With the kids back at home for a one-week holiday, here are nine movies and TV shows on Showmax that you can enjoy together before they head back to school.
Moominvalley, adapted from Tove Jansson’s beloved tales of the Moomin family, won a 2020 British Animation Award for Best Children’s Series, and was nominated at the 2020 International Emmy Kids Awards and the 2021 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, among others.
Moominvalley’s stellar voice cast includes Golden Globe winner Taron Egerton (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Rocketman) as Moomintroll; BAFTA winner Matt Berry (Poseidon in the SpongeBob movies, What We Do in the Shadows) as Moominpappa; and Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Die Another Day) as Moominmamma, not to mention the likes of Oscar and Emmy winner Kate Winslet (Mare of Easttown, Titanic), Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders, BAFTA nominees Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) and Bel Powley (The Morning Show, The King of Staten Island), and author Will Self.
The most expensive European animation series ever, Moominvalley is directed by Oscar winner Steve Box (Wallace & Gromit), produced by Emmy winner John Woolley (Shaun the Sheep), and written by award winners Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler (Peter Rabbit).
THE LEGO MOVIE
This heart-warming family movie follows Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), an unsuspecting Lego construction worker who is chosen on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant (Will Ferrell) from destroying the world.
Also lending their voices to the characters are Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, and Morgan Freeman.
Winner of the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards for Best Animated Feature, The Lego Movie was a box office hit, and the world’s first-ever full-length theatrical LEGO movie.
DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBOURHOOD S5B | Recommended for ages 3+ by Common Sense Media
You probably saw Tom Hanks’ Oscar-nominated performance last year as iconic kids TV show host Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. Now your kids can watch the Emmy-winning pre-school show Rogers created, Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood, inspired by the pioneering kids classic he hosted, Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood.
Integrating music, interactivity and a research-based curriculum, the animated hit show follows Daniel, a shy but brave four-year-old tiger who lives in the Neighbourhood of Make Believe with his family and friends. You may recognise Daniel’s voice: actor Keegan Hedley also voices Rubble in Paw Patrol.
Winner of a 2020 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood has five stars on Common Sense Media, where they praise its “seamless incorporation of preschool skills like counting and phonics”, adding, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood appeals to preschoolers on a level that only animation can, taking the opportunity to teach them important interpersonal and pre-reading skills”.
MADAGASCAR: A LITTLE WILD S1 | Recommended for ages 5+ by Common Sense Media
DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar: A Little Wild follows the early years of the Madagascar movie franchise’s heroes – Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo – as they grow up in a rescue habitat at the Central Park Zoo.
Common Sense Media recommends the series for ages 5+, saying, “Like its parent movies, Madagascar: A Little Wild focuses on friendship as well as adventure… with consistent, positive messages about being yourself, not giving up, and being willing to pursue your dreams. The upbeat musical numbers are fun, too.”
Eric Petersen was nominated for a 2021 Emmy for his voice performance as Ant’ney.
TROLLSTOPIA S1 | Recommended for ages 6+ by Common Sense Media
If your kids are hooked on the troll-ific Trolls World Tour movie from Dreamworks, we have great news: TrollsTopia – the series – catches up with Poppy and the other enchanting characters for more hair-raising adventures.
TrollsTopia takes place immediately following the events in Trolls World Tour, when Poppy discovers that there are at least six different Trolls tribes, each identified by a different musical style… Now that Poppy knows there are other musical trolls, she bottles up her endless positivity and invites delegates from every troll tribe in the forest to live together in harmony in a grand experiment she calls TrollsTopia!
TrollsTopia has a 4/5 star rating on Common Sense Media, where they say, “Kids will love the fun characters from the new tribes and how they perform catchy music in different styles. There’s lots of random silliness that will tickle this age group’s funny bones. TrollsTopia is visually beautiful with its candy-coloured world and copious amounts of glitter. Lead troll Poppy has a very high emotional intelligence, and sets a great example for how to be a good friend and how to openly communicate your feelings.”
THE CROODS: A NEW AGE | COMING SOON: FROM 4 OCTOBER 2021 | Recommended for ages 8+ by Common Sense Media
The 10th biggest movie of 2020, with a worldwide gross of $215 million, DreamWorks Animation’s “Croodaceous” adventure The Croods: A New Age follows the prehistoric Croods pack as they try to keep up with their new, more evolved neighbours, the Bettermans.
Nominated for a 2021 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, six Annie Awards and two Kids’ Choice Awards, The Croods: A New Age is a “raucous, nakedly commercial but also wickedly funny sequel”, according to The Times (UK), while Empire Magazine praises its “vibrant animation and a wackadoodle sense of humour.”
Oscar winners Nicolas Cage (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Teen Titans GO! to the Movies, Leaving Las Vegas) and Emma Stone (Cruella, La La Land), legend Cloris Leachman (Phineas and Ferb, Young Frankenstein), Oscar nominee Catherine Keener (Where the Wild Things Are, Being John Malkovich), MTV Movie Award winner Ryan Reynolds (Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Deadpool), and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Clark Duke (Veronica Mars, The Office) reprise their voice roles from the first film, while four-time Emmy winner Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones, The Angry Birds Movie) and Teen Choice nominees Leslie Mann (Rio, Knocked Up) and Kelly Marie Tran (Raya, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) join the voice cast as the Bettermans.
Also catch the Oscar-nominated original film The Croods on Showmax.
WAR WITH GRANDPA | Recommended for ages 8+ by Common Sense Media
Peter and his grandpa used to be very close, but when Grandpa Jack moves in with the family, Peter is forced to give up his most prized possession: his bedroom. Peter will stop at nothing to get his room back, scheming with friends to devise a series of pranks to drive him out. However, grandpa doesn’t give up easily, and it turns into an all-out war between the two.
The 40th biggest box office hit of 2020 globally, War With Grandpa stars Oscar winner Robert De Niro, Oscar nominee Uma Thurman, and rising child star Oakes Fegley (Pete’s Dragon, Wonderstruck), as well as Oscar winner Christopher Walken, Emmy winner Jane Seymour and multi-award-winner Cheech Marin.
War With Grandpa is recommended for ages 8+ by Common Sense Media, where they praise De Niro’s “charming performance” and say, “This impish comedy brings the whole family together with a nod to appreciating their elders just a little more.”
More titles that Primary Schoolers will enjoy include DreamWorks Animation’s latest cartoon series The Mighty Ones, the animated adventure comedy Scoob!, the Oscar-nominated fantasy Pinocchio, as well as DC Super Hero Girls S2, The Secret Garden; Shazam, all eight movies in the Harry Potter Collection and all three movies in Lord of the Rings Collection.
THE HARDY BOYS | Recommended for ages 10+ by Common Sense Media
If your family loved the spy drama Alex Rider, it’s time to book some TV time with the tweens and teens again!
Nominated for Best Young Adult Series at this year’s Emmys, The Hardy Boys is a high-action update on the classic franchise that sees teenagers Frank and Joe set out to uncover the truth behind a tragedy that has changed their lives forever, only to discover there’s something far more sinister going on in Bridgeport.
Common Sense Media recommends the show for ages 10+, cautioning that this “throwback drama is tense, a bit violent, [and] with tween snark,” but, they say, “It feels nostalgic for parents and will remind today’s kids of a less edgy Stranger Things.”
TENET | Recommended for ages 14+ by Common Sense Media
The fifth biggest box office hit globally of 2020, Tenet won the 2021 Oscar and BAFTA for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, with a further Oscar nomination for Production Design.
Directed by five-time Oscar nominee Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy), the sci-fi action thriller follows Protagonist. Armed with only one word: “Tenet”, he journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel: inversion…
Golden Globe nominee John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) was nominated for Best Actor at the 2021 Critics’ Choice Super Awards for his lead role, with MTV Movie + TV Awards, People’s Choice and Teen Choice winner Robert Pattinson (The Twilight Saga) nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films. The support cast also includes Elizabeth Debicki (The Crown’s S5-6’s Princess Diana), Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine (Inception, Alfred in Nolan’s Batman trilogy), and Oscar nominee Sir Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express), as well as Teen Choice nominee Himesh Patel (Yesterday, The Luminaries), and Clémence Poésy (In Bruges, Genius).