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Five for Families: 'Nut Job 2,' squirrels in film
Over the Hedge - photo by Caresa Alexander Randall
Here are five movies from various platforms that families may want to consider.

Squirrels, with their long bushy tails, may look like adorable creatures, but in film they are more than mere nut collectors. Some are addicted to cookies, some are obsessed to the point of madness and others are just good judges of character. In celebration of the recent release of "The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature," here are five squirrel-starring films for families to consider.

In theaters: "The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature"

Purple Surly Squirrel (Will Arnett) and his fellow rodents are back. This time they join with fellow park animals to save their home when the evil mayor of Oakton wants to replace Liberty Park with an amusement park. The animated film features the voice talents of Katherine Heigl as the kind-hearted Andie and Jackie Chan as Mr. Feng, leader of a group of mice with martial arts skills. The movie is rated PG for action and some rude humor. Josh Terry of the Deseret News gave the film one and a half stars out of four.

Amazon Video: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

Based on Roald Dahl's children's book, the film portrays "colorful kids," according to Common Sense Media, one of whom disobeys and is shoved down the garbage chute by squirrels. The website notes, however, that it includes some intense scenes and is much closer in dark tone to the book than its cinematic predecessor. According to BBC News, 40 squirrels were trained to crack nuts for the picture. Common Sense Media awarded the film four stars out of five and recommended the film for viewers ages 8 and older.

iTunes: "Ice Age"

A woolly mammoth, a saber-toothed tiger and a sloth reluctantly band together to rescue a human baby. The Dove Foundation awarded the prehistoric adventure its Dove Family-Approved seal for all ages, calling it a great story of friendship with characters that are fun to watch and draw you in immediately. Scrat, an acorn-obsessed squirrel, spends most the film trying to catch a nut, even if it puts his life in peril. Common Sense Media awarded the film four stars out of five and recommended the film for viewers ages 6 and older.

iTunes: "Over the Hedge"

Steve Carell voices the lovable, hyperactive, cookie-loving squirrel, Hammy, who is duped into scavenging for food by a rascally raccoon. Movie Guide said the film is "often very funny and entertaining, and has a heartwarming ending" with "moments when the movie soars, moments that are exciting, moments that are hilarious." The website gave the movie three stars out of four. Rotten Tomatoes awarded the film a 75 percent rating.

Amazon Video: "The Sword in the Stone'

This 1963 animated film is about a young Arthur before he was king of Camelot, in which Merlin turns himself and Arthur into squirrels to teach Arthur about two great forces: gravity and love. Parent Previews pointed to scenes in the film that can stand alone as teaching moments such as the importance of "living by your creative wits." Common Sense Media awarded the film four out of five stars and recommended the film for viewers ages 5 and older.
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