Image courtesy of Digital Trends

By Katherine Kaderabek

Onward – Disney’s newest film release, starring Tom Holland, is sure to entertain families for an evening. The film is centered around two kids who are determined to bring their father back to life for a day; it follows them through a mystical land on a journey to find magic that will help them. Transversed with unicorns, mermaids, and pegasi, the magical world of Onward incorporates both the fantastical realism of myths with modern-day technology and lifestyle to create a fun, adventurous film.

Frozen II – Disney Plus released this title early in response to the quarantine as a way to motivate people to stay home, and entertain the energized kids who now have to adjust to a constant at home lifestyle. Filled with show-stopping songs, this movie is just as entertaining and unpredictable as the first movie. With touching, heartfelt moments that will leave audiences emotional, the film balances its rather intense scenes with many happy, vibrant moments. This pairing of both sentimental and exciting scenes creates a whirlwind of a film that will keep viewers watching for the entire film. 

The Clone Wars: The Final Season – For fans of Star Wars, the final season of The Clone Wars was recently released on Disney Plus. This seven-season show follows both new and known characters as they battle for control of the empire in The Clone Wars. Set between prequel movies two and three, the show is bittersweet in that it features Anakin Skywalker before his turn to the Dark Side. For loyal fans or for anyone looking to binge a series, this is a great show to watch that will keep viewers engaged and entertained throughout. 

Toy Story 4 – In the final installment of the Toy Story series, Woody and the gang take their adventure to a new town after being accidentally left by owner Bonnie at a campsite. With new fearsome villains that will leave audiences feeling sympathy for the plight of all of the innocent toys, Toy Story 4 is a great lesson in treating others and our belongings with respect. The ending is rather emotional and unexpected, but it leaves audiences satisfied with the fate of all of Andy’s toys. This film won an Oscar for Best Animated Film and is great for a Friday night family movie. 

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets – This movie is the second installment of National Treasure and follows the same beloved treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) as he attempts to find a lost city of gold before the self-seeking adventurers do. This film is taken more internationally than the first one, sending the Gates team to England, Paris, Washington D.C., and even South Dakota. This time, Ben enlists the help of his estranged parents to find the lost city. In this film, Ben will go to new lengths in order to save the treasure and his family, even if it means kidnapping the president of the United States. With the same loveable characters of the first movie, this film is sure to put audiences in good spirits. 

Oliver and Company – Another old-school film, Oliver and Company is an animal-like twist on the classic story of Oliver Twist. A cat who finds himself in the company of grueling street-dogs, Oliver must adapt to his surroundings on a daily basis. When he gets adopted by a rich and lonely girl Penny, Oliver’s loyalty to the streets shifts, leaving his new-found friends upset and wounded. A money-hungry villain begins to go  after Oliver and his new owner, and it will take the help of his old street friends in order to save them all. With a great soundtrack and loveable characters, Oliver and Company is a great family-friendly movie for all ages. 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit – This 1998 live-action and animated film is a movie-classic. It follows a detective as he investigates the murder of toon legend Marvin Acme. At the same time, he finds himself amidst the investigation of Jessica Rabbit aiming to uncover whether or not she is having an affair. With betrayal being a constant threat, detective Eddie Valiant can only trust suspected-murderer Roger Rabbit as the authorities chase down the pair across ToonTown. Roger insists on his innocence, but if he didn’t kill Acme, then who did? With an ending no one sees coming, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an investigative, fast-paced movie for the whole family. 

X-Men – The entire X-Men cartoon series is now available on Disney Plus, featuring some fan-favorite X-Men characters including Wolverine, Storm, and Charles Xavier. The series follows the X-Men as they battle villain after villain, including ones in their own city. The show surprisingly deals with the topic of prejudice against the X-Men for something they can’t control: the way they look. The show very successfully handles these “adult concepts” for children and is a great choice to entertain the kids for an afternoon. 

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen – Set before Lindsay Lohan’s breakdown, she stars in this film as a young high school transfer student obsessed with maintaining the spotlight – even if it means lying about it. The movie is a blast from the past, featuring all of the staples of a genuine early 2000s film. With several musical numbers, a loveable best friend, and a classic 2000s heartthrob who graces the screen, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen is a dramatic, laugh-filled film perfect for watching with a group of friends. 

The Rescuers – Another forgotten animated Disney classic, The Rescuers proves that no matter your size, you can always make a difference – even if you are a mouse. Following mice agents Bernard and Bianca into the dark, swampy marshes in order to rescue a stolen orphan Penny, these rescuers will stop at nothing until she is safe. This means facing down angry crocodiles, taking flight on seagulls’ wings, and attempting to find a precious and extraordinary diamond. This rather undiscovered gem is great for a family movie night. With concept art that is both beautiful and haunting, the film is visually stimulating and entertaining for the whole family.

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