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During this global pandemic – dealing with the Corona health crisis – many parents or older siblings will surely be struggling with either attempting to constantly entertain their children or have to sit through dozens of hours of mindless cartoons that make you want to fall into a coma to avoid the simply appalling series/films that seem to interest them. So this is a page dedicated to your needs. A page for babysitters, parents, older siblings to young little ones, anyone that spends time with kids, and struggles to find movies (and shows) that both generations will not only endure but actually actively enjoy. Feline or canine friends are always welcome to join of course..
I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time babysitting young kids as someone with a terrible spine – a lot of hospital time gave me the time to sit through many agonizing hours of watching inane innocuous and painful series about multicolored ponies with terrible scripts and animation. But through this time, I then sifted through the mediocrity… and found some gems that were incredibly entertaining and constructed with both adults and children in mind. The content, script, animation, subject matter, all of these things taken into account, creating some unique and intriguing films and series. So below is a list of films, first, and then series that are extremely enjoyable to sit down to, whether you’re an occasional babysitter, or a full-time parent who needs some media that’s stimulating for you and simultaneously entertaining for your kids. Take a pick from the list below and work your way through them.
Ferngully: The Last Rainforest – Available on Hulu
First and foremost – a favorite and a classic. This 1992 film boasts an impressive cast of Robin Williams and the self-titled Cheech & Chong along with some other highly colorful characters. It follows a human’s journey to the fairy world within the rainforest and subtly tackles topics such as deforestation, global warming, human involvement in climate change, and destruction of rainforests and ecosystems; whilst entertaining your children with catchy tunes and miscellaneous winged characters. Well worth a watch for all generations & is a personal favorite to the Happi Hippi. During this current pandemic – it has never been more important than it is right now to instill different ideologies into the minds of the youth. Expressing importance on preservation and conservation of wildlife and the planet rather than pushing consumerism and greed. This film projects the message that all human life should be striving to uphold. On top of that its highly entertaining, and has some literal magic, throw it on the tv and enjoy!
This 1999 film was the basis and inspiration for an endless list of any boy meets robot companion stories that have saturated the market since its release. The cast hails Jennifer Aniston playing the protagonist’s mom along with a familiar cast of big-screen favorites. The timeless tale follows a young Hogarth Hughes who happens across a gigantic robot and befriends him, chaos ensues whilst trying to keep a secret friend the size of a skyrise building hidden from the rest of his life. It’s a coming-of-age tale that even if it wasn’t a childhood favorite and rests comfortably in your nostalgic memories you’ll enjoy experiencing it at any age.
Treasure Planet – Available on Disney+
This is a 2002 film that boasts some big names in its cast, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emma Thompson among others. It’s an intergalactic adventure, combining ships and sailor themes with the extraordinary event of space travel. The film is a surprisingly well-animated one, the animators who created this were above the average ones being used in Disney and Pixar’s films at that time. With a fairly postmodern twist in the film, it employs a range of devices that intrigue the viewers and is very child friendly. One that literally brings the tales and stories we tell our children before bedtime, to life.
The Land Before Time – Available on Hulu
This film was released in 1988 and tells the tale of several young dinosaurs that due to a gigantic earthquake and volcanic eruptions get separated from their parents and make the arduous and age-old ‘coming-of-age’ journey to find their families. It’s a nostalgic watch for anyone that was born and grew up in the 90s and an immensely enjoyable watch for kids if the little ones I babysit are to be trusted. Family-friendly and enjoyable for whatever adult is viewing.
Gravity Falls – Available on Hulu & Disney+
This series follows two kids (Dipper and Mabel Pines) who are shipped off to their uncle Stan’s house in the mysterious setting of the Town “Gravity Falls”. You start to really appreciate the animation in it, the base characters are quite simplistically drawn but the surrounding locations are increasingly detailed. (Again this is a series where the animation beyond the base characters gets mind-bogglingly brilliant.) It is in leagues with Rick & Morty – both incredibly intelligent, witty, and brilliant – one of my top 10 ultimate favorite shows – a solid 8.9 on IMDB and 91% on rotten tomatoes. Trust me, there is a reason for these ratings. I cannot recommend this enough – the story on a whole is actually a lot bigger & more intelligent than you’d think so its perfect and entertaining for your kids and endlessly intriguing for you the adult.
Over The Garden Wall – Available on Hulu
This was a show that took me by surprise when I first happened across it. Its structure is quite unique in that it was made as a mini-series but created even more irregularly than most of its kind. It has ten episodes but each episode is between 9-11 minutes in length so you can finish the series in one sitting. Whilst initially it seems like it could be a series that is fairly primitive in content with elegant and creative animations, the further into it you get you to begin to pick up on deep metaphors, the use of allusion and pastiche and social commentary on certain sociological and societal issues. It will catch you off guard and is very much worth a watch. It’s also completely child-friendly with no inappropriate content so safe for all ages to sit down to. For adults/adolescents, the recommendation would be to watch it in full in the evening as there’s not too much viewing time involved. The story follows two brothers Greg and Wirt as they traverse the lands on an epic adventure that has more than a few interesting twists.