4 Family Films to See (and 2 to Skip) Before the End of the Year


    When the holidays come around, that's when studios fill the theaters with family fare, and while not all of it is worth seeing, some of those family films are the biggest releases of the year. Keep scrolling to see what's worth the price of admission, and what you can safely skip before 2017 rolls around.

    The Wild Life (Skip It)

    September 9
    A group of island animals find themselves getting friendly with Robinson Crusoe himself in this Madagascar-inspired animated ensemble. By all accounts, you can skip this by-the-numbers snoozefest and wait for some more imaginative offerings.

    Storks (See It)

    September 25
    What if all the storks gave up on delivering babies and started delivering for Amazon? (Or in the case of this fictional cartoon world, a company called Cornerstore.com...) That's the idea behind Storks, which finds Andy Samberg voicing an all-star delivery stork who accidentally creates a baby and has to tap into his latent baby-delivering skills to get the baby to its rightful home. With the lead animator behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and a cast that includes Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, and Kelsey Grammer. 

    Queen of Katwe (See It)

    September 30
    Based on the book of the same title, Queen of Katwe tells the real-life story of Phiona Mutesi, who became a Ugandan chess champion and international contender after picking up the game at a local outreach center near her war-torn home. Early reviews from the Toronto International Film Festival have praised the film's heart and its cast (David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o have big supporting roles), and while it follows the familiar pattern of a sports film, the setting and story are more than enough to make it worth seeing.

    Trolls (Skip It)

    November 4
    From the minds who brought you ShrekTrolls promises to be this season's greatest cinematic parental torment unless you're a parent who thought that Smurfs sequel was totally justified. Based on those little troll dolls with the funny hair, Trolls proves Hollywood's drive to mine nostalgia for gold truly knows no bounds or shame. We predict this one will hit DVD bargain bins before you can say, "WTF?"

    Moana (See It)

    November 23
    With beautiful animation, and top-notch songs from Hamilton scribe Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana is THE family movie to see before the end of the year. Walt Disney Animation is in the middle of a serious hot streak thanks in part to a concerted effort to better reflect socially conscious values like feminism and cultural sensitivity. Whether they're successfully expressing those values (or whether they're influencing better narratives) is another debate entirely, but if Disney is any sort of cultural bellwether at all, then Moana's prince-less Polynesian adventure princess is a good sign.

    Sing (See It)

    December 21
    Speaking of companies on a hot streak, Illumination is out to prove they can roll out consistent mid-level animated hits without the help of their all-important Minions, and after Secret Life of PetsSing could place them on par with the likes of Dreamworks. The plot can be summed up as American Idol: The Animated Movie, but all it has to do is hit its marks to be one of the more charming offerings for kids come Christmas.