Are you in need of something new to watch during the summer? Well, may I recommend some old childhood films you might have already watched? If you are like me, you’ve probably haven’t seen these movies in years, but here’s why they are worth rewatching or even watching them for the first time now.
Oftentimes, I feel like after watching a movie as a kid, many just check the film off their list and move on with their lives. But I think that some of these films should be revisited because the themes and language of the film can be understood much clearer when you’re older versus when you were only a kid. Sometimes you might even learn and appreciate something new about the film that you just weren’t aware of before.
However, I understand most of these movies are from the early 2000s era, so if you haven’t gotten the chance to watch these movies in your childhood, don’t worry! It isn’t too late for you either, as the majority of these films are mature enough to entertain their audience of any age group.
Disney / Pixar
Let’s start off with the classics. Disney and Pixar films have definitely ruled the early 2000s, just coming off their classic era and moving on to the “Renaissance Era” where film making turns more experimental not just in storytelling but a transition from 2D to 3D (for Disney at least).
The Incredibles (2004)
Easily one of Pixar’s most iconic series and most creative concepts with the comedic superhero family dynamic. Honestly watching this film as a kid, I remember the badass fighting scenes and the hilarious jokes they play out throughout the film. But rewatching this film, made me realize how Syndrome is such a well-written villain, not only having an understanding backstory that doesn’t seem too far-fetched but also having realistic goals. Also the jokes are still as witty and funny to this day, even touching upon more adult themes just as marriage struggles and raising a family.
And of course we can’t forget the greatest character lines of all time, Frozone’s “HOney, where’s my supersuit”.
Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
If you’ve been watching memes lately, you already know this film, so might as well give it a rewatch. Not only are the jokes 100% better in film due to the context, but this film has one of the most unique film stories Disney has created, with a young Peruvian based Emperor befriending a middle aged man and together they go on many “adventures”. Till this day, this movie has got to be one of my favorite Disney comfort films and it’s just a timeless classic.
Lilo and Stitch (2002)
Honestly, Lilo and Stitch was so ahead of its time with one of the most wholesome duos packed into a fun sci-fi adventure. The themes tackled in this movie with Nani having to raise Lilo all on her own, while barely understanding what to do with her own life is portrayed so realistically, that makes the film so much more impactful. Lilo’s goal of having a friend and finding that friendship in Stitch is something so powerful that goes beyond just a regular human with their pet sidekick.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Sully and Mike Wasoski have definitely had their fair share of meme spotlight, but maybe it’s time to rewatch the film. This duo faces many challenges in their friendships that are portrayed so realistically with Sully wanting to be more “good” while Mike wants to be able to scare someone so bad. Together they learn about each other’s perspectives and learn to appreciate what they have achieved. This theme of good vs. evil is written with such a well balanced plot that we can easily get emotionally attached to connections made between Sully and Boo. Also this film has so many more meme worthy moments that you’ll just have to find out with a rewatch.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Atlantis is one of Disney’s most underrated films, but also one of their best. However, with the help of social media and many film enthusiasts, this movie is finally getting the attention it deserves. The film explores the untouched mystery of a civilization beneath our oceans and does it so profoundly. Even all of the side characters are likeable and well written, with a lead protagonist someone that is so passionate about what he does, which can be relatable to most of the viewers.
Treasure Planet (2002)
Another cult classic film in the list of underrated Disney films, Treasure Planet. Now, I gotta say the worldbuilding in this movie is absolutely insane, combining the concepts of a futuristic steampunk, galactic adventure. Although the second half of the film does seem a bit confusing and doesn’t necessarily fit the plotline that well, the character arc of JIm Hawkins, the main protagonist, is exceptionally well written. For the characters and the worldbuilding alone, this film is worth the watch.
Now Ratatouille is one of the most “indie” aesthetic films Pixar has ever created, but the best because of it. Ratatouille is a story most worth rewatching because the themes are so universal and affect the lives of young adults the most. The theme of going after your dream, despite your background. This film tackles each of its themes so well, without needing the simple mainstream plotline of simply “attaining some objective”. No, Ratatouille goes beyond that by truly exploring deeply into the character arcs of both Remy and Linguini. This film is just a masterpiece that needs to be revisited or even watched for the first time if you didn’t get the chance to watch it in your childhood. Or if you are already a kid right now, please go watch this film, you won’t regret it.
Meet the Robinsons (2007)
Meet the Robinsons is definitely one of those forgotten Disney’s films that most kids watched but just don’t remember. However, it’s easily one of Disney’s best CGI attempts at a film with a great sci-fi school themed plot. If we just ignored the old graphics of the time, you will find an incredible film with a great moral for any age. The repetitive motto of “Keep moving forward” that is so motivating even for older audiences.
Wall E (2008)
Wall E’s dystopian world where humans no longer can inhabit Earth due to pollution, describes the possibilities of our future so well and so captivating. While also featuring a beautiful love story between two genderless robots, which forever changed how the world views robots as something innocent and sweet (contrast to previous 80s film view on robots like the Terminator).
Here are some other films I wanted to mention, but weren’t part of the Disney/Pixar franchize but should also be given a rewatch ro first watch.
Now, I feel that some people may visibly be confused as to why I would even recommend watching this nightmare of a film, but here me out. Coraline was a film that has traumatized many children including myself, but give it a second try. Not only will you find the film less scary but you may even appreciate the work that goes into the film and even find it aesthetically pleasing. The reason why Coraline is so scary is because it tackles themes of parenting and the relationship between a young daughter with her mother. This concept alone touches upon many of the viewers alone.
It honestly fascinated me how this film still manages to give a good scare to even older viewers, because bugs (cockroaches and spiders) are genuine fears that many people have, the thought of sewing buttons into your eyes is also just as frightening as Beldam herself. With all of these horror elements, it’s easy to ignore the actual soft worldbuilding that goes into this film. So if you want, give this film another go, or not.
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Now of all of the Studio Ghibli films, I decided to put Whisper of the Heart on this list instead, even though it’s a lesser known film. Because even though their more famous films like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Howl’s Moving Castle might be more worthy of your time, I hope that everyone has already watched those films and watched them many times.
For now, I want to take the time to discuss Whisper of the Heart, because not only are it’s themes perfect to revisit as you’re older, but it definitely has a more simple and realistic aspect to it, which I admire. The experience you go through when watching this film is simply unforgettable, as you follow Shizuku, the main protagonist, a struggling writer trying to find her purpose in life. (Something many teenagers out here can relate to, with the endless distractions that keep us away from following our dreams.) There she meets Seiji, a young boy in her same grade who has already found his passion and only needs to work for it. Between these two characters, they each learn something about the other’s perspective on life, which helps Shizuku gain the courage to go after her own dream. What I love most about this film and Studio Ghibli films in general is this feeling of immersion and peace when watching their films. Something that I just haven’t found any other company achieve.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Probably one of the best Wes Anderson films out there, but also the most well crafted film. Clay animation is something that used to scare a lot of young audiences, but now after rewatching the films, this medium is very respectable as so much work goes into each frame. But in this film, it explores themes on greed, and the consequences that come with it, as well as exploring family dynamics as Mr. Fox and his misfit son Ashton Fox go on one last adventure.
Sequels / Series
Although the films I’m recommending are the sequel to these series, you should feel free to watch the entire franchize if you want as well. I solely picked them because each of these sequels is what made the series so popular and loved.
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Probably the best film in the Toy Story’s franchize with the most exceptional in depth continuation of the world these toys live in and their expressing their complex emotions to their owners. When you were younger you probably loved following the adventures of Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang trying to find Woody and all of their jailbreak scenes. But as you grow older to watch the film, you will probably follow Woody’s story more profoundly as he discusses his attachment to Andy and the struggles of being a “lost toy”.
Shrek 2 (2004)
After the success of basically mocking Disney’s turn on fairytale storytelling, Shrek was able to create a hilarious parody of a world filled with all of the characters we know and love today. However, with Shrek 2, the franchise is able to skyrocket with this immersive new continuation to the first film, further exploring ideas and questions that weren’t answered in the first film, like the Fairy Godmother and Fiona’s backstory.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
The adventures of the famous four misfits from the first film was such a success, that Dreamworks decided to make a sequel, which is the best decision they could’ve made. Now Madagascar won’t compare to Toy Story or even Shrek, but it sure is hilarious even after all these years. Also might as well rewatch this movie for the “moto moto” scene because it’s one of the most iconic dreamworks scenes ever.
Thank you so much for reading! Comment down below any childhood films are your favorite or any that I missed