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Featured Favorite Fantasy Movies

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For Everyone

Alice in Wonderland movie Disney 1951 movie cover

Title: Alice in Wonderland
Year: 1951
Description: Young Alice never could have dreamed what wildness and whimsy lay waiting at the bottom of the rabbit hole. Suddenly her older sister's warnings don't seem so boring after all. The real question is, will she ever return home to tell her so?
My Take: This movie was a favorite of mine as a child. There are some brief moments that could be frightening for small children (most pertain to the Queen of Hearts), but otherwise I strongly feel it is suitable for all ages. This movie is a blend of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, two of Lewis Carroll's most famous stories.
Rating: G
Family Review Link: Here
How to watch: Disney+

the swan princess movie cover

Title: The Swan Princess
Year: 1994
Description: Though their royal parents have been looking forward to an arranged marriage for decades, Princess Odette and Prince Derek can't stand each other. Unfortunately, just as they begin to look past their differences, disaster strikes in the form of a menacing magical creature. Odette is gone, and Derek must outwit an evil sorcerer to bring her back. Will he find her and break the curse that binds her? Or will he unwittingly make the one mistake that will doom her forever? 
My Take: I was sensitive to scary scenes as a child, and I will admit that the monster did make a marked impression on me. However, this scene is shown at the very end of the movie, and is easily skipped over. Otherwise, this movie is full of humor, sweetness, and songs. Did I forget to tell my husband it was a musical before he watched it with me? Yes, yes I did. Sorry, Tim. 
Rating: G
Family Review Link: Here
How to watch: Available on Amazon Prime, Redbox, and Apple TV

Hoodwinked movie cover

Title: Hoodwinked
Year: 2005
Description: Everyone's a suspect, and everyone has a story. At least, that seems to be the case when the Goody Bandit strikes again. It's up to the ever-perceptive Detective Flippers and his misfit comrades to discover who has been causing chaos in the forest. 
My Take: In my opinion, this is one of those B-rated films that deserves more popularity than it has received. It's cute, it's funny (the mountain goat scene alone is worth the watch), and it keeps you guessing until the very end. Besides, what other films contain coffee-drinking squirrels and actors-turned-schnitzel truck drivers? Highly recommend!
Rating: PG
Family Review Link: Here
How to watch: Unfortunately I could not find any legitimate services that stream this movie. However, it can be purchased cheaply online! 

Ages 8+

Wrinkle in Time 2003 movie cover
Wrinkle in Time 2018 movie cover

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Year: 2003, 2018
Description: Meg and Charles Wallace miss their father terribly - he went missing years ago, and has not yet returned or been found. On top of this loss, Meg feels increasingly responsible to shield Charles Wallace from criticism, as he is both strange and extremely gifted. Fortunately, Charles Wallace has found a few friends, unbeknownst to Meg: friends who will send them on a journey that will change their lives forever.
My Take: Disney released Wrinkle in Time in 2003, then remade it in 2018. Both versions are similar, though the latter features a more diverse cast. I tend to prefer the first version, simply due to nostalgia, but I watched the latter version recently and enjoyed it as well (the graphics are also far superior in the second version). It's a weird and wonderful storyline, and is perhaps a bit more sci-fi than fantasy. It's not everyone's 'cup of tea,' but I have always enjoyed it. 
Rating: PG (both)
Family Review Links: Here (2003) and here (2018).
How to watch: Both versions belong to Disney, so I'd recommend watching on Disney+.

SpiderWick Chronicles movie cover

Title: The Spiderwick Chronicles
Year: 2008
Description: The Grace siblings are devastated about their parents' recent divorce and their mother's subsequent choice to relocate to the Spiderwick Estate. The house is old, isolated, and full of random items like tomato sauce and salt. However, Jared Grace soon discovers that the family's new home is much more exciting - and dangerous - than any of them could have imagined. 
My Take: While the movie's graphics have begun to show their age, the storyline has not. This film is a must-see for any fantasy-loving tween, and I have watched it several times. However, be forewarned that there is some violence and there are creatures that will frighten young children, so my 8+ recommendation is a minimum. This movie is probably best-suited for viewers ages 10 and up.
Rating: PG (closer to PG-13)
Family Review Link: Here
How to watch: Available Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and Redbox.

Quest for Camelot movie cover

Title: Quest for Camelot
Year: 1998
Description: When a dead knight's murderer returns from the shadows to kidnap the knight's widow, the only hope for the family, and the kingdom, is his daughter, Kayley. Can she rally her band of misfit friends to find the lost Excalibur and protect King Arthur from the murderous Ruper? Or will Ruper and his bewitched army seize the throne before Kayley can return with the sword?
My Take: This was one of the movies that I consistently reached for on childhood road trips, so I have watched it many times and memorized the songs. It's moving, humorous, and a beautiful addition to the genre of Arthurian tales. It is also the source of the now-famous song, "The Prayer," sung by Celine Dion. Parents should know that the villain employs some sorcery and is the creepy-crazy type of bad guy, so there are some scary moments not suitable for small children. Also, as you can probably tell by now, I have a fondness for old movies and will openly admit that the film's CGI needs some serious updates. Nevertheless, while I have seen a mix of both love and hate for this film, I am firmly in the former camp and recommend at least giving it a try!
Rating: G
Family Review Link: Here
How to watch: Available Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and Redbox.

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