We all loved watching movies and cartoons when we were children. There is something special about this unknown world we are about to discover and the characters we are going to meet. Some movies we have watched as children stay with us forever. We like to rewatch them and remind ourselves of our favourite scenes and quotes. And the feelings we had when we watched them for the first time. There are many unforgettable kids’ movies from the 2000s, both animated and regular movies, so let’s have a look at the best you have to watch (again).
The Harry Potter series (2001 – 2011)
The most beloved little magician ever and his adventures are definitely some of the most memorable children’s movies we have ever seen. Although not solely for children, especially its few final sequels, Harry Potter’s world is the one the majority knows about. We follow seven years of education at Hogwarts, the school of magic where we get to know all sorts of magicians, among which there is the most important one, Harry Potter.
Harry, together with his best friends and teachers gets into different more or less dangerous adventures that we simply adored reading about and later watching. It is a children’s movie which adults find very interesting, too, especially the ones who were children or teenagers when the first movie, The Philosopher’s Stone, came out.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Another movie based on a book, The Chronicles of Narnia is a magnificent story of a world so special and wonderful that we all wanted to go through that wardrobe together with Lucy. This parallel universe is magical, full of unusual creatures, a promised land for every child with great imagination.
After Lucy discovers Narnia and visits it a couple of times, she takes her brothers and sister with her and they find themselves facing the adventure of a lifetime. They talk to animals, meet an evil white witch and a good lion and soon find out that their destiny is to save the kingdom from the darkness that arrives. There are two more sequels in the trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
School of Rock (2003)
Jack Black rocked this movie as a substitute teacher who has never finished anything, let alone got an education in education itself. He answers a phone call meant for his roommate and decides to impersonate him as a music teacher in a preppy private school. Black is Dewey Finn, a lowlife with no future, but an excellent music connoisseur who ends up as an enlightened teacher with cool new methods.
Even though this couldn’t happen in real life and a Dewey of a sort would soon be discovered, this movie allows us to fantasise about all the jobs we have ever wanted to do. It is funny, full of musical references, genius quotes and excellent music, and a must-watch for every child, but also a grown-up.
Cars is an unforgettable cartoon that teaches children all sorts of things, such as the importance of never giving up, the importance of friendship, and being someone’s support. It is a story of a successful and cocky race car named Lightning McQueen who is on his way to a competition in California.
He damages the road of the small town of Radiator Springs and needs to stay there to repair it. At first, he can’t adjust to this small community of nice and friendly cars, but one step at a time he starts to value the meaning of true friendship and love.
Freaky Friday (2003)
Lindsay Lohan was a huge child and teen star at the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s and this is one of her most famous and popular movies. A hilarious remake that teaches us not to be too hot-headed and to think before we act. Anna Coleman and her mother Tess have never gotten along very well and never really understood each other.
After a big argument on one Thursday night in a Chinese restaurant, both of them receive a fortune cookie from the restaurant owner’s mother. The next day they wake up in one another’s bodies. They have to adjust to the new personalities and this will be an excellent way to start understanding each other better.
Finding Nemo (2003)
One of the most beloved and beautiful cartoons of all time, a wonderful story of love and friendship. After his son is captured and sent to Sydney, a shy clownfish Marlin leaves home and sets out to find him. On his journey, he meets different sea creatures who somehow help him find his way.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, Nemo is trapped inside a big fish tank and plans a great getaway with his fellow captives. And we follow an adventure of a lifetime, laugh our hearts out at some situations, and almost cry at some. This cartoon has one of the most memorable supporting characters ever, a fish called Dori who has a very bad memory which puts her into hilarious situations.
Will Ferrel is a well-known comedian whom we mostly remember from parodies and slapstick comedies with rude humour and often offensive messages. Although still pretty typical for him, Elf is a bit different from these and it is worth mentioning since it is a movie for both children and adults alike.
Buddy was an orphanage baby who accidentally ended up in Santa’s sack and was taken to the North Pole where he was raised by elves. He is now a grown-up man who wants to find his birth father, so he travels to New York City to find him. We follow his adventures and funny situations while he is trying to find his not-so-lovable father.
Spirited Away (2001)
It is not easy to pick a Japanese cartoon that children didn’t enjoy, but Spirited Away is special in many ways. It is a story about a small girl with a big mission. After her dad makes a wrong turn on their way to a new home, Chihiro and her parents end up in an amusement park where nothing is as it seems.
Her parents have been turned into pigs and there is a possibility that they might be forced to stay there and this brave little girl needs to save them before it’s too late. With help from a boy she just met, Chihiro has to overcome numerous obstacles in order to escape this nightmare.
This unforgettable cartoon is definitely one of those we could watch over and over again. A warm story about a friendship between Carl Fredricksen, an old man who has always wanted to visit South America, and a boy scout named Russell who is going to make his dream come true.
This is one of the craziest journeys ever seen since Russell lifted Carl’s house with a thousand balloons and began their adventure. It is full of new and interesting friends, but also some evil minds with evil plans. Carl will have to face a not-so-pleasant discovery.
Another cartoon for the whole family, this beautiful story will at the same time entertain us, but also teach us a lot. It is set in a distant, but not so unrealistic future where the earth is abandoned by humans due to an extensive amount of trash which made it unbearable to live on. The only one who lives there is a robot called WALL-E which collects trash.
He meets EVE, another robot who is sent to Earth to check if there is maybe still a living soul there. He falls in love with her and soon finds himself on a journey that might harm him, but at the same time be one of the most beautiful and meaningful things he has ever done.
The Incredibles (2004)
This action-packed cartoon is a must-see for the whole family since it is a story of a not-so-ordinary family. Bob and his wife Helen are superheroes, the world’ greatest to be precise and they spend their days fighting crime. Fifteen years later they were forced to retire and live a normal suburban life with their three children.
They have never forgotten their true self and being always eager to continue this career, Bob finally gets his chance when he is summoned to a remote island on a secret assignment. It will take more than only two of them, but this won’t be a problem, since their children have also been born with supernatural powers.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
An adaptation of one of the most famous children’s books of all time, Roald Dahl’s story with the same title, about five children who enter a marvellous chocolate factory. Willy Wonka is the owner of this sweet empire and one day he decides to welcome five children who win a special golden ticket in one of his bars. Charlie is one of these kids and he is about to have the time of his life. Or at least he thought so.
But after they enter the factory, strange things begin to happen and nothing seems to go as planned at the factory. The director Tim Burton, Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, and Freddie Highmore as Charlie are mostly responsible for the fact that we want to watch this movie more than once.
Ice Age (2002)
This cartoon has gained a cult status and is one of the most popular among children these days, too. It is funny, witty and it always brings a smile to our faces. Full of unforgettable characters and adventures, this movie is set in the Ice Age and tells a story of a group of soon to become friends who will have to return a human child back to its father.
On their way they have to deal with various more or less dangerous situations and animals they encounter, but the most important thing is that they learn the importance of true friends and that help often comes from the ones you least expected it to.
Who would think that someone would ever come up with a story about a rat chef? But everything is possible in cartoons. And this is one of the best in the last two decades and one of many we like to go back to. A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a French chef despite all the odds against him. But fate always shows itself and this time it put Remy in the sewers beneath one of the most prestigious Paris restaurants.
Remy meets his culinary hero and soon becomes one of his greatest helpers, unfortunately, one which simply mustn’t be seen or mentioned, given the fact that rodents are not really the most welcome animals in the kitchen.
This is a hilarious cartoon about a green ogre named Shrek who discovers that his swamp has been inhabited by different fairytale creatures by the cunning Lord Farquad. Unsatisfied with this fact, Shrek travels to Lord Farquad to convince him to give him back his swamp. Accompanied by a very loud monkey, Shrek makes a deal with Farquad and sets out on an even longer journey.
In order to get his swamp back, he must rescue Princess Fiona who is waiting for her true love, trapped in a tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. Everything goes as planned with the rescue, but on their way back, Shrek starts falling in love with Fiona, without realising that she is hiding a big secret.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
One of the most original cartoons from the 2000s, Monsters, Inc. brings us the story of Sulley and Mike, two best friends who live in a city of monsters without humans, called Monstropolis. They work as professional scarers, entering children’s rooms and giving them nightmares so that their screams can bring power to their city.
Children are toxic to them and they will have to face this great danger when a two-year-old Boo accidentally enters their world. Sulley and Mike need to find a way to return Boo to her room before the two biggest villains find out.
What happens when a fairytale character gets transferred to the real world? This happened to the beautiful Giselle who was banished by evil queen Narissa from her magical animated land filled with music and sent to New York City.
Completely unprepared and truly shocked by modern life, with no happy endings and people who don’t sing when they want to express themselves, Giselle is constantly trying to bring some magic to the town and its people. When she falls in love with a charming divorce lawyer, she will start questioning the real difference between her world and the one she has found herself in.
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
This is a modern version of the well-known fairytale The Frog Prince. Prince Naveen is an arrogant and self-centred man who is transformed into a frog by a voodoo magician and Tiana is a waitress who wants to become a restaurant owner one day. She has to help Naveen to turn back into his human form, but she has to face the same problem after she kisses him.
This cartoon is dark and mysterious, with a soundtrack to remember and an array of unforgettable characters (a trumpet-playing alligator, a Cajun firefly, and a blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree) who help Naveen and Tiana in their mission.
The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
Upon moving to their new home with their mother Helen, a run-down Spiderwick Estate, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace and their sister Mallory get pulled into an alternate world inhabited by fairies and other creatures.
Many accidents and strange disappearances that begin to happen every day are really difficult to explain and everyone starts blaming Jared for that. But when he decides to investigate it with the help of his siblings, they discover a beautiful secret behind this estate and the creatures that live there.
Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Another story about a group of friends who must deal with a situation where everything and everyone depends on them. Po, a lazy panda and the biggest fan of Kung Fu is unexpectedly chosen to fulfil an ancient prophecy and his dream becomes reality when he enters the world of Kung Fu.
He has the opportunity to be next to his idols, the legendary Furious Five, but soon he will be the one who has to defend everyone from the dangerous snow leopard who is headed their way. It is now time for Po to show his real talent and turn his dreams into reality. This cartoon shows us how our biggest weaknesses can sometimes become our greatest strengths.
Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
This heartwarming and sad story about growing up and dealing with the hardships that some teenagers have to face is a must-see. Jess Aarons is having a hard time growing up in the Redneck country with a father who has to make ends meet, three arrogant sisters, and a younger one he has to take care of. He befriends Leslie Burke, a newcomer in his class and a neighbour who helps him deal with these struggles.
They invent their fantasyland Terabithia where they can be whoever they want to be and simply forget about their everyday problems. Jess is finally a happy boy, but then the tragedy strikes and he must go back to gloominess and despair.
Nanny McPhee (2005)
Nanny McPhee is definitely no Mary Poppins but is nevertheless an interesting and peculiar nanny who also uses magic to deal with the children of the household she was invited to. It is the 19the century, Victorian England and Cedric Brown is a tired widowed undertaker who needs help with his seven children.
After too many nannies they have driven away, nanny McPhee is without doubt one they asked for. More than unattractive and pretty strict, it seems that this nanny might be exactly what they needed.
Night at the Museum (2006)
A movie for the whole family, but kids might enjoy it a bit more. They are going to watch it several times, without any doubt, since it is an adventure story full of interesting characters who need to protect the museum from the criminals who broke into it. Larry Daley is a complete loser. Unemployed and divorced and overall a disappointed man gets a job as a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History in New York.
He immediately realises that nothing is as it seems there. Statues are brought to life every night by an old Egyptian stone and all the historic characters rule the museum until dawn. When the mentioned criminals break into the museum, Larry will need all the help from his unusual friends to stop them from stealing this magical stone.
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
The vain and cocky Emperor Kuzco plans to build a new waterpark for his birthday after firing his suspicious administrator Yzma. Kuzco wants to build the water park just for himself and by doing it he will have to destroy one of the villages in his kingdom. Meanwhile, Yzma is planning revenge and tries to find a way to usurp the throne.
But suddenly everything changes when Kuzco gets magically transformed into a llama. He is now the property of Pacha, whose home is one of the houses that would have to be destroyed for Kuzco’s water park. When Pacha discovers his true identity, the two of them decide to help each other. Kuzco wants his throne back and in order to help him, Pacha wants him to make a promise to move the water park.
Corpse Bride (2005)
Tim Burton’s movies are always a memorable experience, something completely different from the usual stories. This time we have a peculiar and special cartoon, one which is difficult to forget. Victorian England, somewhere in the 1800s, Victoria and Victor are about to get married, but after a terrible wedding rehearsal, Victor goes to the woods to practice his wedding vows.
Somehow, he ends up married to Emily, the corpse bride and Victor end up in her world, full of skeletons and dead animals. And in the real world, there is another suitor who threatens to take Victor’s place. It is on Victor to decide whether he is going to stay with the one he eventually started to like very much or go back to his everyday life and take care of his family and their name.
Spy Kids (2001)
Kids play the most important role in this movie and that’s why children will enjoy it, maybe even fantasising about becoming spies themselves. Gregorio and Ingrid are some of the world’s best secret agents who are living a quiet family life after years of adventures and danger. But when their former colleagues and skilled agents start disappearing, they have to embrace their past selves.
They are forced to go against Fegan Floop and his evil sidekick Minion, but they soon disappear, too and the only ones who can save them and their friends are the only two people in the world, their kids.
Maybe not really a cartoon for the youngest children, but Coraline is a movie that older children and teenagers will definitely enjoy. Coraline is a young girl who moves to an old house where she feels bored and neglected by her parents. One night she finds a hidden passage that leads to a parallel universe where everyone seems completely different from her reality.
Everyone has buttons instead of eyes and lives with loving and caring parents who make their all dreams come true. But Coraline soon realises that this is just an illusion and tries to escape this world that is trying to capture her for eternity.
Flushed Away (2006)
Roddy is a mouse who lives as a beloved pet in a wealthy flat in Kensington and Sid is a sewer rat who one day comes out of Roddy’s sink and is aware of the situation he’s found himself in. Obviously, Roddy wants to get rid of him by flushing him down the toilet, but Sid tricks him and Roddy is the one who ends up in the London sewers.
Roddy finds himself among all kinds of animals whose main preoccupation is to get away from the dangerous Toad, who hates all kinds of rodents equally and wants the literally iced. He has dreadful plans when his minions don’t succeed in doing that and it is now Roddy’s job to try and escape his and his friends’ fate.
Over the Hedge (2006)
RJ is a hungry raccoon that accidentally takes it from a bear named Vincent who is now reluctant to have his food back in a week. RJ finds out there is an animal family who could help him restore food. With some help from their leader, a tortoise named Vernon, RJ believes that he will be able to do it.
But he is not aware that there is a woman who has recently hired an exterminator to hunt them all down. While trying to escape it, RJ is going to learn many things that have always been distant to him, and the most important of all, the meaning of family.
Animals in zoos are not happy and Marty, the bored zebra from Central Park Zoo decides to escape it, dreaming of the vast spaces in Africa. Together with his best friends, lion Alex, giraffe Melman, and hippo Gloria, Marty finds himself on a ship to a wildlife preserve.
They end up on Madagascar, which is Marty’s dream come true, but now he and his friends need to face the fact and see what it means to be a real wild animal.
Happy Feet (2006)
This is an interesting story that brings us closer to the world of penguins, through the eyes of Mumble who is completely devoid of the penguins’ biggest talent, singing. He is talented at tap dancing, which makes it pretty difficult for his family. Even though they are not too disappointed by it, his parents know that without a Heartsong, he may never find true love.
Unfortunately, Mumble is too different and soon he gets cast out of the community. Far away from home, he meets a group of Emperor penguins who immediately embrace him as one of their own. On his journey with them, Mumble will learn many new things and, most importantly, the true meaning of friendship.
Chicken Run (2000)
An inventive cartoon that deals with the things that humans often rebel against, only this time told from the animals’ point of view. Repression and captivity are the things that these farm animals are used to. But not anymore, they object being held as prisoners and decide to rebel against the evil Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy.
Led by Rocky the rooster and Ginger the chicken, the chickens are trying to escape from the dangerous farmers and their nightmare farm. This movie is smart, funny, and very brave, and definitely, one that we will watch more than once.
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Far far away from us, a genetic experiment resulted in creating an aggressive creature with only one weakness, due to the density of its body, it cannot swim in the water. After the scientist is sentenced to jail, the being is also to be transported to a prison asteroid. It manages to escape and somehow ends up on Earth.
It can be even more dangerous here, but it gets adopted by Lilo, a little girl who adopts it as a dog and completely changes its original settings. Stitch becomes her pet and changes her and her family’s life in more ways than they ever expected. But the fallen experiment should also be reported to the Grand Councilwoman far far away.
Surf’s Up (2007)
Told as a mockumentary, this cartoon follows the story of a teenage rock hopper penguin Cody who is about to participate in the world’s biggest competition of penguin surfing. It is in honour of his greatest surfing idol, Big Z, and Cody is determined to win. But the waves are different here on Pen Gu island than in his hometown of Shiverpool, Antarctica and the competition is very strong.
Cody will have to fight hard to win and during his stay on the island, he will also learn many important lessons about life and surfing, with some help from his new friend Geek, an aging former surfer.
Brother Bear (2003)
Kenai is a man who resents bears after a fight with one that kills his brother and gets turned into a bear to see life from a different point of view. He is visited by the spirit of his older brother with the information that he should travel to the place where the lights touch the Earth if he wants to go back to his human form.
On his way, he meets various animals and slowly starts to realise that he likes being a bear and that humans are in fact a species more dangerous than any animal. Soon, he will make a decision that will change his life forever.