The key here is to find a theme everyone agrees on, and what better place to start than in one of the animation film franchises?
Just pick your favourite movie world, microwave some popcorn and stream – or download to a device for wi-fi-free viewing on the road – a few hours of stress-free fun.
Here’s four animation movie franchises perfect for a long road trip or a movie festival to spread out over a few nights (the Madagascar saga, for example, is three movies totalling four and a half hours of viewing!), plus three one-off ideas to break things up.
In the hit movie series Madagascar, we meet best friends (and residents of New York’s Central Park Zoo) Marty the Zebra (voiced by Chris Rock) and Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller) who while away their days entertaining zoo visitors and living a pampered life… right up to the point where Marty decides he wants to return to the wild and drags his animal neighbours on the adventure of their lives.
It’s a hilarious comedy for all ages, with some great life lessons along the way (don’t eat your friends, for a start!), that continues in Madagascar 2, when the friends finally make their way to Africa and Madagascar 3 as their world tour takes on Europe.
And yes, of course The Penguins, standout stars of all three movies and proof that in cartoons nobody is what they seem, are there to make sure everyone stays safe along the way.
The tale of a grumpy ogre (Mike Myers) who just wants to be left alone is by now a family classic, filled with jokes for fans of all ages. But do you know the full story?
In Shrek the Third, our giant green hero is now married, has a family on the way and finds himself the reluctant stand-in ruler of Far, Far Away when the king falls ill. Desperate to get his old life back, Shrek sets out to find the rightful heir to the throne. Then in Shrek Forever After, still missing those carefree swamp days, Shrek finds himself transported to an alternate world where that loneliness never ended – and he realises how good he really had it.
Oh, and if too much Shrek isn’t enough, take a side trip into the world of his friend Puss In Boots (Antonio Banderas) who weaves his own story into the Shrek universe.
Kung Fu Panda
A big, cuddly Panda living in a quiet Chinese valley, Po Ping (Jack Black), has a dream in Kung Fu Panda. As much as he loves life with his noodle-making father, he dreams of training with Kung Fu master Shifu and standing alongside the legendary warriors The Furious Five to defend his home from evil.
The fact he’s not actually very good at kung fu doesn’t actually matter to Po, who sets out on a series of adventures to show the world he can be anything he wants as long as he believes in himself.
By Kung Fu Panda 2, Po’s dream is a reality, but being a kung fu master is proving tougher than he thought. Sure, it’s fun to hang out with the Furious Five and save the day, but when a super villain brings a new weapon to attack Po’s village, he has to prove he’s up to the job.
How To Train Your Dragon
Based on the best-selling book of the same name, How To Train Your Dragon introduces us to Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) who defies his Viking family to befriend a dragon and prove that together, the two warring species are stronger than they could ever be apart.
Picking up where the story left off, in How To Train Your Dragon 2 Hiccup and Toothless face off with the ultimate villain — a dragon trapper, bent on capturing and dominating over all dragons. However, they are determined to defeat him and restore peace on Berk.
When a pet Chameleon named Rango (Johnny Depp) suddenly finds himself released into the wild, he barely has the skills he needs to survive. And when he’s forced to take over as sheriff of the wild west town he wanders into his chances are slimmer still.
Watch Rango here.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The only non-animated film in this festival, but worth an honourable mention because the turtles started out in comics, this is the story of four crime-fighting mutated turtle brothers who venture out of the sewers to battle ninjas bent on taking over New York. Action – and pizzas – galore!
Watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here.
Still looking for more animation to add into your DIY Film Festival? Take a look through the full Stan movie catalogue here.
Scott is a contributor for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age