Our pick of the best DVDs for kids this Christmas!
Let our expert's top DVD tips give you some ideas.......
FOR THE UNDER-5s
A 40th anniversary edition of this Disney classic that still enchants little ones. Based on Rudyard Kipling's story, it's the tale of young Mowgli (voiced by Bruce Reitherman) who is raised in the jungle by wolves who decide to send him to a local 'man tribe' when they hear that nasty tiger Shere Khan (George Sanders) is on the prowl. It's on the journey that he meets Baloo the bear (Phil Harris) and orangutan King Louie (Louis Prima). Utterly adorable, and featuring those memorable songs 'I Wanna Be Like You' and 'Bare Necessities' that the whole family will be humming well past Christmas.
As everyone knows, Spongebob is the sea sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea, hangs out with dumb starfish Patrick, and wears, of course, square underpants (and trousers). The humour in the animated series works just as well for adults as kids (there are certainly some very funny bits that children won't get but will split your sides) and this compilation is no exception. Featuring nine episodes with a Yuletide feel, this includes the double-length special 'Christmas Who?' in which Christmas comes to Spongebob's hometown of Bikini Bottom for the very first time, and the episodes 'Snowball Effect' and 'Chocolate With Nuts'.
FOR 5 to 9 YEAR OLDS
This animated comedy is also a spoof documentary – about the adventures of wannabe surfer Cody Maverick (voiced by Shia La Beouf). He's a penguin who has left his home of Shiverpool, Antartica, to take part in his first professional competition at the tropical Pen Gu island. It's cute stuff as Cody meets surf promoter Reggie (James Woods), pretty lifeguard Lani (Zooey Deschanel) and bonkers Chicken Joe (Jon Heder) and learns from washed-up old penguin Geek (Jeff Bridges) that surfing, and winning, isn't always everything. It's not quite as yummy to look at as that other penguin movie, Happy Feet, but this is a fun treat nonetheless.
It may be the weakest of the Shrek movies for us grown-ups, but kids will still enjoy the animated adventures of the loveable green ogre, Shrek (voiced by Mike Myers) and his Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz). This time around, it looks like the pair could end up as King and Queen of Far Far Away, unless Shrek tracks down another heir to the throne, Arthur (Justin Timberlake). And while he's away on the mission with Puss (Antonio Banderas) and Donkey (Eddie Murphy), it means the dastardly Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) has the opportunity to storm the castle and take everyone prisoner! There is a bit too much going on here – and not enough Puss and Donkey – but there are some good belly laughs to be had too.
The blockbuster movie based on the popular eighties toys and cartoon series is a blast thanks to Armageddon director Michael Bay. Hot new actor Shia LaBeouf (he's in next year's Indiana Jones movie) is the teen who discovers his new car is a little bit different (it transforms, of course) and who finds himself in the middle of a battle between good and evil – between the peace-loving Autobots – led by Optimus Prime – and the nasty Decepticons. Jon Voight, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and John Turturro co-star but you'll be too busy being blown away by the rocking special effects to notice.
The most recent of the Harry Potter movies is also the darkest so far, as Harry and his friends form the secret Dumbledore's Army to battle against the black arts. This film – based, of course, on the fifth book in JK Rowling's phenomenally successful series – is the one in which our bespectacled hero (Daniel Radcliffe, whose acting has improved considerably) gets his first kiss, and Hogwarts itself is under threat following the appointment of teacher Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Gambon are among the star-studded cast of this sinister adventure – parents should note there are some scary bits that earnt this DVD a '12' certificate.
Everyone's favourite yellow family had big screen adventures this summer (at last) and the movie is now available on DVD. Like the series in recent years, it's not as hysterically funny as the first few years of The Simpsons but there are definitely laughs to be had after Grampa has a vision that predicts impending doom for the town of Springfield, and Homer has to fight to save his family, his friends and his new pet pig. Bart, Lisa, Marge, and the gang are all here up to tricks new and old – but funniest moment of all is a sequence (Spider Pig) featuring Homer's new porky pal, whose facial expressions are so brilliant he should get his own spin-off series.
Not as great as the first movie, but not as dull as the second, this third and possibly final installment of the Pirates Of The Caribbean saga picks up where part two (Dead Man's Chest) left off.
Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is missing, and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) have enlisted former enemy Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to help find and rescue him. It's surprisingly inventive for a movie based on a theme park ride, but also a tad confusing when it stops doing what it does best – delivering swashbuckling, silly fun. Bloom and Knightley look pretty throughout, but we all know the reason to buy this is for Depp's completely bonkers performance (and yes, Keith Richards – his inspiration – does pop up in a cameo as Sparrow's dad).