Truth be told, though, we feel that last year's family films probably would still trump this year's selections (absolutely still loving Despicable Me, Tangled, Toy Story 3, Nanny McPhee Returns, Alice in Wonderland, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
Actually, even the "runners up" are still quite memorable, like The Last Airbender, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and How to Train Your Dragon. Maybe even Megamind.
We'd happily re-watch all of these films again and again (and yes, we do! :-)).
So yeah, compared to 2010 family movies, this year seems like slim pickings. In fact, it's even interesting that based on a quick informal poll in our family, we ended up with this list (in no particular order):
- Kung Fu Panda 2 - I'm not usually a fan of sequels. And, even though I really liked the first Kung Fu Panda movie, it doesn't go on my "absolute favourite list of family movies".
Having said all that, I was very impressed by this sequel. Kung Fu Panda 2 managed to keep the interest going with the characters. And, introduced a great plot (which partly serves as a prequel).
Although it did lose a bit of the novelty from the first movie, Po's character has been drawn out a bit more and there are still a number of funny and memorable lines/moments in the film.
So yes, definitely one of the best family films of the year.
- Cars 2 - I love the first Cars movie. It's a very smart, funny film for the family. When I heard they were doing Cars 2, I shook my head. I didn't think they could do much more with the plot from the first film.
While I still think the first movie's better, this one's a very worthy sequel. It's like a proper "spy movie", except the parts are played by animated vehicles. Really good plot with an interesting twist. Nice new characters. And, the twist on the landscapes (Japan, Italy, and England) were very cool to see.
My kids probably watched this film over half a dozen times when we rented it on iTunes.
So, definitely going on the list as a family favourite.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 - This one needs no explanation. Everyone who knows me know that I'm a full fledged Harry Potter fan. I love the books. And yes, the movies never live up to books, but I still love them anyway.
So, needless to say, this much awaited conclusion has been great to see at last. And, even though I watched it on 3D, I didn't really think it made much difference.
Oh, and admittedly, just like in the book, the final scene of the movie just made me cringe a bit.
But, overall, as I said, the flaws don't really matter too much. I still love it.
Oh, and one down side of this "family film" is that it's not one that my kids can watch for a while still, I think. But, I'm pretty sure that the moment they're able to watch it, I'd be more than happy to be right there with them.
Yes, the DVD is already on the wish list.
Now, I know we haven't seen all the films that came out this year. So, I can't really judge those that we weren't able to see. So, on the wish list of family movies that were released in 2011 but haven't had the chance to watch yet are: Hugo, The Muppets, Puss in Boots the Movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and The Adventures of Tintin.
My kids also recommend (but I either have never watched or watched but didn't make the cut*): The Smurfs*, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2, Hop*, and Rio*.
Other family films in 2011 that we watched but didn't really enjoy as much as we hoped: Gnomeo and Juliet, Rango, The Green Hornet, and Arthur Christmas (didn't watch this one, but hubby & kids did).
Which one's on YOUR favourite family movie list for 2011?