Festive Family Flicks: The Best Holiday Movies 2011
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Holiday burnout can reroute even the most picture-perfect family into tantrum town. Shuttling kids from party to party, making nice with distant relatives and cramming everyone under one roof could have your clan gritting their teeth through the holiday season. The perfect prescription to ease holiday fatigue is a night out at the movies, guaranteeing at least 90 minutes of complaint-free relaxation. Before you buy the tickets and popcorn, pick the flicks your kids will love with our guide to this year's best holiday movies.
Happy Feet 2; Rated PG, Nov. 19th (Ages 2+)
If your kids loved the fast-paced story from Happy Feet, the concept continues with Mumble's own son's reluctance to dance. Joined by a cast of new characters—including two krill voiced by Matt Damon and Brad Pitt—Mumble's son Erik learns about dancing by heart and powerful changes in the Antarctic. Thanks to bright coloring, plenty of current songs and even some adult-centric humor, Happy Feet 2 is excellent for the entire family, including smaller toddlers and preschoolers. Gauge your child's readiness based on individual factors, but Happy Feet 2 should delight kids two and up.
The Muppets; Rated PG, Nov. 23rd (Ages 3+)
The Muppets are almost synonymous with the best holiday films, which is why the latest installment is right on time. The world's biggest Muppet fan discovers a plot to destroy the Muppet theater and works with the entire crew to raise the $10 million needed for the Muppets' salvation. Younger kids will love their first exposure to the Muppets, while older children and parents can hang out with their favorite characters—Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie, Animal and the crew—for a night. Since the movie is two hours long, watch out for little wigglers who have trouble sitting still for long periods of time and save this flick for kids from 3 to 93.
Hugo; Rated PG, Nov. 23rd (Ages 8+)
Hugo, arguably one of the most inventive pictures of the 2011 holiday film season, follows the story of an orphan who lives in a Parisian train station. Hugo stumbles upon a broken machine and a mysterious girl who lead him on an adventure that could change his life. While the movie was shot and is presented in 3D, it's not animated and is generally best for older children. If your kids over the age of 8 loved the Narnia films, Hugo will enrapture their imaginations for a night.
Arthur Christmas; Rated PG, Nov. 23rd (Ages 2+)
A 3D animated film, Arthur Christmas is perfect for your entire family, young and old alike. A story about how Santa is actually able to deliver all of the presents in just one night, Arthur must help to ensure that Christmas is pulled off without a hitch. Clearly aimed at the younger set, your little ones will love the bright story, the kid-centric humor and the unlikely hero, making Arthur Christmas a great film to become a new tradition with even the youngest members of your family.
A Warrior's Heart; Rated PG, Dec. 2nd (Ages 12+)
If you have teens or preteens at home who are too cool for animated holiday offerings with the family, make a movie night to see A Warrior's Heart. Starring Twilight heartthrobs Ashley Green and Kellan Lutz, the movie is the story of a high school lacrosse player coping after the death of his father. A mild love story appropriate for any age, 12 to 16 year olds will especially love seeing their favorite vampires in new roles.
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