Five Children’s Movies to Stream Now

This month’s picks include a stereotype-defying shape-shifter, superpowered shelter pets and the newest “Guardians of the Galaxy” adventure.

By Dina Gachman


Watch it on Netflix.

Nimona is a shape-shifter, a monster, a misunderstood hellion with a heart of gold. Voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz, the title character busts into a futuristic world where knights defend the castle and the powerful might not be as benevolent as they’d like the citizens to believe. Based on a best-selling graphic novel by ND Stevenson and directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane (who also co-directed “Spies in Disguise”), this 2023 animated feature from Netflix gives young children a mile-a-minute main character who slides between “good guy” and “bad guy” status, defying the usual stereotypes. Stevenson has called the story a transgender allegory, and the L.G.B.T.Q. representation is a welcome change from the usual kids’ movie universes, where knights fall in love with princesses, not with each other. Here, Riz Ahmed voices Ballister Boldheart, a knight who has been wrongly accused of murdering Queen Valerin (Lorraine Toussaint). Ballister reluctantly allows Nimona to help him take down a corrupt system, prove his innocence and reunite with his partner, Ambrosius Goldenloin (Eugene Lee Yang). As a character, Nimona has zero chill and might prove a little tough for adults to watch for any length of time, but my son was entertained by the character’s constant motion, chaotic energy and what-will-come-next transformations.

‘Miraculous: Ladybug & Cat Noir, The Movie’

Watch it on Netflix.

Many youngsters will already be familiar with the hit French series “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir,” about two Parisian teen superheroes named Marinette (voiced by Cristina Vee for the English-speaking cast) and Adrien (Bryce Papenbrook), who secretly transform into Ladybug and Cat Noir to save their city from villains. They’re members of The Miraculous, a group of protectors who vanquish evil all over the world. This time, the superheroes get nearly two hours of screen time to join forces and stop the evil Hawk Moth (Keith Silverstein) from unleashing destruction throughout the City of Light. Directed by Jeremy Zag, who co-wrote the screenplay with Bettina López Mendoza and also wrote the songs, the 2023 movie amps up the action, with plenty of scenes in which Ladybug and Cat Noir fly over Parisian landmarks and battle the bad guys. There are musical numbers, moments of valor, and enough silly humor and flirty banter between the real-life teenagers and their alter egos to keep elementary-age kids watching. The vibrant reds and purples that make the series stand out visually are on full display, and the same girl power theme that defines the series carries over to the film.

‘Heroes of the Golden Mask’

Rent it on Amazon Prime and Vudu.

In this Arcana Studios 2023 production directed by Sean Patrick O’Reilly, an orphan named Charlie (voiced by Kiefer O’Reilly) is trying his best to survive on the mean streets of his city. Just as Charlie is about to get nabbed by the cops for another petty crime, a door opens and a strange figure offers him a quick escape in the form of a magic portal. Charlie hops through, and he’s transported to an ancient Chinese kingdom called Sanxingdui. He meets an unlikely group of golden-masked superheroes who tell Charlie they need his help defeating a ruthless enemy set on conquering the kingdom. At first Charlie schemes to help the heroes with the secret intention of taking the golden masks, but lessons are learned and Charlie discovers that money and greed aren’t the most important things in life. The animation looks a little like a low-budget video game, and the writing and performances are definitely not awards-season worthy, but Patton Oswalt voices a blue ogre named Aesop, Ron Perlman voices Kunyi, and Christopher Plummer, before his death, voiced the character Rizzo. It’s a bit of a mishmash, but if your kid is craving swordplay, winged tigers and dragons that look like they mated with a moose, give this one a try.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

Watch it on Disney+.

The final installment of the director James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy, released in May, might not go down as the best of the three, but it should entertain older elementary school and middle school kids who’ve come to love Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Drax (Dave Bautista). When we meet back up with the Marvel gang, Star-Lord is grieving Gamora, who died in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Never fear, though! Gamora (sort of) returns to the crew in the form of a time-traveling variant, but this Gamora has no memory of her relationship with Peter. The story largely centers on Rocket, and the Guardians’ attempts to save his life and take down the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), an evil scientist who created Rocket and who is now intent on mutiny. Cooper brings some genuine emotion to Rocket’s journey, and Iwuji portrays a formidable villain.

‘DC League of Super-Pets’

Watch it on Max.

One could easily imagine this movie being pitched in a conference room: An animated superhero movie, but about their pets! The delightful simplicity of it would be tough to pass up. Here, we have Dwayne Johnson voicing Superman’s dog, Krypto, a pup whose favorite chew toy is a little squeaky Batman doll. Youngsters won’t care about the voices behind the adorable super-pets, but Kevin Hart, Keanu Reeves, Kate McKinnon, Natasha Lyonne and Marc Maron make a formidable cast. Krypto was sent to Earth as a puppy to look after Superman (voiced by John Krasinski), so the two have a sweet bond that might make both children and adults feel a little weepy because dogs are the best. Krypto can fight crime, but he’s a misfit when it comes to relating to non-superhero dogs. When Superman proposes marriage to Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde), he takes Krypto to a shelter to meet some other dogs, so he won’t feel like a third wheel, and just like that, a league of super-pets is formed. With a screenplay by the “Lego Batman Movie” writers Jared Stern and John Whittington, this 2022 charmer, directed by Stern and Sam Levine, has enough action, sweetness and humor to warrant multiple viewings.

Dina Gachman is an Austin-based writer. More about Dina Gachman

Site Index

Site Information Navigation

Source: Read Full Article