From 'Luca' to 'Space Jam: A New Legacy': What to watch with the kids this summer

Other films in the summer lineup include ‘Spirit Untamed’, ‘Cruella’, and 'Minions: The Rise of Gru'

May 07, 2021 12:54 pm | Updated 01:39 pm IST

A still from ‘Spirit Untamed’

A still from ‘Spirit Untamed’

Summer, glorious summer. A time of year when despite the heat we used to rush about outdoors getting dirty (and gaining immunity for the years ahead), knees scraped, and so on. Cut to 2020, and 2021, the nippers cannot step out any more. Even if they do, they risk the danger of bringing home the dreaded virus to their much more susceptible parents. So, it’s the good old idiot box to the rescue, whenever parents are not taking the chance to give kids extra home lessons, of course.

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Thankfully, there is a glut of films available for the young ones, which the young at heart can enjoy as well. Fans of musicals will be well familiar with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton . He’s back in June with another musical, this time an animation set in what looks like Venice. Also due in June is the animated Luca , set on the Italian Riviera, where a friendship develops between a human boy and a ‘sea being’ disguised as a boy.

In addition, there is a new Minions movie due — Minions: The Rise of Gru — and the much delayed Peter Rabbit 2: the Runaway , where the titular rabbit has adventures in the big city. If you’re a fan of the 101 Dalmatians franchise, Cruella , with Emma Stone playing the evil Cruela de Vil, is due at the end of this month. If the kiddies like horses, Spirit Untamed sees a young girl move to a small town from a city and befriend a mustang. The animated film is due in June.

Is 25 years too long to wait for a sequel? Shankar definitely didn’t think so and a sequel to Indian (1996) is in production, though when it will be completed is anyone’s guess. Another 1996 film, Space Jam , which had the inspired idea of combining live action basketball superstars, including Michael Jordan, with the animated Looney Tunes , was a smash hit the world over. Now, 25 long years later, Space Jam: A New Legacy refreshes the concept, led by basketball superstar LeBron James. The film is due in July.

Most parents, and definitely not their kids, won’t remember John Huston’s The African Queen (1951). That classic seems the unlikely inspiration for Jungle Cruise , due in July, where instead of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, Dwayne Johnson, and Emily Blunt go on an adventure up a river in a steamer. Believe you me, the similarities end there, as this one is based on a Disney theme park ride, not on a CS Forester novel like the Huston film.

Since we have harked back to older times, according to the Rotten Tomatoes site beloved kids’ film Paddington 2 (2017) has knocked Citizen Kane (1941) off from the position of best film of all time, due to the unearthing of an old review not very complimentary to the latter. Cue social media outrage and handbags at dawn in some critics’ circles, albeit with a healthy sense of humour. As for younger audiences, even 2021 releases like Tom and Jerry and Raya and the Dragon are ancient, so they couldn’t care less.

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