2016 was a great year for family movies, thanks to ocean-going princesses, crime-solving bunnies, singing pigs, and honey-addicted bears. Here are some of our favorites, including a few you might have missed, like the inspiring “Queen of Katwe.”
Not only is this animated hit about a city entirely populated by animals smart, funny and suspenseful, it delivers a subtle (but very timely) message about tolerance and overcoming prejudice. Plus, hilarious sooooo-slow sloth scene!
The memory-impaired fish goes on an epic quest to find her parents. She's aided by Nemo, Marlin, and a crafty octopus in this long-awaited, heart-warming sequel.
Moana was raised to never go beyond the reef of her safe island, but when her home is in trouble, it's up to cross the ocean and save her people. She's got to convince a reluctant demi-god (a hilarious Dwayne Johnson) to aid her quest in this uplifting Disney offering.
'Kubo and the Two Strings'
A one-eyed boy comes to the rescue of his village, aided by a monkey and a beetle. Trust us, the movie is great. This dazzling stop-motion 3D film from Laika Studios, the folks behind "Coraline" and "ParaNorman."
There's no singing in this Disney update of the '70s classic, just a lot of heart-tugging scenes when an orphaned boy tries desperately to get back to the dragon who raised him.
'Queen of Katwe'
There are so many "inspirational" films based on true stories, but this one -- about a young chess whiz from the slums of rural Uganda -- really delivers. With a cheer-worthy finale and great performances from Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, and newcomer Madina Nalwanga, this underrated gem needs to be at the top of your queue.
'The Jungle Book'
Jon Favreau ably shepherds this update on the '60s Disney classic with scary-photo real CG jungle effects and the animals to go with it. Man cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) stands up to a vicious man-eating tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba), with the help of a lazy bear (Bill Murray), a noble wolf, and a brave panther.
'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'
So there's no Boy Who Lived and no Hogwarts in this Harry Potter prequel, but there are still plenty of valuable lessons about good and evil. And (of course) lots and lots of fantastic beasts.
It's like "American Idol," but with adorable animals! What's not to love? This crowd-pleasing comedy opens December 21.
Bookish Sophie and a lonely Big Friendly Giant (voiced by Mark Rylance) team up to save England from some really mean giants. This fanciful Steven Spielberg movie, based on the Roald Dahl book, is much better than its tepid box office would let on.
'Kung Fu Panda 3'
What's better that one Kung Fu Panda? Lots of Kung Fu Pandas! Po (Jack Black) must train his clumsy brethren to fight a supernatural villain (J.K Simmons) in this fun-filled sequel.