Five for Families: Destination films take viewers to Pacific islands

Posted December 3, 2016

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

The shimmering waters of the Pacific Ocean provide a beautiful backdrop for animated and live action films. The recent release of "Moana" and films set in Hawaii and the South Seas take viewers through barrier reefs, volcanos and breaking waves. Here are five films set in the Pacific for families to consider.

In theaters: "Moana"

Set in ancient Polynesia and based on legend, "Moana" is the tale of a chief's daughter who longs to explore the ocean. Moana's overprotective father finally allows her to journey past the barrier reef when a famine threatens their people. According to legend, a demigod named Maui stole a green stone from a goddess which caused a curse to fall across the islands. Moana must find Maui and convince him to return the stone in order to set things right. Parent Previews praises the "beautiful visual and fun music," with messages of "courage and self-sacrifice." The Dove Foundation awarded the film its "Family-Approved" seal for all ages calling the film "a charming story of growing up, following your dreams and believing in yourself. 'Moana' is a fantasy adventure for young and old alike." recommends the film for viewers ages 6 and older.

Amazon Video: "Soul Surfer"

This film is based on the story of Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm in a shark attack off the North Shore of Kauai. It explores Hamilton’s struggle as she searches for purpose in her life and learns how to surf again. Common Sense Media notes that “the main character is an extremely positive role model, responding to tragedy with grace and kindness instead of bitterness.” recommends the film for viewers ages 8 and older.

iTunes: "Finding Nemo"

With the help of a forgetful blue fish, a cautious clown fish goes on a journey to find his adventurous son who was captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney. PluggedIn indicates children may “be inspired by Nemo’s bravery and courage," and Dory’s positive attitude. The website warns, however, that the film’s premise of a child being lost may be frightening to young viewers. recommends the film for viewers ages 3 and older.

Netflix: "Lilo and Stitch"

Set in Hawaii, a young girl adopts the galaxy’s most wanted alien and teaches him about family. The Dove Foundation says that this film is one that appeals to “both young girls and boys” as it teaches the importance of family. “‘Lilo and Stitch’ is a clever fantasy with some strong messages about the importance of love for everyone,” the website states. recommends the film for viewers ages 6 and older.

Amazon Video: "Nim's Island"

A young girl, Nim, lives on an isolated island in the South Pacific with her marine biologist father. When a storm leaves her alone, Nim contacts her favorite author for help. PluggedIn recognizes the devotion between daughter and father and says that the film contains the message that "courage and sacrificial love have important places in our lives." recommends the film for viewers ages 10 and older.



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