L. Frank Baum in the early 1900s, the story has been immortalised a number of times on the cinema screen, most notably in 1939’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and 2013’s ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’.
‘Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return’ is the latest film to showcase Dorothy’s adventures in the land of Oz. A direct sequel to the 1939 film, the film sees Dorothy returning to Oz to do battle with an evil Jester looking to claim dominion over Oz. Directed by Will Finn and Dan St. Pierre, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return features an all star cast, including Lea Michelle as Dorothy, Dan Ackroyd as the Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammer as the Tin Man, and Patrick Stewart as Tugg. With a colourful 3d art style and positive press from preview screenings, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is looking like a fun adventure film. It is due for release in May, 2014.
Maleficent – 30 May
‘Sleeping Beauty’ is a classic children’s tale. As the story goes, a beautiful princess, called Princess Aurora, is put under a spell by the evil witch Maleficent. This spell puts her into a deep sleep from which only her true loves kiss can wake her.
‘Maleficent’, directed by Robert Stromberg and starring Angelina Jolie as the title character, aims to tell the story of Maleficent’s life. With a stunningly beautiful gothic art style, the film follows Maleficent from childhood to adulthood, showing how she embraced evil along the way. Releasing in May/June, 2014, Maleficent is looking to be one of the best family movies of the year. Angelina Jolie looks perfect as the evil witch and Stromberg’s direction looks incredible. Hopefully it won’t disappoint.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 – 13 June
The first ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ movie was a sleeper hit. Few people paid attention to its trailers and it released with little fanfare. Over time, however, word of its greatness spread, and the film quickly found itself an audience.
‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ is looking to exceed the original in every way. Director and writer of the first film, Dean DeBlois, has returned, along with the all star cast, including Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, and more. The second film appears to be set a few years after the first. Dragons are now living in perfect harmony with the vikings of Berk, and Toothless and Hiccup are still the best of friends. Hiccup, ever the adventurous soul, starts to explore the world with Toothless, only to find himself caught in the middle of a war between men and dragons. ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ is looking to be one of the best CGI films of 2014. Make sure to catch it in the cinemas when it releases in June.
Planes: Fire and Rescue – 18 July
In 2006, CGI studio Pixar released their movie ‘Cars’ into the cinema. The film, starring Owen Wilson as a racing car who gets stuck in a quaint, dusty American village, was a huge success everywhere, and Pixar soon set to work on creating a sequel. Pixar also created a spin off franchise called ‘Planes’, which followed the exploits of a group of talking planes. Dane Cook played Dusty Crophopper, the lead character, a cropdusting plane who dreamt of being a championship winning racing plane, while Stacy Keach played Skipper Riley, Dusty’s mentor.
‘Planes: Fire and Rescue’ is a direct sequel to the first Planes movie. Directed by Bobs Gannaway, the film follows Dusty as he retires from racing to become a wildfire rescue plane. Nearly all of Planes’ cast are returning for the sequel, with Julie Bowen joining to play Lil Dipper, a love interest for Dusty. While the first Planes movie was released to mixed reviews, the sequel hopes to remedy all of the problems with of the original. It is scheduled for release in July, 2014.
Dolphin Tale 2 – 19 September
Dolphin Tale was one of the best family movies of 2011. The film, written and directed by Charles Martin Smith, told the true story of Winter, a dolphin who gets a prosthetic fin fitted after his real one gets trapped in a crab trap.
Charles Martin Smith has returned for ‘Dolphin Tale 2’, along with the cast of the first film, including Harry Connick Jr., Henry Judd, and Morgan Freeman. The film follows on from the first film and tells the story of the birth of Winter’s child. Dolphin Tale 2 is due for release in in September, 2014. Keep an eye out for it then.
Big Hero 6 – 7 November
Big Hero 6 are one of the lesser known superhero teams in the Marvel universe. Made up of 6 members, each with their own unique superpowers and distinctive looks, the Big Hero 6 have quickly grown to become one of the most popular superhero teams since their first appearance in 2008.
‘Big Hero 6’, an animated film produced by Disney’s animation studios, is the first Disney animated film to feature Marvel characters. Scheduled for release in November, 2014, the film will see the Big Hero 6 uncovering a criminal plot to take over the fictional city of San Fransokyo. Interestingly, the film will feature a Japanese-inspired art style that aims to fuse Eastern and Western artistic sensibilities to create a unique never-before-seen art style.
Big Hero 6 is looking like one of the biggest and best superhero films of the year. With an all star voice cast, a talented director at the helm, and a unique and ambitious art style, it’s not one to be missed.
Paddington – 12 December
Paddington Bear is a staple of children’s literature. Since his debut appearance in 1958’s ‘A Bear Called Paddington’, he’s starred in no less than 20 books, all written by author Michael Bond.
While Paddington Bear has made many television appearances over the years, 2014’s ‘Paddington’, directed by David Heyman, will see him making his cinema debut. British actor Colin Firth has been drafted in to play Paddington while an all star cast, including Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, and Peter Cipaldi, have been hired to play the supporting characters.
The film will tell the origin story of Paddington Bear. It’ll follow him as he travels from his native home of Peru to London where he hopes to experience city life. Early script reviews have been positive, with many critics saying that the script perfectly captures the essence and beauty of Bond’s books. With a late December, 2014 release date, Paddington will be the family movie to watch this Christmas.