Kid-friendly summer movies & fun at the drive-in

I’ve had a lot of parents asking me in the last week or so which films I would recommend they take their children to this summer.

Probably my least favourite family film this holiday season has been Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel.  Yet another sequel that fails to live up to the original and comes across as little more than a dash for box office cash. I gave it a 2 star rating, as you’ll see if you click on the link above to the story in The West.

Most of the parents I follow on Twitter have echoed my opinion.

The Princess and the Frog, on the other hand, was an old-fashioned delight. It should appeal to girls from about four to 10 and maybe some of their younger brothers. This is a classic Disney tale, in the hand-drawn animation style I grew up with.

Start with a familiar story,  add a twist, well-drawn (literally) characters, humour and catchy music and the rest falls into place. You can read the full review at The West here.

Adults will particularly enjoy Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox with George Clooney giving voice and life to the title character. The clever use of cuss for cusswords (cuss that!) was particularly amusing.

Although Avatar is rated M in Australia, we took the kids (9 and 5) to see it at the drive-in last week. Having already seen it without the kids in 3-D, we figured the five-year old would probably fall asleep and if he didn’t, he had come through all six Star Wars movies unscathed – even watching Anakin writhing in fire and molten hell before his rescue and resurrection as Darth Vader.

Interestingly it was Ms 9 who fell asleep several times in the home stretch and Mr 5 who stayed awake. He now likes to boast he has seen two rated-M movies ( I think Star Wars ep III is the other one).

While I generally wouldn’t recommend Avatar for under sevens, if you have children who have enjoyed and understood the earlier Harry Potter films, LOTR or The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, Avatar shouldn’t do them any harm.

If you live in Perth make sure to take the family to the Galaxy Drive-In in Kingsley this summer. It is Perth’s last surviving drive-in and looks as though it hasn’t changed much in 20 years.

Grab some rugs, chairs, doonas and take-away and you’re set.  Best of all, it will cost you about half of what the cinemas do. Tuesdays are a bargain at $15 a car.

Avatar is screening until January 13 and at weekends there’s a double feature with Aliens in the Attic – although I suspect not many kids will stay awake for that one.

The drive-in is particularly popular with family groups and owners of 4WDs, station wagons and utes for the obvious reasons of comfort – just park backwards and leave the tail open.

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