This holiday season, old is gold, at least in the world of family-friendly movie options.
Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is only one of several films that revisits a much loved, classic character.
Over the next few weeks, audiences can also look forward to catching iconic figures Paddington, Annie and Doraemon on the big screen. Then, there are the latest sequels to popular movie franchises The Hobbit and Night At The Museum.
Who says there is anything wrong with sticking to the familiar?
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STAND BY ME DORAEMON
Director: Takashi Yamazaki and Ryuichi Yagi
Stars: The voices of Wasabi Mizuta, Megumi Ohara, Yumi Kakazu and Tomokazu Seki
What: This 3-D animated flick based on the loveable time-travelling robot cat of the Doraemon manga series (1969-1996) by Fujiko F. Fujio asks the question – what happens when he goes back to the future? Surely, his earth friend, schoolboy Nobita, cannot get by without him.
After all, Nobita has come to love Doraemon for a lot more than just his numerous nifty gadgets – he has also become a dear friend.
Should this really be a permanent farewell, it will be bittersweet for audiences too, who have grown up with the character over the past 40 years.
Opens: Dec 11
Director: Will Gluck
Stars: Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale
What: This may be the third film adaptation of a beloved musical that has been staged numerous times since its Broadway debut in 1977, but that does not mean this is just a rehash.
Moving the story’s setting from the Great Depression to the present day, several of the musical’s iconic songs have been changed to reflect that, whether in their lyrics or in their more uptempo, modern pop beats. For example, old favourite It’s A Hard Knock Life is said to be fairly close to the original, but with a hip-hop sound.
And who says Annie has to have red curls or that her adoptive father Daddy Warbucks has to be a bald white man? Here, Annie is played by Oscarnominated child star Wallis, while Warbucks, renamed as Will Stacks, is played by Foxx.
Director Will Gluck says his film “is a much different movie, but it’s rooted in the same story”.
Opens: Dec 18
Director: Paul King
Stars: Ben Wishaw (as the voice of Paddington), Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters and Nicole Kidman
What: The cuddly and polite titular bear from Michael Bond’s classic picture book series of the 1950s and 1960s is brought to the big screen for the first time here, supported by a cast of veteran names.
As the famous story goes, a bear from “Darkest Peru” lands in the middle of London and is taken in by a kind English family, who names him Paddington after the railway station that he was found in.
Being a bear who is new to city life, he gets into all sorts of trouble.
Reviews have been very positive in Britain since it opened there last week, with the Daily Telegraph calling it “a total delight, as warm and welcome as a hot pair of socks on a winter morning”.
Opens: Dec 11
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Luke Evans, Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch
What: The stakes are higher than ever in this final part of The Hobbit trilogy, in which the men, elves and dwarves must find a way to band together in order to save themselves from the fire-breathing dragon Smaug, as well as the legion of Orcs – or risk getting exterminated forever.
As expected of these films, the sets will be lavish and the battle scenes epic affairs that need to be seen on the big screen before they go to DVD.
Opens: Dec 18
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 3
Director: Shawn Levy
Stars: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley
What: The powers of the magical tablet threaten to fizzle out – the very tablet that brings all the museum figures to life – so it is up to museum night watchman Larry (Stiller) to try to find a way to save it.
Accompanied by his trusty museum friends, including cowboy Jedediah (Wilson) and ex-American president Theodore Roosevelt (Williams), he gets in the middle of yet another crazy fantasy adventure.
Yes, the hijinks sound all too familiar, but audiences will want to catch this as it is also one of the final films for both veterans Robin Williams and Mickey Rooney (in the role of sinister security guard Gus), who died earlier this year.
Opens: Dec 25