Kid Movies For People Who Hate Kid Movies

by Katy on October 5, 2008 · 8 comments


I drove up to Seattle today to visit my sister Jessica. My ten-year-old son had a special request to watch the movie The Iron Giant during the drive. I love this movie. I think it’s the sweetest, robot-iest movie ever made.

It’s the Citizen Kane of giant robot movies!

This got me thinking about other great, and not so great kid films. I admit it, I’m picky. I hate the hit-in-the-groin genre of juvenile cinema. I just really hate the celebrity voiced, plastic toy hawking, Hollywood produced drek that is usually marketed to my kids.

I want for my kids what I want for myself. Clever, thought provoking, maybe even pee-your-pants funny entertainment.

Is that so much to ask?

I say no.

Here are some of the movies that came to mind:

The Iron Giant. Adapted from the Novel by Ted Hughes, this under-the-radar movie is about about a small town boy who finds a giant robot in the woods. It follows him home, and he unsuccessfully tries to hide it as the government scours the area. The robot is built as a weapon, but the boy teaches it that it has free will and can choose to be non-violent. There is one line in this movie that always brings a tear to my eyes:

“It’s bad to kill. Guns kill. And you don’t have to be a gun. You are what you choose to be. You choose. Choose . . . .”

How can I add to that?

My Neighbor Totoro. This Hayao Miyazako classic is beloved the world over. Two little girls move to a new home in the country with their father, and discover they are able to see harmless mythical creatures called “Totoro.” The animation is beyond darling, and the backgrounds are like fine art paintings. There is nothing scary in the entire film, yet it still manages to be gripping. If you like this film, there are many other movies by the same film maker. (Such as Spirited Away, Pom Poko and Kiki’s Delivery Service.)

Wallace and Gromit. These British animated clay characters started as three short films that can now be found an a single DVD.  They are funny, clever, and irresistible. You’ll be quoting lines and adopting a faux English accent within no time. Also by the same animator are Flushed Away, Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Chicken Run. (Although the latter was a bit intense for my kids when they were little.)

The Incredibles. Pixar has made some terrific movies, and this one is my favorite. It’s smart, funny and has a great aesthetic. The whole she-bang! I won tickets to go to an advance screening of The Incredibles when it first came out, and I remember wondering if I had liked it so much because it was free, or because it was great? It was because it was great. Other Pixar movies that warrant mention are Wall-E, both Toy Story movies and Finding Nemo. 

Are there any movies you want to share? Tell us about it in the comments section below. Just keep in mind that even one smack-to-the-groin scene will disqualify your suggestion.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcia October 5, 2008 at 6:48 am

Thanks Katy.
Just ordered the books The Iron Man by Ted Hughes and My Neighbour Totoro, Volume 1 to read with my kids. I have this thing about always trying to read the book first and then watching the movie.


Marcia October 5, 2008 at 6:51 am

Fyi — when I say “ordered” — I meant ordered from the library electronically! As I am a non-consumer in training but am one of the best advocates there is of our fabulous public library system.
I try never to buy a book unless I plan to read it over and over again or I am super-super impatient (which luckily I am not).


Alison October 5, 2008 at 8:35 am

Here’s a book/movie combo we tried: Jumanji. I thought the movie was pretty well done, but my kids (7 & 4 yrs) were so scared! My kids are a little sheltered, in that we never watch violent movies, but perhaps wait until your kids are older before going with this one. On the other hand, neither one of them had a bad dream/nightmare afterward. 🙂


thenonconsumeradvocate October 5, 2008 at 10:30 am

Robin Willams? He is the human equivalent to a kick-in-the-groin.


Kate October 5, 2008 at 11:08 am

See for me the Incredibles was soooo violent. I don’t mind juvenile humour but the extreme nonchalant violence of so many movies geared to kids upsets me. I don’t stop all violence, we have watched the original Star Wars series for instance.
Favourite movies in our house have been/are: The Rescuers; E.T. (although it scared him as well); The Narnia series done by BBC (not the new ones); Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Wallace & Grommit; and the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys original series on DVD.
I’m a fan of 80s animated movies, esp when my son was a little younger. Less sarcasm and less messy violence. Cars was a good throw back to that style, and it sounds like the Iron Giant might be as well.
Have you seen this site:
A great ratings site that tells you about almost all kids movies.


thenonconsumeradvocate October 6, 2008 at 12:00 am

The downside to reading a book before seeing the movie, is that sometimes the book is an awful “novelization.”

Which should never be allowed.

-Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


thenonconsumeradvocate October 6, 2008 at 12:03 am

Also . . . .

My kids are 10 and 13. So “The Iron Giant” is not too intense for them. It might be a bit much for the younger crowd.


P.S. One of my favorite parts in “The Incredibles” is when Mr Incredible is being violently stretched by the bad guy, and his back suddenly cracks and he’s all happy. I need that kind of treatment myself.


greenstrivings October 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I’m really late to the party on this one but I have to put in a plug for Alfonso Cuarón’s version of “The Little Princess.” It is utterly magical and wonderful. I dragged my then-boyfriend to see it –at the dollar movie theater, of course!– much against his will (“it’s from a book for little girls?!”). 10 minutes into the movie I glanced at him. He was transfixed. This to say: even your sons would like it!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: