If your family is anything like mine, you're becoming more and more selective when choosing family-friendly movies. As a result, you're probably finding fewer options as you search for entertainment. I'd like to suggest a handful of my family's best-loved films and give you an opportunity to recommend some of your favorites.
(Rated G) This refreshing animated film unfolds in the style of fairy tales and is packed with lessons about forgiveness, grief, grace and character. Strong messages about living with integrity, honor and truth are cleverly told with a mixture of high adventure, light-hearted fun and serious, real-life drama. The Tale of Despereaux movie seems to have just as much appeal and influence for young viewers as Kate DiCamillo's children's book by the same title. But the story also speaks to adults, who sometimes need to be reminded to take courage in the face of fear, that hope can set a prisoner free and forgiveness changes everything.
(Rated PG) Dreamer is not just the story of an amazing dream come true. It's a real-life look at how broken dreams and failed aspirations can alter the course of our lives. We discover through Dreamer that crushed desires can ultimately be God's way of fulfilling even greater dreams, if we have the courage to take the risky walk toward healing. Each character faces pain and masters fear to realize a lifetime dream. When I saw this film in the theater, the audience cheered with emotiona rare thing these days. My family applauds this movie.
(Rated PG) Four young adventurers—Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter—while playing ‘hide-and-seek’ in the country home of an old professor, stumble upon a magical wardrobe that transports them to a place they never dreamed existed. Stepping through the wardrobe door, they depart World War II London for the spectacular "alternate universe" known as Narnia—an enchanted realm inhabited by talking animals and mythological creatures. Narnia reflects the struggles, hopes and moral dilemmas of our own life, and this motion picture re-creation faithfully conveys the original story's eternal symbolism and biblical themes. Viewers will discover that Narnia, a picture of the spiritual kingdom, is much more than just fantasy or fairy tale.
(Rated PG) In Prince Caspian, viewers return with the four Pevensie children to C.S. Lewis' hauntingly unforgettable land of Narnia. The older and wiser Pevensie siblings—ancient Kings and Queens of Narnia—join forces with the young prince (Ben Barnes), a type of Moses and the true heir to the throne of Narnia, to free the captives from their oppression and deliver them back into the restored splendor of Narnia. Again, worthy of note is the faithfulness of the filmmakers in rendering to the big screen the many biblical themes that Lewis penned within original Chronicles of Narnia book.
(Rated PG) An extremely wise and wealthy grandfather gives his shallow, spoiled grandson the ultimate inheritance. In The Ultimate Gift, Jason Stevens, played by Drew Fuller, learns there's more to life than money. Instead of the expected cash windfall, "Red" Stevens (James Garner) has prepared twelve gifts to be given after his death to his grandson. The series of gifts, leading up to the ultimate gift, take Jason on a challenging journey of personal growth and self-discovery. With its aim toward inspiration and spiritual entertainment, this film hits the ultimate target.
(Rated PG-13) Like J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved fantasy novels, these films are true classics that faithfully reflect the author's Christian worldview. The stories, the characters, the other-worldly creatures, the friendships, the battles, and the great adventures across lands and kingdoms, come to breathtaking life on the big screen, just as they have played out in the hearts and minds of millions of readers over the years. The epic collection of films begins with The Fellowship of the Ring, then The Two Towers, and concludes with The Return of the King. Due to intense and graphic violence, these films are not recommended for small children.