Taking the family to the cinema is a great way to grind away a few hours while the kids are off school.
But with eye-watering ticket and snack prices, it’s best to pick something not instantly forgettable, or too much of a punishment for the accompanying adults.
Behold, a cheat sheet to help decide what to see and what to skip this Easter break.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Five years after the events of the first film, everything is less awesome in Bricksburg, which is now a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
It would be nearly impossible to top the insanely unique and genuinely hilarious sophistication of the first movie – which stands up to multiple viewings – but a star turn by an alien Duplo queen (Tiffany Haddish) ups the ante for grown-ups. Save this one for a family movie night at home.
Tim Burton’s take on the 1941 Disney classic stars an out-of-this-world adorable CGI flying elephant along with actors Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito. Burton deviates from the original story, so there’s a nice blend of nostalgia and a new narrative to keep grown-ups engaged – not to mention emotional – but the director’s bent for gloominess, both in plot and visual tone, might be a bit too much for little fans to take.
Made with mind-boggling skill by stop-action animation studio Laika (Coraline, Kubo & The Two Strings) this Big Foot buddy movie features more than 100 sets and the voice talents of Hugh Jackman as a rakish old-school adventurer tasked with helping the missing link (Zach Galifianakis) on a globetrotting adventure to find a new home among the Yetis in Nepal. Snappy dialogue and eye-popping animation make this a big-screen must.
Back of the Net
A well-meaning, Australian-made story about a studious, but absent-minded, American teen called Cory (played by Disney Channel star Sofia Wylie) who, through a series of mix-ups, blows her chance to spend a summer studying science at sea in Australia and instead winds up facing down mean girls at a Sydney soccer academy.
You can guess the rest. Kids will love the gags and have-a-go message but feels more like something you’d be happy to come across flicking through TV channels.
An amusement park invented by a creative girl named June comes to life in this visually bright movie that explores darker themes. With plot elements that echo 2016’s brilliant A Monster Calls, it’s about the power of imagination but also the necessity of escapism when June’s mother (voiced by Jennifer Garner) faces a scary medical diagnosis. For younger kids who are expecting a fun romp with talking animals and rollercoasters, it could be a bit much in the theatre without the opportunity for some reassuring talk.
Black-ish actor Marsai Martin, who at 14 is credited on the film as Hollywood’s youngest-ever executive producer, stars as a no-nonsense boss (played as an adult by Regina Hall) who in a moment of magic is returned to her 13-year-old body. Like Tom Hanks’s Big in reverse. Body-switch comedies are practically a genre – 17 Again, 13 Going on 30, Freaky Friday – but it’s always a rich vein for one-liners to keep the whole family entertained.