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For family nights, you may want to rethink the activities you’ll do with the kids. Going for the typical superhero movies won’t cut it on certain nights, as varying tastes will surely make your head scratch on keeping it together. But fret not, here’s a surefire suggestion: Studio Ghibli films! The Japanese animation company has been killing it with its original movies, which are always filled with childlike-wonder as well as a deep understanding of life.
Besides these films from Studio Ghibli, you can also check out this article that contains some of the best movies for kids that surely your kids will love.
Why Studio Ghibli?
Before treating your kids to these films, though, you’d need to gauge their maturity levels. Or lack thereof. While most of the films from the acclaimed studio are always pleasing to watch – partly because of the sublime music scoring, there are controversial scenes and sequences in some movies which may be confusing or even too intense for your child’s sensibilities.
Suffice it to say; these films are some of the best movies for kids to watch on any given day. But make sure you’re always in the vicinity or with the kids when watching them. This way, when one or two of them gets particularly upset, you’d be there to comfort and explain. Either way, here are the best movies from the studio for your entertainment:
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
A favorite among kids ages 4 and up, My Neighbor Totoro explores the mysteries of having a mythical neighbor that helps in realizing how precious life is. Mei and Satsuki transfer to a new house in the province, with a looming tree that hides many secrets. They soon befriend a spirit named Totoro.
Considerably the work that put Hayao Miyazaki on the map, My Neighbor Totoro is as classic as it could be. It takes your kid into a journey of being pure in a world where sometimes the adults are not the people they seem to be. It talks of perseverance and dedication, as well as standing up for the things you love.
Spirited Away (2001)
One of the studio’s later films, Spirited Away, is packed full of imagery and details from Japanese folklore that the majority of it might need to be rewatched for better understanding. The level of depth from this movie certainly will create a fascination for your kids, but there are also characters in the movie, which they may find jarring.
When it was first released, Spirited Away broke all box-office records in Japan. The movie struck a chord with audiences in different demographics because of its themes of self-discovery, persistence, and the value of humility. Of course, as with any Hayao Miyazaki film, the quest element is key. Chihiro needs to work for a wizened witch in order to save her parents, who transformed into pigs.
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Another great recent feature film from Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle probably is the film with the most Western flair to it. With voice acting from Christian Bale as the wizard, the film is an adventure that any kid will be drawn to. The protagonist is a young girl, who lives an uneventful life, embarks on an adventure of a lifetime.
Howl’s Moving Castle is perfect for a lazy weekday night. The movie is pleasant to watch through and through, peppered with some comedic situations and unrelenting thrill. The movie instills the values of love despite imperfections, as well as making the most out of the life given to you. Word of caution though, you need to be present with the kids while watching this movie, as themes of war, young love, and jealousy are present.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Few Studio Ghibli films have the power and depth of Princess Mononoke. The 1997 drama inspired by the conservation of the environment takes you to a journey through the 14th century, where industrialization threatens the home of a tribe’s young Princess.
It’s a heavy film to process for kids so it might be better if you wait until they’re in their early teenage years to watch it. Make sure you are in the room while it is on as well. While the movie will make your kids understand the value of a harmonious relationship, it also has themes of war and violence.
Studio Ghibli movies always have that something extra special in them that makes every release timeless. The animation, art, and graphics are second to none, plus there’s always something to be learned from it. So while young, treat your kids to these masterpieces. Do some additional research on the themes of each title and ultimately decide if it’s the right time for your kids to watch it.