Autumn is upon us: as the evenings turn long and dreary, there’s no better time to educate your brood with a cinematic masterclass to the power of three. While the weather outside drizzles and coughs, gather your children round the glowing warmth of your home entertainment system. Snuggle up with a cup of hot chocolate, a bowl of popcorn and this trilogy of awesome trilogies:
1. Toy Story
Perhaps the most wholesome, hilarious, fulfilling series of all time – three films that are equally absorbing for adults and children alike. Based around the adventures of a talking cowboy action figure Woody (don’t you dare call him a doll) and astronaut Buzz, the Toy Story franchise isn’t just exciting, fun and loveable: at heart it’s a beautifully told, bittersweet story of children growing up.
And unlike in other animated movies, there’s none of the obvious pandering to adults. Pixar sits back and lets the toys do the talking.
2. Mighty Ducks
In the first installment of this seminal trilogy, Emilio Estevez is Gordon Bombay: a former ice-hockey champ who’s still troubled by his career-ending knee injury. Now a smart-talking but miserable lawyer, he’s arrested for drink driving then forced by a judge to coach an under-performing youth hockey squad. All it takes is a couple of quirky pre-teens, a hot mom and a training montage to melt his cynical heart.
D2 and D3 see the group grow into young adults as the fame of the Ducks flourish. Cheesy? Yes. Indulging in national stereotypes with obvious glee? Yes. But watching as Pacey from Dawson’s Creek grows from boy to man, not to mention the comforting rhythms of the underdog trope, makes for an irresistible watch. By the end you’ll find yourself chanting along with the ‘quack, quack, quack’ as our heroes skate to victory in the flying V.
3. Back to the Future
Where we’re going…we won’t need roads! If Mighty Ducks teaches us about the importance of working together, Back to the Future teaches us that science can be seriously cool. What kid wasn’t desperate for a hover board or self-tying shoes?
There are a few moments that might be inappropriate for your younger viewer – including the moment where Michael J. Fox’s character is hit on by his own mother. But still, it’s nice to see a film that acknowledges that parents are people and also, that the music of their generation was pretty awesome.
Honourable mention goes to: Lord of the Rings (epic perfection – but long), The Three Ninjas (Karate Kid squared), Star Wars and Indiana Jones 1-3 (which are, of course, no longer trilogies).