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10 Kids Movies Made By Unlikely Directors | ScreenRant

Unless their name is Brad Bird or Hayao Mayazaki, movie auteurs tend to work with films aimed at adult audiences. Whether it's George Miller's post-apocalyptic world in Mad Max or Martin Scorsese's constant stream of gangster movies, the greatest movie directors have always worked with more mature themes.

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That's why some of the biggest surprises in recent decades are the ones where these incredible directors drop what they're known for and create a kids' movie instead. However, though they are extremely different in tone, many of the movies still carry many parallels to the directors' other works.

10 Happy Feet (2006)

There are a lot of classic movies from 2006, and while Happy Feet isn't exactly one of them, it's certainly one of a kind. It's hard to believe that George Miller, the genius behind the Mad Max series, directed a movie about penguins singing and dancing, but the animated film does still have some parallels with his other movies.

The end of the 2006 film is so sudden, as it cuts from the underwater scenes to politicians arguing in what looks like the war room from Dr. Strangelove. They then ban all Antarctic fishing in what is an abrupt ending. In a way, it's not all that different from Mad Max in that they both deliver strong messages, as the action series is warning audiences of fossil fuel dependence, which is leading to an environmental collapse.

9 Jack (1996)

Francis Ford Coppola had one of the best streaks in cinema history for a director in the '70s, and that can be proven by the sheer amount of Academy Awards he was nominated for with each movie. The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, and Apocalypse Now are all classics, but they're all obviously for mature viewers being exceptionally violent and tonally dark.

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What followed was a string of box office bombs in the '80s, but nothing could have prepared audiences for the extremely schmalzy Robin Williams kids' movie, Jack. The movie is about a young boy who ages four times fast than normal. The film has none of the director's trademarks, and it's much more of a Williams movie than a Coppola movie.

8 Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Wes Anderson's movies have always had a charming whimsy about them. The symmetrical and colorful way they look could even fool some into thinking that movies like Rushmore and Bottle Rocket were made for kids. But despite their coming-of-age themes, the idiosyncratic movies are very much R-rated.

However, in 2009, Wes Anderson adapted the Roald Dahl novel Fantastic Mr. Fox, and it come out as a perfect blend of Anderson's style and a faithful adaptation of the source material. Tim Burton almost directed Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is interesting because the two directors' styles are very different - although both have a strong visual bent.

7 School Of Rock (2003)

From slacker movies about stoners in the '70s like Dazed and Confused to extraordinarily unique sci-fi movies like A Scanner Darkly, director Richard Linklater is a jack of all trades. And in 2003, he abandoned the adult concepts for a musical comedy starring mostly children with Jack Black. School of Rock follows a lazy rocker who inadvertently becomes a teacher in a prestigious school, only to start a band with his class.

Though it has a completely different tone to his other movies and is geared towards a much younger audience, it is still a lot like the director's other movies thematically. It's one of the best fish-out-of-water movies, follows ordinary characters going about their everyday lives, and just like Dazed and Confused, it's a coming-of-age movie at its core.

6 Where The Wild Things Are (2008)

With help from Charlie Kaufman, who wrote the screenplays, Spike Jonze developed a distinct style with Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. The director was labeled a wunderkind for his unique surrealist approach to relationships. The movies played on reality in fun and strange ways, but there was an inherent feeling of hopelessness for the protagonist of each film.

That was what made it shocking when Jonze followed that one-two punch with Where The Wild Things Are, one of the most uplifting and positive-spirited kids movies there are. However, the director returned to his usual pessimistic and absurd approach with her, one of the best director comeback movies.

5 Millions (2004)

Danny Boyle is best known for his breakthrough movie Trainspotting, which is about a group of heroin addicts who will do anything to get their next fix. Outside of that, his filmography includes The Beach, which follows a backpacker who goes on a dark mental journey in Thailand, and 28 Days Later, a post-apocalyptic horror movie.

The director followed up the zombie film with Millions, a sweet movie about a boy who commits random acts of kindness after he finds millions of pounds. Looking at his filmography, it's hardly surprising that Boyle wanted to make a kindhearted movie like Millions. Making all those dark and sinister movies can surely take their toll on a director.

4 Hugo (2011)

With directors making leftfield choices and subverting fans' expectations with particular projects, Martin Scorsese's Hugo is one of the most surprising. After directing so many gritty gangster movies, the director made a film about an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station in Paris. Not only that but it was shot in 3D too. But it mustn't have impressed the director, as Scorsese abandoned 3D after trying it once.

However, the whole movie is a love letter to cinema, as it follows Hugo's discovery of film. And in that respect, it's the most typical Scorsese movie he has ever made considering that he spends so much of his career preserving film and even started The Film Foundation in 1990.

3 Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005)

Tim Burton is known for his gothic style. Between Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Sleepy Hollow, the director combines dark visuals, fantasy horror, and characters with deep-rooted abandonment issues. Given that, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is very much in his wheelhouse, as the 2005 kids movie features all of those trademarks too.

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Even though preschoolers would love the movie and it's clearly aimed at kids, there are still some sinister moments in the film that are typically Burtonesque and could frighten some. However, it's still nothing compared to the terrifying Tunnel of Terror scene in the original Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

2 Oz The Great And Powerful (2013)

Best known for the iconic Evil Dead series, it took director Sam Raimi quite some time to finally delve into kids' movies. Raimi had been directing horrors, gritty superhero movies like Darkman, and revisionist westerns for 33 years before he directed the Oz the Great and Powerful.

However, Raimi was a genius directing choice by the studio, as his background in directing horror helped elevate the scenes with the Wicked Witch of the West. Funnily enough, the film is closer to the dark tone of Return to Oz than it is to the original.

1 Pinocchio (2021)

Not much is known about the upcoming Pinocchio movie other than that it's directed by Guillermo del Toro. The director is best known for his creature movies like Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, and The Shape of Water, all of which would scare the living daylights out of children if they ever saw them.

However, if del Toro were to direct any children's movie, Pinocchio would be the best choice. As the director has created visually spectacular creatures like Amphibian Man and Pale Man, there's no limit to how imaginative he can get with puppets and talking donkeys. Pinocchio is due out on Netflix by the end of the year.

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