5 Great Green Family Flicks

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Family movie night is a great way to both relax and spend quality time together. Here are five of the most enjoyable family films that you’ll love if you’re living green, plus quotes from popular film critics! Remember, renting your movies reduces waste and saves money.

1. Wall-E Rated G

This is the #1 favorite! Delightful for all ages, Wall-E features charming characters, excellent design and a unique plot for this genre. Without the heavy doses of guilt or overdone romantic theme that are more commonly found in environmentally-themed films, it displays the potentially vast damage we can cause to our planet through the cute, teardrop eyes of a sweet little robot.

What Critics Say:
  • “…an animated film that contains not only a fully realized world as photorealistic as it is teeming with wonder, but also the Gargantuan themes and visuals of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, the kind of stripped-down sad-clown pathos reserved for classic Buster Keaton comedies, and one of the most moving love stories in a long time.” – Rotten Tomatoes
  • “That it works largely without spoken dialogue is all the more astonishing; it can easily cross language barriers, which is all the better, considering that it tells a planetary story.” – Roger Ebert
  • “The paradox at the heart of “Wall-E” is that the drive to invent new things and improve the old ones — to buy and sell and make and collect — creates the potential for disaster and also the possible path away from it.” – The NY Times

2. Ferngully: The Last Rainforest Rated G

Remember Ferngully? Adorable pixie Crysta teams up with crazy Batty and falls in love with human Zak… together they must defeat the evil Hexxus! The first animated feature to address environmental issues on the big screen, Ferngully paved the way for dozens of similar movies in the past decades. Yet it’s still a big hit with even the youngest children of this generation. That’s proof of a classic.

What Critics Say:
  • “It’s good for the young ones that they get a foreshadowed inkling about a planet facing overcrowding and under-thinking. It’s also good that — this time at least — the good guys have a fighting chance.” – Washington Post
  • “The animators did a lot of their sketches on location in the rain forest, and the visuals are very pleasing. The story tells a useful lesson, the jungle inhabitants are amusing, and although the movie is not a masterpiece it’s pleasant to watch for its humor and sweetness.” – Roger Ebert
  • “… a lush, dramatically drawn rain forest… {”Ferngully” has) conservation, pollution and junk food, subjects that may not be entirely riveting for children but that are ostensibly close to parental hearts.” – The NY Times

3. Avatar Rated PG-13

Recently popular Avatar brought the environmentally-minded film into the world of 3-D animation. It made more money, even accounting for inflation, than any movie ever before. With groundbreaking graphics, a colorful cast of characters and inter-species romance, many people enjoyed this movie. Unlike the other films we have mentioned so far, Avatar is rated PG-13 and it is for a good reason. If you have teenagers, they may enjoy this film, but we wouldn’t recommend viewing it with children.

What Critics Say:
  • “It’s a trippy sci-fi tale about an ex-Marine, trained to fight an indigenous people, who comes to understand the tribal culture in ways that make him terribly conflicted about annihilating them.” – Philadelphia Inquirer
  • “It contains so much. The human stories. The Na’vi stories, for the Na’vi are also developed as individuals. The complexity of the planet, which harbors a global secret. The ultimate warfare, with Jake joining the resistance against his former comrades. Small graceful details like a floating creature that looks like a cross between a blowing dandelion seed and a drifting jellyfish, and embodies goodness. Or astonishing floating cloud-islands.” – Roger Ebert
  • “Mr. Cameron lays out the fundamentals of the narrative efficiently, grabbing you at once with one eye-popping detail after another and on occasion almost losing you with some of the comically broad dialogue.” – The NY Times

4. March of the Penguins Rated G

A documentary that kids will love! Follow the family of penguins as they march away from home to the frozen breeding ground they instinctively revisit every winter. Monogamous penguin couples have just one egg each, and both Mother and Father take turns doing what is necessary for the health of the baby. Mother lays the egg, Father keeps it warm for months while Mother restores her own health and retrieves food to bring back to the baby. She then takes over baby duty and the weary Father goes out to find food for himself so that he can survive – and the cycle of life continues!

What Critics Say:
  • “A story of love and, more strikingly, survival, MARCH OF THE PENGUINS is a stirring, eye-opening, and educational experience.” – Rotten Tomatoes
  • “When they fall over, they do it with a remarkable lack of style. And for all the walking they do, they’re ungainly waddlers. Yet they are perfect in their way, with sleek coats, grace in the water and heroic determination.” – Roger Ebert
  • “The feeling that these creatures are brave, indomitable souls surviving unimaginable physical hardship for the sake of their families is inescapable.” – The NY Times

5. FLOW: For Love of Water No Rating

This heavy-hitting documentary makes the World Water Crisis an issue that anyone can understand. It demonstrates the problems but also some of the practical solutions currently in place. It is sobering but also offers hope. The heaviness of the subject is best reserved for older kids (preteens, teens) and adults.

What Critics Say:
  • “Director Irena Salina travels the world … to a small village in India litigating against Coca-Cola, which not only steals their water but dumps toxic waste on their farms and calls it free fertilizer… see Michigan activists fighting to keep Nestle from draining its state of its water to sell in bottles.” – Seattle PI
  • “… a speaker quotes Chief Seattle, who referred to the white man’s 19th-century colonization of the United States: “He kidnaps the Earth from his children, and he does not care.” If so, wars may soon be fought not over oil but over another form of liquid gold.” – Charlotte Observer
  • “Naming names and identifying culprits (hello, World Bank), “Flow” is designed to awaken the most somnolent consumer. At the very least it should make you think twice before you take that (unfiltered) shower.” – NY Times

Pop some homemade popcorn, grab a big, organic cotton blanket, and save electricity by turning off the lights. Then enjoy your very own Green Family Film Festival this summer!

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One Comment for “5 Great Green Family Flicks”

  • NicoleNo Gravatar

    Wall-E is a great film! Such cute robot characters

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