Adventure Movies

12 Great 2000s Family Films You Totally Forgot About

October 28, 202310 Mins Read

For those who grew up during the 2000s (with some fantastic family movies from the 2000s), it can be agreed that it was a much simpler time. Streaming wasn’t a thing yet, so when it came to movie viewing, a trip to the cinema or a rental from Blockbuster would do the trick. 2000s kids and their families were lucky enough to have a wide range of fantastic kid-friendly films released during that decade.

When audiences look back, successful and popular 2000s kids movies like Shrek, Finding Nemo, or Harry Potter are among their favorites. However, many other movies you forgot about from the 2000s were popular at the time but don’t come up in conversation as often. These 2000s family movies might not be as renowned and remembered but are just as good.

Updated on October 27, 2023, by Hannah Saab:

There’s no shortage of fantastic movies from your childhood you forgot about from the 2000s, including the stop-motion classic,

Chicken Run

, which will be receiving a long-awaited sequel this year, titled

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

(premiering on Netflix this December 15).

12 ‘Zathura: A Space Adventure’ (2005)

Josh Hutcherson in Zathura: A Space Adventure
Image via Sony Pictures

Directed by Jon Favreau, Zathura: A Space Adventure is a sci-fi adventure that sees two young brothers play an old board game that transports their house into space. The only way to make it back to earth is to win (and survive) the game, and the boys must face several galactic threats and challenges.

The film is based on the children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, who, to no surprise also wrote Jumanji. While that might be the more well-known and higher-grossing film, Zathura is an underrated classic in its own right, thanks to its cosmic setting, fun humor, impressive practical effects, and even a few thrills. Some of its special effects may be outdated, but it’s definitely a nostalgic film worth diving back into.

11 ‘The Water Horse’ (2007)

Alex Etel in The Water Horse
Image via Columbia Pictures

In the charming fantasy film The Water Horse (also called The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep), young Angus discovers an egg that hatches a ‘water horse,’ and eventually becomes the Loch Ness Monster. The two form a special bond, and Angus must protect the creature from outsiders who want to harm it.

Directed by Jay Russell based on Dick King-Smith‘s eponymous children’s novel, the movie takes the mythical monster and uses it to create a heartwarming story with a beautiful central friendship, stunning locations, and wondrous visual effects. Its emotional themes also make it a film that children and adults alike can enjoy, as it imparts important lessons about making friends in unexpected ways and with unexpected people (or magical creatures).

Watch on Max

10 ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ (2008)

Freddie Highmore in The Spiderwick Chronicles
Image via Paramount Pictures

Based on the children’s book series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, director Mark WatersThe Spiderwick Chronicles follows twin brothers Jared and Simon, and their sister Mallory, who move into the Spiderwick Estate. They discover a field guide to fairies and soon realize their home is surrounded by mythical creatures.

Even though there are five short books in the series, the film manages to squeeze them all into one film and does so successfully. The story is magical with lots of twists, and a fantastical world full of fairies, griffins, goblins, and ogres is beautifully brought to the big screen. While there are some moments that can occasionally be nerve-wracking, it’s generally a somewhat scary movie that parents can introduce to kids.

Watch on Prime Video

9 ‘Nanny McPhee’ (2005)

Emma Thompson in Nanny McPhee
Image via Universal Pictures 

Nanny McPhee is the story of a widower who hires a new nanny to take care of his seven badly behaved children, who have chased all the previous nannies away. This is no ordinary nanny though – she has magical powers and is based on Nurse Matilda, a character by Christianna Brand.

Directed by Kirk Jones, the film features a delightful performance from Emma Thompson, hilarious slap-stick comedy, and one of the great film food fights. It also offers valuable lessons about how appearances can be deceiving as well as the importance of kindness, which is often where true beauty is found and defined. It’s not just her Mary Poppins counterpart who should get all the attention, as Nanny McPhee is a force to be reckoned with all on her own.

Watch on Prime Video

8 ‘Surf’s Up’ (2007)

Cody Maverick and Chicken Joe in Surf's Up
Image via Sony

A great comedy in its own right, Surf’s Up follows up-and-comer Cody Maverick as he competes in the Penguin World Surfing Championship. It presents its narrative through a unique and comedic mockumentary format, as a camera crew follows Cody and his competitors around.

Directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck, the film is full of witty humor and references even adults will appreciate, as well as a lot of heart. It’s also an unexpectedly star-studded movie, and most viewers today likely don’t realize that their favorite characters from the film were voiced by actors like Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, Zooey Deschanel, and more. The MVP is certainly Chicken Joe, Cody’s zoned-out and spiritual sidekick, voiced perfectly by Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jon Heder.

Watch on Netflix

7 ‘Brother Bear’ (2003)

Kenai and Koda

A film that certainly deserves to be higher amongst the ranks of the most rewatchable Disney animated classics, Brother Bear is a story of revenge, love, nature, and spirituality. After Kenai – who is voiced by Joaquin Pheonix – kills the bear that killed his brother, he is transformed into a bear and befriends a young cub.

The film, directed by Aaron Blaise and Robert Walker, has beautiful, natural scenery and strong, poignant themes at its heart. It’s very funny, but also one of Disney’s more emotional and mature films, featuring powerful scenes that depict heartbreak, betrayal, and even grief. As an added bonus, just like he did with Tarzan, Phil Collins also provides a wonderful soundtrack that perfectly complements the highs and lows of this overlooked movie.

Watch on Disney+

6 ‘Meet the Robinsons’ (2007)

Lewis and Wilbur

Among the best family movies from the 2000s, director Stephen J. Anderson‘s Meet the Robinsons follows Lewis, a young inventor, and orphan who wants to make a time machine to find his mother. He then meets a boy named Wilbur Robinson who whisks him away to the future to meet his larger-than-life family.

This lesser-known Disney animated flick is a wild and whimsical time-travel adventure movie, with lots of kooky characters and fun elements, such as a pet dinosaur. Loosely based on William Joyce’s 1990 children’s book, A Day with Wilbur Robinson, the movie translates the wonderful and wacky world of science and adventure flawlessly. It’s a touching film with an inspiring message and deserves as much love as the most popular Disney films.

Watch on Disney+

5 ‘Chicken Run’ (2000)

Image via Aardman Animation

Set in a prison-like egg farm in Yorkshire, Chicken Run is a classic stop-motion comedy by Aardman Animations (directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park based on an original story). It’s centered on a group of anthropomorphic chickens who believe that the arrival of a rooster (named Rocky Rhodes) signals their chance at escape from the horrible conditions on the farm. Will they make it in time or be turned into meat pies?

It was one of the most popular blockbusters in the early 2000s, and, in fact, Chicken Run is still the highest-grossing stop-motion animated movie, holding the record with its incredible $227,793,915 worldwide box office sales. the beloved film slowly faded into the background over the years. That is until the surprising announcement of its sequel, which premieres later this year.

Watch on Netflix

4 ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ (2007)

AnnaSophia Robb in Bridge to Terabitha

Certainly one of the saddest children’s films of all time, director Gábor Csupó‘s Bridge to Terabithia is a classic fantasy drama film based on the eponymous 1977 book by Katherine Paterson. It follows two kids, Jesse and Leslie, who create the magical world of Terabithia to escape reality and deal with trauma.

While it is marketed as a fantasy film, the story is very much grounded in the real world as it deals with family, friendship, bullies, grief, and loss. It displays the wonders of children’s imaginations and the power of friendship even in the darkest of times. A reminder to audiences though – remember to bring tissues and to watch with caution around younger audiences who may be deeply affected by the infamous death in this movie.

Watch on Disney+

3 ‘Treasure Planet’ (2002)

Jim Hawkins and John Silver

One of Disney’s most visually stunning films to date and a remarkable standout among early 2000s kids’ movies, Treasure Planet is a science fiction adaption of the classic 1883 novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements, the film follows Jim Hawkins on an intergalactic journey as he goes on a quest to find pirate treasure, and is the third (and most successful) retelling of the story.

While the film retains elements of the source material’s period setting and style, it completely changes the setting to outer space. This clever fuse of polar-opposite worlds and genres makes for some incredible animation and proves why this is such a unique and special movie. It also features one of the most complex bonds between an animated duo in film – Jim and John Silver – who learn a thing or two about trust and friendship over the course of the movie.

Watch on Disney+

2 ‘August Rush’ (2007)

Freddie Highmore in August Rush

One of many forgotten childhood movies of the 2000s, August Rush is a musical drama directed by Kirsten Sheridan that tells the story of young musical prodigy Evan, who runs away from his orphanage to find his birth parents. Little does he know his mother is searching for him, while his father is searching for her.

With a terrific turn from a young Freddie Highmore, this film celebrates the power of music – how it is all around everyone and the way it can help people find a connection. Of course, this is bolstered by an incredible score composed by Mark Mancina. In an interview with Billboard, he shares how the “heart of the story is how we respond and connect through music,” which clearly plays a crucial role in the film. August Rush is an unabashed crowd-pleaser and also features a performance from Robin Williams as one of his rare unlikeable characters.

1 ‘Hachi: A Dog’s Tale’ (2009)

Image via Sony Pictures Entertainment

Based on a heartbreaking true story of a real-life Akita dog and directed by Lasse Hallström, Hachi: A Dog’s Tale depicts the bond that forms between a dog and a man who adopts him. When Parker and Hachi form an unbreakable bond, the dog starts following him to the train station during his commute to work every day. One day, Parker doesn’t come home, and Hachi is left waiting in the same spot in the station, waiting for his return.

Most fans likely remember Marley & Me, so it’s easy to overlook this timeless classic. The heart-wrenching movie about a loyal dog is a great pick for adults who want a good sad movie, and for kids who will learn to appreciate their pets even more. Just remember to expect a hard-hitting and emotional viewing experience with this 2009 film.

NEXT:The Best Children & Family Movies on Netflix Right Now

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