Spring is finally here, and with it comes a spate of kid-friendly movies sure to entice young audiences eager to get their fill of talking animals, wildlife documentaries and animated adventures. Before you head to the local multiplex for popcorn and a matinee, choose wisely from April's bounty of family films.
'Hop' (Rated PG)
In Theaters: Now
Starring: James Marsden, Russell Brand, Kaley Cuoco
What It's About: Brand voices E.B., the adolescent son of the Easter Bunny. But he doesn't want to inherit his father's seasonal commitment to fly around the world delivering candy-filled baskets; he wants to become a rock drummer. Once in Hollywood, E.B. meets up with Fred (Marsden), a jobless slacker who harbors a hidden fascination with Easter.
For Kids Who Like: Seasonal family fodder and talking-animal comedies like 'The Santa Clause' or 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua'
'Born to Be Wild' (Rated G)
In Theaters: April 8
Starring: Documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman
What It's About: Unlike many recent nature docs that tend to solely follow animals in the wild, this 3D IMAX documentary focuses on two animal lovers -- primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas and elephant authority Dame Sheldrick -- who've dedicated their lives to rescuing and rehabilitating orangutan and elephant babies (respectively) before releasing them back to the wild.
For Kids Who Like: Ooohing and aaahing over animal babies like in 'March of the Penguins'
'Rio' (Rated PG)
In Theaters: April 15
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, George Lopez
What It's About: Just off his Oscar-nominated role in 'The Social Network,' Eisenberg voices Blu, a rare Blue Macaw that's literally the last male of his species. When it's discovered a female Blue Macaw, Jewel (Hathaway), lives in Rio, Blu is dispatched there from his "native" Minnesota to mate. Once presented with his love interest, Blu must overcome his fear of flying, so he and Jewel can navigate dangerous locales to fend off money-hungry exotic-bird poachers.
For Kids Who Like: Animated animal epics like 'Finding Nemo' or 'Ice Age'
'African Cats' (Rated G)
In Theaters: April 22
Starring: Documentary narrated by Samuel L. Jackson
What It's About: For the third year in a row, Disneynature releases an Earth Day documentary chronicling the trials and triumphs of the animal kingdom (and championing conservation issues). This year, the documentary centers on three Big Cat families -- a single lioness and her cub; an alpha male defending his pride; and a mama cheetah and her five newborns -- and features not Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones, but the inimitable Jackson (don't worry, it's still a G-rated film).
For Kids Who Like: Nature docs like 'Earth' or 'Oceans'
'Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil' (Rated PG)
In Theaters: April 29
Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Glenn Close, Joan Cusack
What It's About: Nearly six years after Miramax's original animated fairy tale became a sleeper hit, Red Riding Hood and her Granny (Close) return for more misadventures. Now played by Panettiere instead of Anne Hathaway, Red is back to team up with the Big Bad Wolf (Patrick Warburton), who aids her in investigating the mysterious disappearance of those ill-fated siblings Hansel and Gretel.
For Kids Who Like: Fairy-tale epics like the 'Shrek' series
'Prom' (Rated PG)
In Theaters: April 29
Starring: Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonnell, Danielle Campbell
What It's About: Ah, prom -- that limousine-and-corsage-filled rite of passage that every high-schooler must attend, endure, or conscientiously object to. Disney's teen dramedy takes a look at how several different teens (a fresh-faced good girl, the edgy guy she's obviously destined to fall for; a couple of King and Queen wannabes; a geeky boy who can't seem to ask the right girl; etc.) approach the school year's biggest social event.
For Kids Who Like: Teen soaps like 'High School Musical'