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Your school holiday movie guide

Emma Watson and Dan Stevens star in the movie Beauty and the Beast.
Emma Watson and Dan Stevens star in the movie Beauty and the Beast. Disney

NOT sure what to see at the cinemas over the school holidays?

Film critic Leigh Paatsch rates the movie on offer for the Easter break, breaking them down by age group to help curate your movie experience:

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (PG, 104 min)

A scene from the movie The Lego Batman Movie.
A scene from the movie The Lego Batman Movie. Warner Bros. Pictures

*TOP PICK

Who? The voices of Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes.

What? Animated adventure-comedy. Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne are experiencing a chronic identity crisis while the Joker amasses an army of supervillains to take over Gotham City.

Well ... ? If you're taking the whole family in mass formation to the cinema this school holidays, here is the sure thing that ticks all the boxes across all ages. While matching the same high standards as the 2014 block-brick-buster The Lego Movie, this cleverly comical follow-up is not content to merely repeat former glories. So many brilliant creative ideas in play that a second viewing is almost a necessity.

WHICH AGE GROUP?

under 5yo: 3 stars

5yo - 8yo: 4 stars

9yo - 12yo: 4.5 stars

13yo+: 4.5 stars




PEPPA'S AUSTRALIAN HOLIDAY (G, 70 min)

A scene from the movie My First Cinema Experience: Peppa Pig's Australian Holiday.
A scene from the movie My First Cinema Experience: Peppa Pig's Australian Holiday. Entertainment One Films

Who? the voices of Harley Bird, Morwenna Banks, Richard Ridings.

What? Animated adventure. An all-new series of hammy high-jinks for Peppa Pig and her friends kicks off right here in Australia with a visit to her longtime penpal Kylie Kangaroo.

Well ... ? Preschoolers rarely get much love from filmmakers these days, so major props must go to the Peppa Pig brains trust for targeting this short and sweet affair at the very, very young. They will have a ball with this easy-to-follow collection of sketches, singalongs and stories. Definitely the way to go if your child has never set foot inside a cinema before. Don't make their older sis or bro sit through it though!

WHICH AGE GROUP?

under 5yo: 4.5 stars

5yo - 8yo: 3 stars

9yo - 12yo: 1 star

13yo+: 1 star



THE EAGLE HUNTRESS (G, 87 min) 

 A scene from the movie The Eagle Huntress.
A scene from the movie The Eagle Huntress. Asher Svidensky

*TOP PICK 

Who? Aisholpan Nurgaiv, Rys Nurgaiv, Daisy Ridley (narrator).

What? Documentary. Against the wishes of her nomadic tribe, 13-year-old girl trains to become the first female in over 2000 years of history to master the refined art of hunting with eagles.

Well ... ? This glorious doco leaves a warm glow and a widened mind within everyone who sees it. Little Aisholpan Nurgaiv is a heroine of the highest order - brave, resourceful and never willing to take no for an answer. The film takes you to a part of the world rarely seen (Outer Mongolia) and shows you a way of life radically different from your own. No matter your age, there is a lot to be learned (and loved) here.

WHICH AGE GROUP?

under 5yo: 1 star

5yo - 8yo: 3 stars

9yo - 12yo: 5 stars

13yo+: 5 stars



POWER RANGERS (M, 124 min)

Becky G., Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Ludi Lin, and RJ Cyler in a scene from the movie Power Rangers.
Becky G., Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Ludi Lin, and RJ Cyler in a scene from the movie Power Rangers. Contributed

Who? Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Becky G, Elizabeth Banks.

What? Superhero action adventure. A group of high-school students mysteriously are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.

Well ... ? Parents with fond memories of the very popular Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show from the 1990s could be mistaken for assuming this movie reboot will carry the same all-ages appeal. Not the case, unfortunately. High-schoolers who want a bit of grit (and a welcome jolt of girl power) with their action pulp will be very satisfied with what transpires here, but it's too violent for the 12-and-under crowd.

WHICH AGE GROUP?

under 5yo: 1 star

5yo - 8yo: 1 star

9yo - 12yo: 2 stars

13yo+: 3.5 stars 



THE BOSS BABY (G, 97 min)

A scene from the movie The Boss Baby.
A scene from the movie The Boss Baby. Contributed

Who? the voices of Alec Baldwin, Miles Christopher Bakshi, Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi.

What? Animated comedy. A business-savvy baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop a dastardly plot masterminded by the CEO of Puppy Co.

Well ... ? With so many great options on offer this holiday period right across the entertainment spectrum, you can safely miss this C-grade cartoon until it hits the home-video hustings later in the year. The title character is not all that likeable, and what might have been an enjoyable story (a war between babies and puppies for the hearts and minds of the world) is only told in fits and starts.

WHICH AGE GROUP?

under 5yo: 2.5 stars

5yo - 8yo: 1 star

9yo - 12yo: 1 star

13yo+: 1.5 stars



BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (PG, 126 min)

Luke Evans and Josh Gad in a scene from the movie Beauty and the Beast.
Luke Evans and Josh Gad in a scene from the movie Beauty and the Beast. Laurie Sparham

Who? Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Luke Evans, Josh Gad.

What? Fairytale musical. A lavish live-action makeover for the timeless animated movie musical about a spirited young woman who falls in love with a monstrous hermit prince.

Well ... ? It has been out for a few weeks now, and is well on the way to becoming one of the biggest box-office hits of 2017. So if you're yet to go, the holiday period ahead leaves you with no excuse. That two-hour running time will definitely get the better of very young viewers, but there is precious little wrong with the rest of it whenever those classic songs kick in. Doubtful the experience loses anything on a second (or third) visit.

WHICH AGE GROUP?

under 5yo: 3 stars

5yo - 8yo: 4 stars

9yo - 12yo: 4 stars

13yo+: 3.5 stars



DANCE ACADEMY: THE MOVIE (PG, 100 min)

Thomas Lacey, Dena Kaplan and Keiynan Lonsdale in a scene from the movie Dance Academy: The Movie.
Thomas Lacey, Dena Kaplan and Keiynan Lonsdale in a scene from the movie Dance Academy: The Movie. Contributed

Who? Xenia Goodwin, Tara Morice, Miranda Otto, Alicia Banit

What? Dance drama. Ever wondered what happened to the ambitious young movers and shakers of the Australian TV series Dance Academy? Turns out they're now shooting for the big time in the US.

Well ... ? The telly show has been inactive for some years, but it keeps on finding loyal fans around the world wherever it plays. This movie version is surprisingly good: very well-made, and carrying just the right balance of story and dance sequences. For children who dream of a life of fame and fortune on stage, this will certainly drive home how hard it is to make it in traditional showbiz these days!

WHICH AGE GROUP?

under 5yo: 1 star

5yo - 8yo: 2.5 stars

9yo - 12yo: 3.5 stars

13yo+: 3.5 stars



SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE (G, 87 min)

A scene from the movie Smurfs: The Lost Village.
A scene from the movie Smurfs: The Lost Village. Sony Pictures Animation

Who?: the voices of Demi Lovato, Mandy Patinkin, Julia Roberts, Ellie Kemper

What?: Animated adventure. Smurfette and her friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty embark on an exciting exploration of the Forbidden Forest, leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history.

Well ... ?: This third outing for the Smurfs is a back-to-basics affair, dispensing with the (not-so-hot) live-action stuff, and pumping up the bright and bouncy cartooning. The simplified approach makes a better fit for preschoolers and early primary schoolers. Not a lot of substance here - hey, it is the Smurfs we're talking about here! - but members of the target audience will have few complaints.

WHICH AGE GROUP?

under 5yo: 3.5 stars

5yo - 8yo: 3 stars

9yo - 12yo: 2 stars

13yo+: 1 star
 

Topics:  movies peppa pig

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