5 Great Movies to Give as Gifts

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Great Movies to Give as Gifts | family movie reviews | gift ideas

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Each year at Christmas time, I try to give each child a movie as part of his or her gift. We’re a movie-watching family, and so these gifts can become rather sentimental; they’re tied to the experience of watching the films together as a family.

Over the last month we’ve had the opportunity to watch some fabulous films. I’ve been thrilled to have something fun and family-friendly for our movie nights. Some we rented. Others I was sent to review. One we even splurged at the movie theater for. All will make great gifts this holiday season.

Great Movies to Give as Gifts | family movie reviews | gift ideasThe Croods

Based on the summertime trailers that I had seen of The Croods, I assumed it was going to be a crass and disgusting movie of the Dumb and Dumber genre, only for little kids. We rented it on Amazon in a moment of desperation.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about this film. Talk about false advertising! This film about a family of cavemen finally stepping out of the confines of their fears and cave was really meaningful. It’s about loving your family and being willing to sacrifice everything for them. It’s full of humor and adversity and triumph.

It got rave reviews from FishPapa, which is saying something. Trust me.

Great Movies to Give as Gifts | family movie reviews | gift ideasEpic

Again, this is a movie for which I had very low expectations. I didn’t know much about it, but again, we rented it one Friday night when we couldn’t find anything else. It was amazingly good!

The storyline takes place in two worlds: ours, where Mary Katherine and her scientist dad try to rebuild their relationship after the parents’ divorce and the mom’s subsequent death and the land of the Leafmen, an itty bitty society of small people who race about at light speed.

I watched the film twice in one 48-hour period. I cried twice, despite the fact that I already knew the ending. It’s truly a moving film about love, life, and being torn between two worlds. The film’s creator, William Joyce, lost his 18-year old daughter to brain cancer. Knowing the back story makes the film all the more poignant.

Great Movies to Give as Gifts | family movie reviews | gift ideasPlanes

Disney sent us the Blu-ray copy of Planes to review. FishBoy11 claims that it is better than either Cars movie. In my mind, that’s saying a lot.

Due to a busy hockey weekend, the littles saw this before I did. In fact, they might have watched it twice. Ahem. They had no problem watching it a third time with me on a wet, rainy afternoon.

At first I thought it was going to be a rip-off of the Cars movies, but about halfway through, it came into its own. It’s a racing/underdog/common man story with hints of Ratatouille in it. We all really enjoyed it.

It’s got a little more innuendo than the other films, but nothing over the top. Just a little more than I remember from Disney.

Great Movies to Give as Gifts | family movie reviews | gift ideas Despicable Me 2

We saw Despicable Me 2 in the theaters earlier this year. Universal sent me the Blu-ray to review. It was just as much fun the second time as it was the first.

Gru, now the adoptive father of Edith, Agnes, and Margot, is a stay-at-home dad/jam and jelly entrepreneur. But, when a secret spy agency contacts him, well, he’s tempted to rethink his career choices.

The film is full of the same animated slapstick from the previous film. The girls and minions and even Gru are just as loveable as they were the first time around.

Great Movies to Give as Gifts | family movie reviews | gift ideasThor: The Dark World 

As you know we are an Avengers/Marvel family of geeks. I admit it proudly. I love this brand and will spare no expense to see the films in theater. (Well, sort of.) Thankfully, our local theater charges only $6 a person which in this day and age in Southern California is a bargain.

Thor: The Dark World did not disappoint. In fact, I want to see it again, but will wait for the Blu-ray.

There are all kinds of twists and turns as Jane Foster and Thor reunite. Much of the action takes place in other worlds than our own which is an interesting twist to the Avenger brand. And there’s a surprise ending that I had kind of guessed at.

If you like the Avengers, then this film is worth your splurge at the theaters. We took the whole fam. The 5yo was a little antsy but nothing was too scary or weird for her. (But, she’s also pretty tough, having seen all the other movies in the series as well as The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Your mileage may vary.)

Whether you buy or rent a video with your family or take the crew to the theaters this season, these are five great films that our family enjoyed.

What great film have you seen recently?

This post does include Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in way of advertising fees. In some cases, I received review copies of the movies. All opinions are my own.

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  1. We liked all of these as well. Loved the drive home discussion sorting out just what exactly happened with Loki. Boy6 wanted to go again the next day. As we pay $10 for adults & $7 for kids we’ll have to wait for Blu-Ray.

    1. The Loki-Thor relationship has been a topic of dinnertime discussion for over a week now. We definitely have a lot of Loki sympathizers here and I do have to give him points for using brain over brawn. I’m starting to wonder if Thor has much intellect, actually….

      1. Ha, my boys (ages6&4) are very adamant about loki’s bad guy status. Mama may be the only sympathizer in this house. About Thor…even PhD girls can be dazzled by the man candy I guess.

  2. We saw the Croods in theater, simply because there was nothing else at that time “kid-appropriate”. I had never even heard of it. BEST MOVIE of the year! Original, funny, feel good and great for the WHOLE family. I bought it when it came out and my mother and youngest sister (17) came over for movie night. My sister said “I hate that I like this movie, I didn’t think I would” lol.
    Despicable Me 2 we really liked, saw it at the Drive In twice over the summer. I think it was as good as the first.
    Monster U was good too 🙂

  3. Thanks for the recommendations! We are also Marvel geeks, but we missed Thor in the theatres. It will be added to our collection as soon as the DVD is available, though!

      1. Maybe it is! Now I”ll have to check. I’m in NC. ( : I’ll be sad if we really did miss it. It costs $8.50 per person here so we only see Marvel-type movies in the theatre!

  4. I have to add Monsters University to that list. I had a full blown belly laugh in the movie and that doesn’t happen often. We loved it and I can’t wait to get that one. We like to give movies as gifts for Christmas too. It’s a tradition to watch one after we eat lunch and just want to relax after a busy morning of gifts and fun.

    1. Yep, we liked that one, too! I try to buy either a movie for the family or when I find good sales a movie for each kid, so we’ve grown our collection that way. Once the other toys have lost their interest on Christmas morning, we start a movie. Great memories.