There are movies that help children learn more about a country you are visiting and my family, movie lovers often watch those before going to a specific destination. For instance before we went to Beijing we watched Karate Kid. Before we went to Jodphur, India I promised my kids they could see the Dark Knight Rises, a more violent movie that I would normally allow. It is worthwhile to see movies filmed in or about the destination you are travelling to.
There is a different type of movie to watch with children though that has nothing to do with specific destinations but about developing a spirit, the spirit of adventure. Movies are great vehicles to develop that yearning for seeing and experiencing new things and expanding your worldview. Watching movies as a family that encourage that sense of wonder can inspire, engage and connect your family in a similar way to travel.
The animated films are a great place to start, most of the Disney films inspire new worlds well. Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin are great examples of movies with main characters that are discovering new worlds and developing a love for their home and for discovering other places. Of recent films Up and Ratatouille really did it best as they showed the travel itself as being frightening, exhilarating and part of the travel experience itself.
For older children and preteens there have been a slew of recent films that have captured that spirit. The Life of Pi, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Hobbit movies and Secret Life of Walter Mitty are great examples. From older movies Indiana Jones series inspires budding archeologists albeit unrealistically.
All of these films are unrealistic clearly but the feeling and spirit they inspire can be recaptured in travel, this is the purpose of movies to inspire emotion and entertain. In between trips, why not keep that adventurous spirit alive or help it grow through movies?