You don’t have to be under the age of 12 to enjoy kids’ movies.
Main target demographic aside, sometimes you just want to sit back and watch a host of colourful characters — maybe of the animated variety, possibly CGI — getting out there and going on some rip-roaring adventures.
The good news is that the streaming services have us more than covered, with plenty of options to choose from on Netflix and (of course) Disney+.
But don’t overlook Amazon Prime. There might not be as many options on Prime as there are on some of the other streamers, but you can still find a hidden gem or two. From oddly existential unicorn cartoons to classics like Shrek 2, here are some of the best kids’ movies you can stream today on Prime Video.
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The Last Unicorn
Fair warning: The Last Unicorn isn’t your typical jolly, look-at-how-much-fun-we’re-all-having kind of kids’ movie. Not at all. Although there are some lighthearted moments, it’s also pretty bleak in parts — closer in tone to Watership Down than Monsters Inc. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it! If you’re a fan of the darker Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films like Spirited Away, The Last Unicorn is well worth checking out. The story — based on Peter S. Beagle’s novel and adapted by the man himself — follows the titular unicorn (voiced by Mia Farrow) on a quest to re-discover the rest of her kind. Along the way she must contend with an evil witch (Angela Lansbury), a miserable king (Christopher Lee), and the shadow of an ominous red bull that wants nothing more than to trap her forever. Extra points for the music in this one, which comes with some original songs from Jimmy Webb performed by the band America and the London Symphony Orchestra.
There’s a reason the Shrek movies were the go-to for weary teachers on a Friday afternoon. Not only are the films hugely popular even 20 years on, but they’re also a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Shrek 2, the 2004 sequel, is every bit as good as the first, following the titular character (voiced by Mike Myers), Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) as they travel to meet the latter’s parents, who turn out to be less than impressed with their daughter’s new husband. Cue a wacky adventure filled with giant gingerbread men, an evil fairy godmother, and plenty of the same dry humour mixed with silliness that made the original a hit with both children and parents.
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The Addams Family 2
The Addams are in need of some good old quality time in this sequel featuring the creepy yet timelessly loved on-screen family. The movie sees them ditch science fairs and their iconic mansion for Niagara Falls – a seemingly odd choice for a group of people who would have preferred going to Salem. The crux of the plot isn’t the holiday itself, but the unsettling prospect that Wednesday Addams (Chlöe Grace Moritz) may not be the biological child of Gomez and Morticia (voiced by Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron respectively). The latest movie is a departure from previous Addams family offerings, but its staple characters remain their true selves. This rendition is far more kid-friendly, save for a few typical Addams elements. Kooky and spooky in equal bouts, the movie is classic Addams family, which is reason enough to give it a watch. Welcome to the madhouse, indeed.
Hotel Transylvania 4: Transformania
It’s the 125th anniversary of the Hotel Transylvania, and Papa Drac (Brian Hull) is ready to pass the hotel down to his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). The only problem? His human son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg), who is visibly excited to take on the project, much to Dracula’s dismay. So begins the final Hotel Transylvania film, an Amazon Prime Original. Twists and turns are abundant here, with the characters in the Hotel Transylvania clan turning human and Johnny transforming into a gigantic dragon-like monster. Side note: Dracula as a human is wondrously down-to-earth and far less intimidating. The voice characters are perhaps the strongest element of the film, if not the exciting animation, with a giddy Samberg/Johnny shining amongst the rest. Family drama, lies, and comic mishaps occur as they move across the South African jungle, a stunning cave, and finally back to their beloved hotel for a much-awaited happy ending and a new era.
A Monster in Paris
Back in 1910 during the Great Flooding of Paris, when the Lumière brothers were already groundbreaking filmmakers and Art Deco architecture shone, A Monster in Paris (originally released in France as Un monstre à Paris) is an unexpectedly strange and moving animated film from French director Bibo Bergeron. When film-loving projectionist Emile Petit (Sébastien Desjours/Jay Harrington) and his smarmy inventor friend Raoul (Gad Elmaleh/Adam Goldberg) accidentally create an insect-like monster after breaking into a professor’s conservatory, the creature escapes into the night and finds a friend in L’Oiseau Rare cabaret singer Lucille (voiced by Vanessa Paradis in both the French and English dubs). While she’s trying to get out of her aunt’s (Julie Ferrier/Catherine O’Hara) plan to marry her off to problematic mayoral candidate Victor Maynott (François Cluzet/Danny Huston) — who, I kid you not, literally has a 2IC called Pâté — she befriends Francœur, the so-called monster (voiced by Matthieu Chedid/Sean Lennon), who shows they have more heart than some of the humans in the city. While some of the character tropes may feel slightly outdated (and some scares may put off younger kids), the film’s visuals are just exceptional.
How to watch: A Monster in Paris is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
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