A type of film aimed at the children's market and/or made for family viewing. Usually consisting of comedies or adventures, these films are often based on children's literature and can involve any number of helpful animals, friendly supernatural beings and fantasy worlds, all geared to stimulate and appeal to the imagination. Whatever the situation, there is little or no offensive material and generally a lesson is learned on the way. Though Hollywood had tapped into the family market in the '20s and '30s, it was arguably the 1939 version of The Wizard Of Oz that set the mold for the children's film, and many films after The Wizard used the idea of a journey through myriad obstacles in an imaginary kingdom (The 5000 Fingers Of Dr. T (co-written by beloved author Dr. Seuss) Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory and The Neverending Story). In the family adventure, the members of a family battle the elements or benign evildoers, always to triumph over evil in the end. Disney specialized in these films with entries like The Swiss Family Robinson, as well as specializing in live-action comedy/adventure films based on fantastic premises that delighted children (The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Love Bug). The video-market boom of the 1980s and 1990s increased the demand for children's/family films, with production companies scrambling to get more product out for the consumer and family films reaching a new level of popularity.
The lavish MGM production of L. Frank Baum's children's book may have lost a million dollars on its initial release, but its songcraft, technical artistry, star-making performance from Judy Garland, and unexpected TV … More~ Lucia Bozzola
The runways in Disney's Planes are paved with good intentions, but an overreliance on exhausted underdog tropes and a lazy central irony prevent it from truly soaring into the clouds. Strictly for the seven-and-under … More~ Jason Buchanan