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Five for Families: Under-the-sea tales for the family

Posted June 20

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

Thirteen years ago, Dory, a blue tang fish, helped Marlin, a widowed clownfish, find his son Nemo. Now, the forgetful Dory hopes to have her own under-the-sea family reunion in "Finding Dory," the Disney/Pixar film released this week. Gather the family and "just keep swimming" with these aquatic adventures.

iTunes, Amazon Video: 'Finding Nemo'

In "Finding Nemo," a cautious clownfish named Marlin goes on a journey to find his adventurous son, Nemo. Along the way, Marlin encounters a blue fish named Dory, who has short-term memory loss. Together, they travel far and encounter a variety of sea creatures, friendly and unfriendly, to rescue Nemo. Meanwhile, Nemo and other sea animals plot an escape from the dentist's office aquarium. PluggedIn indicates children may “be inspired by Nemo’s bravery and courage while he is away from his dad” 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. Ok.com recommends the film for viewers ages 3 and older.

Amazon Video: 'Free Willy'

An orphan is caught vandalizing a marina and must work at the theme park to make amends. There, he forms a bond with a young orca that has been separated from its family. Common Sense Media calls the friendship "surprisingly credible" and notes how the film "works swimmingly, thanks to well-paced, rousing direction and a fine ensemble cast." The website warns that some "plot complications" may be "a little complex for many younger viewers." Ok.com recommends the film for viewers ages 7 and older.

iTunes: 'The Little Mermaid'

A teenage mermaid makes a deal with an evil sea witch so she can meet a human prince. But the deal comes with a price and a deadline. Parent Previews says the film has "amazing animation" with a "delightful soundtrack … which features such memorable tunes as 'Part of Your World,' 'Under the Sea' and 'Kiss the Girl.'" The film won two Oscars, including Best Original Song and Best Original Score. Ok.com recommends the film for viewers ages 6 and older.

DVD: 'Ponyo'

Inspired by "The Little Mermaid," this film tells the story of a goldfish princess who longs to be a human after she falls in love with a human boy. The Dove Foundation awarded the Japanese animation film its "Family-Approved" seal for all ages and called the movie "charming" with "some great issues to talk about." The website noted that lessons taught include learning about the environment, being responsible, taking care of others and following your dreams. Ok.com recommends the film for viewers ages 3 and older.

Netflix: 'Dolphin Tale'

Based on a true story, this film features a boy who helps rescue a hurt dolphin caught in a trap. When the dolphin's tail cannot be saved, the boy, a marine biologist and a prosthetics designer find a way to help the dolphin swim. Movieguide.org calls the movie "very entertaining and emotional," praising it for its "incredible, heartfelt moments and some very funny moments." Ok.com recommends the film for viewers ages 6 and older.

Email: crandall@deseretnews.com

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