10 best family movies of 2013 - Catholic Courier

10 best family movies of 2013

By John Mulderig
Catholic News Service

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

CNS photo by Columbia

Animated characters are seen in the movie “Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs 2.”

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2” is a cheerful animated comedy in which the young inventor (voice of Bill Hader) of a machine that turns water into food learns that the device, which he thought had been disabled, has continued to function. Directors Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn’s sequel serves up colorful fun while elevating friendship and teamwork over egotism (A-II, PG).

The Croods

CNS photo by DreamWorks

Animated characters appear in the movie “The Croods.”

Beautifully rendered and refreshingly good-humored, “The Croods” follows the adventures of the Stone Age family of the title — voiced by Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener and Emma Stone — as they face the perils of climate change. Directors and co-writers Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco spin a diverting tale that also carries an intriguing Christian subtext.

Despicable Me 2

CNS photo by Universal

Animated characters Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, Margo, voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Agnes, voiced by Elise Fisher, and Edith, voiced by Dana Gaier, are seen in the movie “Despicable Me 2.”

In the sweet animated sequel “Despicable Me 2,” the never very wicked and now thoroughly reformed villain of the original film (voice of Steve Carell) teams with a secret agent (voice of Kristen Wiig) to identify the perpetrator of a crime of global significance. Co-directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin’s thoroughly endearing comedy showcases the transformative power of both romantic love and family affection.

Ender’s Game

CNS photo by Summit

Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield star in a scene from the movie “Enders’ Game.”

Ender’s Game,” an enlightened and well-wrought science-fiction movie, focuses on a 12-year-old (Asa Butterfield) chosen to lead Earth’s military forces against an alien race that 50 years earlier tried to colonize the planet, resulting in the deaths of millions. Director and screenwriter Gavin Hood highlights a salubrious message about the moral pitfalls of war (A-II, PG-13).


CNS photo by Fox

A slug named Mub, voiced by Aziz Ansari, and MK, voiced by Amanda Seyfried, are seen in the animated movie “Epic.”

Epic” is a pleasant animated fantasy in which a 17-year-old girl (voice of Amanda Seyfried) finds herself magically transported to a miniature world within nature where the champions of growth and life battle the dark forces of decay. Enhanced by some lovely imagery, director Chris Wedge’s cheerful journey into the undergrowth sends messages about environmental stewardship, teamwork and responsibility.


CNS photo by Disney

Animated characters Hans, voiced by Santino Fontana, and Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, are pictured in the 3-D movie “Frozen.”

In co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s animated musical “Frozen,” the new queen (voice of Idina Menzel) of a mythical kingdom accidentally unleashes her power to create ice and snow, causing an eternal winter. This good-natured film has a nice message about the enduring bonds of family as well as a few religious overtones likely to please believers.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

CNS photo by Warner Bros. Pictures

Ian McKellen stars as Gandalf in a scene from the movie “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” director Peter Jackson’s second installment in a trilogy of films based on Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, finds a once-timid hobbit (Martin Freeman) continuing his courageous quest to help a group of dwarves (led by Richard Armitage) recapture their ancestral stronghold from the terrifying dragon (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch) who displaced them. Implicit warnings against the corrupting influence of wealth and power accompany his adventures (A-II, PG-13).

Jack the Giant Slayer

CNS photo by Warner Bros.

Sentry Giant, a digitally animated character voiced by Peter Elliott, is seen in the movie “Jack the Giant Slayer.”

Jack the Giant Slayer” is a fun fable in which the romance between a peasant boy (Nicholas Hoult) and a princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) is imperiled when a beanstalk of his own unwitting creation suddenly sprouts up, carrying her aloft to a land of people-eating giants. Director Bryan Singer’s faith-tinged retelling of the classic fairy tale is set in an alternate version of the Middle Ages where characters freely acknowledge God (A-II, PG-13).

Monsters University

CNS photo by Disney

Animated characters appear in the movie “Monsters University.”

Monsters University,” director Dan Scanlon’s animated prequel to the 2001 hit “Monsters, Inc.,” centers on two best pals (voices of Billy Crystal and John Goodman) were not, it seems, always so fond of one another. This tale of the duo’s college years reinforces familiar but important messages for young people (and their parents): Make friends, study hard and apply your unique talents for the greater good (G — general audiences).


CNS photo by DreamWorks

Turbo, center, voiced by Ryan Reynolds, is shown in a scene from the animated movie “Turbo.”

Aesop’s fable of the tortoise and the hare gets a Formula One makeover in the rollicking animated comedy “Turbo” as a garden snail’s (voice of Ryan Reynolds) wish for super speed is unexpectedly granted after a freak accident. Director and co-writer David Soren’s warmhearted family adventure champions the underdog and upholds the bonds of familial love.

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Unless otherwise noted, the Catholic News Service classification for the films on this list is A-I — general patronage, while their MPAA rating is PG — parental guidance suggested, some material may not be suitable for children.

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