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Summer 2016 movies for the whole family

Posted May 23

Finding Dory (2016) (Deseret Photo)

This summer's movie roster has the usual wealth of reboots and superhero movies, but it also boasts original family films and refreshing adaptations of popular novels.

Here's some of what summer cinema has to offer for families with children of all ages:

For the whole family

Kubo and the Two Strings, Aug. 19 (not yet rated)

Most people associate animated family movies these days with Pixar or Dreamworks. But 3D stop-motion animation house Laika is making a memorable name for itself on its slowly growing roster that includes 2009's "Coraline."

Set in ancient Japan, the story follows orphaned Kubo on his quest to find his father's armor while he is hunted by the people who torched his village and killed his family. It's a visually stunning, art house alternative to a CGI-dominated genre.

Finding Dory, June 17 (not yet rated)

In this spinoff movie to 2003's "Finding Nemo," Pixar writer Andrew Stanton dives into the past of one of the first film's most beloved characters — Dory, the palette surgeonfish with a terrible memory who helped Nemo find his father in the first film.

In this quasi-sequel, Dory goes on a similar quest to reunite with her family and fill in the gaps of her shoddy memory, picking up about six months after the events of "Finding Nemo."

The BFG, July 1 (PG)

An adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved 1982 children's book, "The BFG" has been years in the making for Dreamworks. Producer Kathleen Kennedy has been trying to bring the film to fruition since the 1990s. It's fitting that the film will be released this year, on Dahl's centennial.

Set in England, the story follows the adventures of the BFG (Big Friendly Giant, for those unfamiliar with the book) when he whisks orphan Sophie out of her terrible girls home in London and takes her to the land of the giants. Sophie befriends the BFG, who is bullied by his giant compatriots because of his refusal to eat humans. It's a classic tale of acceptance and compassion.

For families with middle-grade children or teens

Star Trek Beyond, July 22 (not yet rated)

The third installment of the Star Trek reboot series finds the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise halfway through its five-year mission and stranded on an uncharted planet deep in federation space.

Parents can expect the usual light sexuality and minor violence from Capt. James T. Kirk & Co., so it might be a good idea to keep children under 13 away from this one.

Pete's Dragon, Aug. 12 (PG)

In a reboot of its 1977 live action/animation musical, Disney takes its original tale of an orphaned teenage hillbilly, Pete, who meets a dragon in the woods and gives it a modern edge. This time around, Pete is much younger at 10 years old and is discovered living off the land in a forest with a dragon he claims is protecting him. A forest ranger who finds Pete tries to determine where the boy came from and whether or not Elliott is real.

Alice Through the Looking Glass, May 27 (PG)

An adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," this film will be a sequel to 2010's "Alice in Wonderland." Alice, having just returned from a three-year sea voyage, returns to find life in London and Wonderland in equal disarray. In real life, her would-be fiance from the first film, Hamish, has taken over her family's estate and threatens to confine Alice to a clerk's job. Eager to escape a desk job, Alice goes back to Wonderland to find the Mad Hatter dying. To save him and correct her future, Alice has to convince Time (a literal character in this case) to reverse itself.

For the adults

Free State of Jones, June 24 (not yet rated)

Based on a true story, this historical adaptation brings to life the Mississippi legend of Newton Knight, a farmer and Confederate soldier who deserted the army and founded a mixed-race free state in the midst of the Civil War.

Ben-Hur, Aug. 12 (not yet rated)

This remake of the 1959 William Wyler classic looks like it may retain many of the faith and family themes of the original. For those who don't know, the story follows two brothers, one from a respected Jewish family in biblical times — Ben-Hur. The other, Messala, becomes a high-ranking Roman soldier and casts Ben-Hur into slavery when he refuses to betray Jewish rebels to the Roman Emperor Tiberius.

Ghostbusters, July 15 (not yet rated)

Saturday Night Live alumi Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and comedian Melissa McCarthy comprise the all-female remake of the 1984 original, which starred a similarly SNL-heavy male cast. After being laughed out of a prestigious professorship at Columbia University for her interest in the paranormal, Wiig's character teams up with some of her friends to investigate New York City's growing ghost infestation.

The Founder, Aug. 5 (PG-13)

In this biopic, Michael Keaton portrays Ray Kroc, a failed salesman who revolutionized the fast-food industry with his acquisition of McDonald's. Known for his cutthroat business style, Kroc took over the small, family-run business, eventually elevating it to the best-known and most beloved fast-food restaurant in the U.S.

Honorable mentions: page to screen

Summer has a few adaptations of popular books.

Me Before You, June 3 (PG-13)

Based on the 2012 best seller by Jojo Moyes of the same name, this unconventional love story follows the budding relationship between a ne'er-do-well free spirit who stumbles on the love of her life while workings as a caregiver for a man confined to a wheelchair.

Love and Friendship, May 13 (PG)

Based on Jane Austen's comic classic "Lady Susan," this comedy follows Susan Vernon, a penniless, single woman who plans to regain her status by marrying her daughter off to a rich cousin.

The Legend of Tarzan, July 1 (PG-13)

An adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan of the Apes," this film again reimagines the story of John Clayton, an Englishman brought up from infancy by apes in the jungles of Africa. Ignorant of his human origins, Tarzan learns of the outside world when a band of explorers, including American Jane Porter, retraces the steps of Tarzan's long-lost parents.

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: ChandraMJohnson

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