10 Movie Beasts That Changed the World

Filed under: Media, Movies


Movie monsters get a bad rap, but they often have positive qualities. Credit: Disney Pixar

Beasts are bad guys, right? Not always. Movie monsters get a bad rap, but they often have positive qualities that help kids learn good things. With monsters, kids can focus on the character's inner beauty and learn how emotional qualities can trump physical appearance -- making them into lovable giants. Also, movie monsters are imperfect, which makes them relatable to kids.

Make use of movie monsters to help guide kids towards positive behavior -- such as being a good friend, making good choices, reporting bullies and working together.

But even nice monsters can sometimes be scary to little kids, so use our movie reviews when deciding what to watch.

The Best Beasts in the Biz

"Monsters, Inc.," age 5
Sully: By exposing Monsters, Inc.'s cynical tactics, Sully upends the Monstropolis power grid from an unsustainable model of fear mongering to an infinitely renewable resource: laughs.

"Beauty and the Beast," age 5
Beast: Destined to a life of hideous loneliness, Beast is rescued by love, proving that anyone can learn the basics of humanity: kindness, compassion and a killer waltz.

"My Neighbor Totoro," age 5
Totoro: The enormous magical sprite serves as a comfort to two sisters whose mother is sick. Through Totoro, their worries are replaced with strength and hope.

"The Iron Giant," age 6
Robot: Against the backdrop of the Cold War, this towering, monosyllabic bone-crusher serves as a symbol of individual choice -- specifically, the ability to know right from wrong ... and choose what's right.

"Pete's Dragon," age 7
Elliot the Dragon: With the ability to make himself invisible, Elliot is the friend who's always there when you need him. And even though he blunders, his good deeds and selflessness outshine his clumsiness.

"Harry and the Hendersons," age 7
Harry, aka Bigfoot: His violent rampages mask a heart of gold, and in the end this hairy beast and his loving captors learn the message of self-help posters everywhere: If you love something, set it free.

"Monsters vs. Aliens," age 7
B.O.B: This gooey one-eyed monster may not be the brightest bulb, but his so-dumb-it-might-actually-work ideas help his merry band of monsters defeat the bad guys, proving in the end that there's -- ahem -- no "I" in team.

"E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," age 7
E.T.: E.T. gives Elliot's life purpose, and he leaves the lonely little boy with a very special lesson: the gift of knowing when to sacrifice your own needs for someone else's benefit.

"Where the Wild Things Are," age 9
Carol: His unattainable desire for perfection drives him to tantrums -- just like a kid. But through his childish behavior, he shows that patience, acceptance, and realistic expectations, both for yourself and others, can lead to happiness.

"Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace," age 10
Yoda: The unlikely looking Jedi Master with a penchant for re-ordering subjects and verbs teaches that believing in yourself and trusting your abilities can give you the confidence to take on the world.

Written by Caroline Knorr.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.