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Guest Post: Must-See Green Family Films

wall-eParents are always on the lookout for new flicks that are suitable to see with their kids (despite the fact that children seem content to chain-watch their favorite DVDs, barely waiting for the credits to start rolling before they ask you to reset the disc to the beginning for another viewing). And if you happen to be interested in the prospect of greener living (or you’re already a card-carrying tree-hugger) you may be seeking some additions to your media lineup that include eco-friendly fare geared at imparting environmental sensibilities to your impressionable offspring. So here are just a few that are bound to keep the whole family entertained while concurrently teaching a valuable lesson about living in harmony with the planet.

  1. Wall-E (2008). Nobody does it like Pixar – who else could take the premise of the last robot janitor on Earth and turn it into a heartwarming tale of courage, conviction, and love? Although the eco-message is a little heavy-handed, it shouldn’t detract from the viewing experience for kids (parents will certainly get the message loud and clear; it’s not very subtle). But like all of Pixar’s movies there are many layers of story to love and you’ll no doubt get sucked into the Wall-E’s wooing of fem-bot EVE, if nothing else, and laugh along with the kids at the lazy future folk as they drift along like mindless balloons in their floating chairs (until Wall-E wakes them up).
  2. FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992). An oldie but a goodie, this animated film pits a forest full of fairies and one (literally) shrunken man against an army of menacing logging machines and a corporation looking to level the rainforest. It’s something of a diatribe on preserving the mysterious wilds of the planet against the conceit of man, but kids will probably be too caught up in the dynamic between the human and his fairy counterparts to notice.
  3. The Lorax (2012). The filmic version of this Dr. Seuss classic is ostensibly a story about a boy trying to win the heart of a girl. He sets out to find her a real tree (a rarity in his world) only to discover a terrifying tale of how greed paved the way for deforestation. However, it leads him to journey in search of the Lorax, perhaps the only creature who can help him to undo the damage.
  4. The Day After Tomorrow (2004). This fun disaster film preceded Al Gore’s PowerPoint on global warming (An Inconvenient Truth) by two years, so it’s not surprising that it’s a little light on the science (well, that and it’s a Hollywood blockbuster). In any case, this PG-13 flick is one that you’ll probably want to hold out on until the kids are into their tween phase. But most will enjoy the action-packed warning about what could happen if world governments fail to listen to experts who are touting the role of humanity in speeding climate change.
  5. Avatar (2009). It’s hard to believe that this 3D epic about the duplication of human minds into alien bodies (for the purposes of infiltration) came out three years ago. But regardless of how the special effects age, the message is a timeless one. We not only have the ability to stand up to seemingly insurmountable forces (ahem – the government) in our fight to protect the environment; it is actually our duty to do so. Again, this one may not be suitable for the little kiddies (rated PG-13).
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