Magical worlds await inside of books, and those worlds have come to life with the recent releases of “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Peter Rabbit.” Here are five films based on books for families to consider, filled with adventures such as joining a band of video game avatars, traveling through time and avoiding some very mean giants.
In theaters: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’
Madeleine L’Engle’s classic children’s story about Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin was the 1963 Newbery Medal winner, according to ala.org. As the trio “tesser” — or travel — through space and time, three magical beings join in on the adventure: Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). The Mrs. have come to the children’s aid to rescue Mr. Murry from a terrible evil. The Dove Foundation awarded “A Wrinkle in Time” its “Dove Approved” seal for all ages and noted the themes of love, light and a primary message of “light overcoming darkness, good defeating evil and sacrificial love conquering all.” Josh Terry of the Deseret News gave the film two stars out of four with a nod to the “strong investment in the film’s production, at least in terms of surreal visuals and costume changes,” but cautioned that “in spite of some dazzling visuals, the overall experience just feels shortchanged.”
Redbox: ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’
An adaptation of the 1982 Caldecott Medal-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” shows four teenagers in detention getting sucked into a mysterious video game, becoming their chosen avatars and working together to win the game and return home. Josh Terry of the Deseret News gave the film three stars out of four and called it “a fun and exciting adventure” for adults and teens, with an “entertaining combination of character, action and humor.” The PG-13-rated film has a 76 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an audience score of 88 percent.
In theaters: ‘Peter Rabbit’
Beatrix Potter’s mischievous rabbit comes to life in this live-action, computer-animated film. Peter (voiced by James Corden) is determined to sneak into a neighbor’s vegetable garden, but when a new owner arrives at Peter’s buffet choice, the long-eared bunny and company turn to attack mode in order to keep their food source. Josh Terry of the Deseret News gave the film two and a half stars out of four and said the film has “some fun antics” and a script “peppered with a lot of the British wit and style that has made the Paddington movies so much fun.” The film is rated PG for some rude humor and action.
Amazon video: ‘Where the Wild Things Are’
Maurice Sendak’s 1964 Caldecott Medal-winning book follows a young boy who runs away from home and sails to an island of creatures that make him their king. The Dove Foundation awarded the movie its “Dove Approved” seal for ages 12 and older and said the “film seems to be a metaphor of dealing with one’s feelings and emotions.” Plugged In said the “intricate exploration of the short story — and more important, human nature, frightening emotions and family dynamics — could be applied to any number of real-life questions and situations.”
Netflix: ‘The BFG’
A young orphan and a big friendly giant must stop man-eating giants from invading the human world. The Dove Foundation awarded the film its “Family-Approved” seal for all ages and called “The BFG” a “wonderful film” that “features adventure, fantasy, great special effects and a good cast.” The website notes that parents should consult the content listing to make their own informed decisions. The film is rated PG for action/peril, some scary moments and brief rude humor.