Navigating through all the family movies that can come out over the summer months can feel like going on safari through a tropical forest.
You want to see most of them, but you don't want to feel like you wasted your money either. Hopefully a review of some of the many movies that came out this season will help.
I didn't make it to all the kid movies that were out this summer. (Monsters U was actually one I missed. Though my kids saw it and seemed to like it. My daughter's review of it was this, "You think Sully and Mike started off as friends, but you would be wrong.") I haven't made it to Planes yet. But I did see Turbo, Despicable Me 2, Smurfs 2, and Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. Below I list my reviews of these kid movies for those of you out there who aren't quite ready to let summer go, or just want to see a good movie with your kids to celebrate surviving the beginning of the school year.
Turbo- When I saw the previews for this movie it didn't stick with me. But my mom and kids wanted to go see this movie about a snail. So I went. I have to say it is a good movie. Turbo the snail dreams of being an Indy 500 racing snail. But, unfortunately, he is only super speedy in his own mind. When a freak accident changes this he is given the chance to fulfill his dreams and help some new friends at the same time. It took me a few minutes to really get into the story. But once the action really starts and Turbo begins to come into his own you find yourself cheering for him all the way. I will warn you though, at the end of this movie you may find yourself seriously craving tacos for dinner. (4/5 stars)
Despicable Me 2- Of the summer kids movies I saw this year this one was my favorite. This movie was laugh-out-loud funny. I think it was just as good as the first and the characters that are introduced are hilarious. Of course the minions steal the screen when they're on it. Gru gets promoted to save the world because of his villainous past. He also gets a partner, a new experience for him. I can't write anymore about this movie without giving away some spoilers. Again, seeing this movie made me crave Mexican food. And I saw it the very next day after watching Turbo. (5/5 stars)
Smurfs 2- I loved the Smurfs growing up as a kid, and I enjoyed the first movie. So did my kids. It was full of plenty of laughs for all of us. I would say as a sequel this one did a pretty good job. While I still didn't like it quite as much as the first one I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Smurf humor. The story premise was interesting, and there were some new characters that I really liked. The one thing I didn't like about it was Neil Patrick Harris's character, Patrick. Part of the plot revolves around his angst over his biological father's abandonment. While anyone can sympathize with this, Patrick is just plain mean throughout most of the movie. Most of this is directed at the stepfather who raised him, who is one of the new characters introduced in the movie, and one of the more likable humans. Still, by the end of the movie he manages to gain some much needed perspective and the movie has a happy ending for everyone--well except maybe Gargamel. (3/5 stars)
Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters- Overall I found this movie to be a bit of a let down for two reasons. First, it followed the story line of the actual book even less than the first movie did. Second, even if you've never read the book and could care less about doing so, the final showdown between the good and bad guys was weak. Maybe a good reason why Hollywood should craft movies based on books more like the actual stories, instead of trying to write their own. If you have kids in the 8/9 or up age range this is still a decent movie on its own despite the mediocrity of the ending. There is plenty of adventure and humor that would appeal to kids and it might even peak the interest of a reluctant reader to check out the series. I wouldn't recommend it for kids below the age of 8, as there are monsters in it that might be a little too scary for them. My star rating on a scale of 1 to 5 is 2.5.
And for those of you who like to read the books before they get made into movies, I'll include this link from Buzz Feed. I added it on to a previous post, but it applies just as much for this one.
14 Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen
In the coming weeks, check out my blog for author interviews, gardening tips and projects for fall and winter, and more book and movie reviews. Be sure to follow me on twitter at writer4kidults, or sign up by email for updates on my latest posts.
- Ann Schwarz
- I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.