There are some good reasons to take the kids to the movies this Thanksgiving week. In Frozen 2, we have a long-awaited sequel that thankfully doesn’t disappoint. Maleficent Mistress of Evil is also better than I expected. The title heroine wrestles with her dark side even after she has been a mother for Sleeping Beauty. And in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Mister Rogers gets the Hollywood treatment. It’s a loving tribute to one of the kindest men who ever lived, yet it accomplishes the miraculous feat of not being too sappy.
I always love it when great family films are playing in theaters. So get your gang to the movieplex and take a nosedive into your popcorn before you feast on all that turkey.
It was deja-vu all over again this past Halloween when all the little girl trick or treaters under six were Anna or Elsa. It felt like something big was coming. Unfortunately my daughter, who was five during the first one, is over dressing up like Disney princesses. But even if she didn’t wear her tiara, and her Elsa wig is in forever storage, she was looking forward to Frozen 2.
It has a magic that just appeals to all ages. It’s hard to tell if the animation is better this time around, but Anna and Elsa’s priceless expressions are incredibly real and exquisite. In the original Frozen, Elsa had to discover how to live in the real world by controlling her magical powers. Now her powers to turn things to ice are no longer a source of agony for her. But her desire to discover the source and reasons behind her powers beckons her into the unknown. Frozen 2 can best be enjoyed by ages 5 and up.
There is a lot going on in Frozen 2, and some of the plot twists related to the magical source are a little vague, confusing, and sometimes strange. But it feels good to be back with these characters. And while a sequel to Frozen wasn’t necessary, I think this is the best we could have hoped for in a sequel.
Maleficent Mistress of Evil
Angelina Jolie is more ravishing than ever, aging backwards if that’s possible, as Maleficient in Disney’s live action retelling, and reinventing, of its animated Sleeping Beauty classic. What elevates this sequel is the presence of yet another ageless beauty: Michelle Pfeiffer. It’s so nice to see her back, and playing a conniving, icy queen. Her screen presence equals that of Jolie’s, and it’s powerful when they play off each other.
Pfeiffer is Queen Ingrith, mother to Prince Phillip. He proposes to Aurora, much to Ingrith’s disdain. But if she doesn’t like Aurora, she loathes Maleficent, seeing them as a threat to her power and beauty that she must vanquish. She instigates a nasty battle, and Maleficent almost meets her demise, except that a mysterious creature saves her. This creature is another fae like herself. In fact, a whole kingdom of them have been hiding from humans for years.
It would have been nice to see more screen time dedicated to the power and mystery of this new kingdom of fae. Overall, the sets and costumes are fantastic, making this worth a trip to the theater.
Maleficent Mistress of Evil is best reserved for ages 10+ due to some intense battle scenes and injuries sustained by the main characters.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
For thoughtful tweens and older kids, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood could be memorable for them and a trip down memory lane for you. I will give you a full review of this wonderful movie in the near future. Critics have been unanimous in their celebration of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Tom Hanks masterfully captures Mister Rogers’ character without making it an overly sentimental impersonation. It was a unique new challenge for Hollywood’s favorite movie star to portray TV’s most-loved personality. The result is happily a fitting homage.
This movie may present a special bonding moment between you and your older kids.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving week at the movies! I am very thankful for you, dear reader. You are cinema-tastic!