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5 classic films you and your pre-teen kids will enjoy

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Relive your childhood and share the good times with your own children by watching these classic films together.

1. Watership Down (1978)

According to Watership Down’s creation legend, rabbits multiplied too quickly and created a famine, so the god Frith gave extra gifts to predators to destroy them. But he also graced rabbits with speed and cunning to help them survive. Those are skills that come in handy for a colony of rabbits who must leave their warren and find a new place to make their home. Based on the novel by Richard Adams, this animated classic shows that life as a bunny is not all cuddles and carrots…

Lessons learned: Family, safety, sticking together, trust, following instincts.

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Kids at this age are ready for a scare or two in their movies, and this stop-motion animation from the wacky mind of Tim Burton (Frankenweenie, Alice in Wonderland) is a great place to start. Jack Skellington, the “Pumpkin King” of Halloween Town, decides to kidnap Santa Claus so that he and his fellow residents can bring Christmas to the world this year. But as you can imagine, it’s a very different holiday when it is presented by a skeleton with a pumpkin for a head. This is an extremely creative movie that presents an entirely original universe.

Lessons learned: Doing what you’re good at, trying new things, listening to good advice, knowing when to quit.

3. Cloak & Dagger (1984)

Davey’s mother has passed away recently, and with his father unable to relate to him, the 11-year-old becomes obsessed with the fantasy role playing game Cloak & Dagger, which features tough-as-nails super-spy Jack Flack. Soon he’s conversing with Jack like an imaginary friend. Things get very real, though, when Davey witnesses a murder. With his dying breath the victim entrusts him with secret government plans hidden in a video game cartridge. Now Davey is on the run from spies and hitmen, with only his wits and Jack Flack’s advice to survive. Can the young boy stand a chance?

Lessons learned: Separating fantasy from reality, responsibility, reconnecting with parents, dealing with loss, making hard decisions.

4. Time Bandits (1981)

What would you do if six dwarves came tumbling out of your wardrobe one night? That’s what happens to 11-year-old Kevin. The dwarves have stolen a map of space-time and they are using it to travel to different eras to steal riches. Kevin and the dwarves fall through a void and journey through time, meeting great figures from history and evading a malevolent being called Evil who wants the map for himself. This richly imaginative caper will definitely keep your kids glued to the screen from start to finish.

Lessons learned: Teamwork, greed, history, consequences.

5. Flatland: The Film (2007)

Based on an 1884 story from author Edwin Abbot Abbot, (Ed’s note: yes, he has two abbots in his name) Flatland imagines a two-dimensional universe filled with squares, triangles, circles and other shapes. We as the viewer are treated to an overhead view to see the life of A Square and his family. It’s a dangerous time in Flatland, as President Circle is resorting to violence to hold on to power. But things change quickly for A Square, when an unimaginable visitor appears in his home: A Sphere, a being from the three-dimensional universe Spaceland. A Square is taken on a mind-blowing journey to Spaceland, where he slowly comes to understand that greater possibilities lie beyond his world. This is a great film to expand your mind and your imagination.

Lessons learned: Rules of maths, dimensional realities, politics, religion, open-mindedness.

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