Autumn film preview 2014: Book of Life and The Penguins of Madagascar among the best upcoming family films
Other highlights include Paddington, the Shaun the Sheep Movie and the concluding part of The Hobbit
There are rich pickings ahead when it comes to family films.
What We Did On Our Holiday
First up is British comedy What We Did On Our Holiday (26 Sep), from the creators of TV's Outnumbered. David Tennant and Rosamund Pike star as a couple trying to keep their marriage difficulties a secret from their children's ailing grandfather (Billy Connolly) while on a family trip to Scotland.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (24 Oct) offers wholesome American family comedy in a similar vein. Loosely based on a children's book by Judith Viorst, the film stars Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner as a couple whose entire family is having the worst day imaginable.
The Book of Life and The Penguins of Madagascar
Animation fans, both young and old, are in for a treat too. Produced by Guillermo del Toro, Book of Life (24 Oct) is a CG-animated adventure that sees two spirits making a wager as to which of two childhood friends (voiced by Diego Luna and Channing Tatum) will win the heart of a young woman (Zoe Saldana). And The Penguins of Madagascar (5 Dec) get a spin-off movie to go with their spin-off TV show, with the quartet of superspy penguins encountering a rival group of animal secret agents.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
If you prefer your talking crime-fighting animals a bit bigger, there's always the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (17 Oct), which is getting an effects-heavy reboot, throwing in Transformers' Megan Fox (as reporter April O'Neill) for good measure. A treat for both young children and nostalgia-chasing thirtysomethings alike.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part One
Young adults are also well catered for in the autumn season, with the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part One (20 Nov), which sees Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) turning revolutionary. This is the first half of the final book in the Hunger Games series – the concluding part is currently scheduled for November 2015.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
And if you can't get enough of fantasy novel adaptations split into multiple movies, there's also Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (12 Dec), which sees Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his band of dwarves going into battle against the mighty dragon Smaug.
Paddington and Shaun the Sheep the Movie
If dragons are too scary for the youngest family members, try your luck with a pair of children's favourites instead. First up is Paddington (28 Nov), based on the books by Michael Bond. Ben Whishaw (Bright Star, Skyfall) voices the titular bear, who's rendered in CGI alongside a live-action cast. And Aardman Animation's eagerly awaited big screen adventure for Shaun the Sheep is out next year: the imaginatively titled Shaun the Sheep Movie (6 Feb), the teaser trailer for which is a very fine thing indeed.
Night at the Museum 3 and Ghostbusters
Finally, there's Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb (26 Dec), in which Ben Stiller brings his magical living museum characters to London (cue Dan Stevens as Lancelot) and the updated remake of Annie (19 Dec), starring Quvenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx, not to mention the welcome 30th anniversary re-release of Ivan Reitman's classic comedy Ghostbusters (31 Oct).