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Five for Families: 'Ferdinand' and other farm films

POSTED: January 5, 2018 10:15 a.m.
Caresa Alexander Randall/

"Ferdinand," a new animated film, is a remake of a Disney short cartoon, "Ferdinand the Bull" (1938).

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Here are five movies from various platforms that families may want to consider. Because not all are appropriate for younger children, age recommendations or ratings are included.

Most farms are a place where animals and crops are raised. But life on the farm is also a place of hard work, friendship and new beginnings. Here are five films about farm life for families to consider.

In theaters: 'Ferdinand'

In the film "Ferdinand," based on the book by Munro Leaf, Ferdinand the bull has an idyllic life on the farm. He gets to smell flowers, receive love from a little girl and live in peace. But when a misunderstanding takes place, the bull with the big heart is sent on the path to fight the matadors. Catholic News Service said the film "exalts tranquility over needless conflict," and that a "solid foundation will make this fable an appealing one to children who may be facing peer pressure or intimidation themselves." The website notes that the film "provides appropriate — and morally enriching — entertainment for a broad spectrum of age groups." Josh Terry of the Deseret News said the family-friendly film contains a "kind message about finding positive ways to deal with confrontation," and awarded the PG-rated film two and a half stars out of four.

Netflix: 'Chicken Run'

A new rooster unexpectedly joins a chicken farm, and the rest of the birds see him as their chance to escape. Parent Previews writes that except for mild “slapstick antics” and “a tiny moment of sexual innuendo,” the “hilarious clay animation movie … contains little that would concern parents.” Pluggedin calls the PG-rated film “charming,” praising it for its use of stop-motion animation that gives “characters a distinctly different look” from other animated films. “A smart script … makes this a movie sure to entertain adults as well as children,” the website states.

Amazon video: 'The Adventures of Milo and Otis'

A barn cat, Milo, and a dog named Otis befriend each other and have a hilarious friendship. But when Milo is swept downriver, Otis follows in an attempt to rescue his friend. Each encounters a variety of animals in the wild, but eventually the two are reunited and embark on a journey back to the farm. Common Sense Media called the coming-of-age film a story of friendship with values on "overcoming differences." The website awarded the G-rated film a full five stars and recommends the film for viewers ages 5 and older.

Netflix: 'Charlotte's Web'

In the film "Charlotte's Web," based on E.B. White’s novel, Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider form an unlikely friendship on a farm. praised “Charlotte’s Web” for being “a humble, radiant miracle for children of all ages,” calling it a “lyrical, well-made, entertaining, jeopardy-filled movie that will bring tears to one’s eyes." According to the website, the beautifully staged and elegantly designed film is rated G and contains some very mild action and slapstick violence.

iTunes: 'Home on the Range'

A brash cow, Maggie, arrives at a farm just as the bank is about to put the place up for sale. Determined to save the farm, Maggie and her animal friends come up with a plan to keep their home. Common Sense Media said the vivid characters and animation are superb, with a "balance between sweet, silly and exciting" that is expertly handled. The website awarded the PG-rated film four stars out of five and recommends the film for viewers ages 6 and older.
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