I'm going to try to focus on some really great fantasy style movies that are great beginner steps. These films tend to present in almost a fairytale way, a story format that kids are familiar with, but hold some serious darkness which is always overpowered by the light of goodness, ensuring a happy ending for the little ones. When doing lists like this I will always recommend that if you see a title you are unfamiliar with watch it before you share it with your little one, every child is different and although these all work with my children they may not be so good for yours.
That being said hopefully something in here will be great for you to share with your favorite lil movie buff, make it a special time, add something fun, consider making it a theme movie party, special movie snacks, or a maybe a dress up costume to coincide with the movie. The addition of these types of fun activities is another way to help reduce the fear factor and increase the fun, you can use them to help reinforce the fact this its all good ol make believe fun! So now onto the movies (in no particular order).
Although it came out back in 1939 The Wizard of Oz is still a powerful beautiful story, and its got one of the SCARIEST witches ever in Margaret Hamiltons portrayal of The Wicked Witch of the West. She embodies evil, with her green skin and spine tingling cackle. Its a classic must watch for any young fans of the genre, and of course in the end Dorothy prevails, melting the nasty ol meanie in this timeless dark story!
Heres fine example of just how dark the 80s were! In The Dark Crystal we have the Skeksis, ugly scary cold beasts that have created horror for the Gelflings, wiping out most of their race, and are set on ruling the world. They suck the life force from sweet little Podlings in an incredibly intense scene, sort of kid version psychic vampires! This is another that stands the test of time, thanks to the genius of Jim Henson and Frank Oz two of the names behind this scary nod to the 80s!
How can you go wrong with Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie? To this day Labyrinth is still one of my absolute favorite films. This one is a bit more whimsical than some on the list with an amazing cast of characters that will make you and your children laugh out loud out weighing the scares in this one, however dont think for one second its all giggle. There are some pretty scary moments as well like that shown to the left, with the Helping Hands! And lets not forget that the story is one of kidnapping, and rescue pretty dark stuff!
I was lucky enough to see this one at the theater in 3D, easily one of the most breathtakingly beautiful films I have ever seen, so imagine my surprise when it suddenly turned to kidnap, moon blinking and slavery?!. The owlets become soldiers or picking slaves! The scene where you are first introduced to the process of Moon Blinking is particularly shocking in this one! However once again as with all on today's list good triumphs over evil, leaving the kiddies in a happy place!
Here we have the classic tale of Jack and the Bean Stalk but this version is way more Grimm than what you may expect! Where some on the list have been horror with training wheels for kids this is more of a training wheels off sort of film. For one it blends live action with incredibly well done CGI making it a bit harder for some young minds to differentiate between pretend and reality, add the incredibly scary man eating giants and the amazing scary costuming for them and its definately the most intense film listed today. If you think your kid will be ok with it it is for sure one to watch! I have watched this countless times with my lil ones, and they love it! It has definitely become a favorite in our house hold! Of course my kids were already familiar with various versions of the story which gave them a good base to start with for this film.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way get out there and make some movie memories with your family, and pass on the love of our favorite genre! Enjoy!! Heres my little monster lovers below, momma loves ya monsters :)!