7 of the best family-friendly films to take the kids to this summer - from Barbie to the Ninja Turtles

(Photo: Pexels)(Photo: Pexels)
(Photo: Pexels) | Pexels
There's a surprising amount of choice to keep the kids entertained this summer

As the summer holidays roll around once more, brave parents all over the country will be forced to navigate the wild and wonderful world of kids' movies.

Whether you're escaping the dreary British weather (or just need an air-conditioned room in which to hide from record-breaking temperatures) or want to kids to be quiet for a few hours, the cinema is a safe bet.

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Not only will the following films releasing over the next weeks entertain the little ones, they'll also relieve some stress from the adults' own chaotic days. Well, most of them will; we find ourselves facing an abundance of movie choices – some exciting, others... well, let's just say they're interesting.

From existential Barbie escapades to Australian armoured pangolins, and even a Ukrainian forest spirit caught in a romantic dilemma. there's a surprising amount of depth to this summer's family-friendly offerings. Here's your guide on what to see:

Barbie (12A)

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken in Barbie (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken in Barbie (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken in Barbie (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures) | Warner Bros. Pictures

What is it? At this point, you've probably heard just about everything there is to hear about Barbie ahead of its release, so we won't bore you with too many further details here.

At first glance, the live-action debut of a line of toys beloved by girls and boys around the world for decades sounds ripe for a completely kid-centric experience. But with Greta Gerwig behind the camera and a decidedly existential twist, it appears as if there'll be plenty for adults to chew on behind Margot Robbie and crew's comedy.

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Kids will want to see it because of the toy tie-in. Adults will just want to be there for one of the most talked about movies of the year.

When can I watch it? 21 July

The Secret Kingdom (PG)

(Photo: Saban Films)(Photo: Saban Films)
(Photo: Saban Films) | Saban Films

What is it? It's hard to envy a film that opens on the same weekend as the Barbenheimer juggernaut. But if you're neither on the side of the garishly pink Barbie or the garishly beige Oppenheimer, The Secret Kingdom could be a safe third option, especially for the kids.

This Australian, C. S. Lewis-esque fantasy adventure tells the story of anxious Peter and his sister Verity, taken by a garrison of armoured pangolin to a land of enchantment that lies beneath the two siblings' bedroom floor, one that's in need of protection from an ancient enemy.

Older viewers beware: The Secret Kingdom hasn't exactly tracked well with reviewers, but kids will likely get a dizzying, magical thrill from it.

When can I watch it? 21 July

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Mavka: The Forest Song (PG)

(Image: Film.UA Distribution)(Image: Film.UA Distribution)
(Image: Film.UA Distribution) | Film.UA Distribution

What is it? Ukraine's film industry - like just about every other aspect of life in the country - remains a ruin of its former self as Putin's full-scale invasion trundles on after a protracted 18 months. But this summer offers an unlikely opportunity for families to lend their support when Mavka: The Forest Song hits UK cinemas.

Based on the play The Forest Song by poet Lesya Ukrainka, this animated film draws inspiration from Ukrainian and Slavic folk mythology - as well as, judging by the visuals, Disney big-hitters like Frozen and Tangled - and tells the story of Mavka, a young and naive forest spirit.

When she develops feelings for a human musician, an inevitable situation forces Mavka to choose between her love and her duty as a guardian of the forest.

When can I watch it? 28 July

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (12A)

(Image: Paramount Pictures)(Image: Paramount Pictures)
(Image: Paramount Pictures) | Paramount Pictures

What is it? Paramount Pictures will be hoping this computer-animated take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can emulate the animated success of the recent Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse in bringing a fresh take to a beloved franchise.

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The names behind it all certainly suggest they might be able to, with Superbad's Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg teaming up to write and produce Mutant Mayhem. Of course it's not going to be as raunchy as the 2007 classic, but that slacker style should fit the Ninja Turtles perfectly.

In terms of story, after years of being sheltered from the human world, the four Turtle brothers set out on a quest to be accepted as normal teenagers by the people of New York City through acts of heroism.

When can I watch it? 31 July

Gran Turismo (PG)

(Image: Sony Pictures Releasing)(Image: Sony Pictures Releasing)
(Image: Sony Pictures Releasing) | Sony Pictures Releasing

What is it? Any little ones with a love of fast cars will likely enjoy Gran Turismo, as will those with a gaming interest, who may find an in too.

Although today's kids are far too young to remember the original 1997 PlayStation game, this film essentially only shares a name with the series, and instead of being a big-screen adaptation of the racing series, tells the real-life story of Jann Mardenborough, a teenage Gran Turismo player aspiring to be a race car driver.

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Mardenborough's gaming skills won him a series of Nissan-sponsored video game competitions to become an actual professional race car driver, with his knowledge of Gran Turismo's virtual recreation of famous racing circuits translating into real-life skills.

When can I watch it? 11 August

Haunted Mansion (12A)

(Photo: Disney)(Photo: Disney)
(Photo: Disney) | Disney

What is it? For slightly older kids looking for a bit of a scare, Disney's Haunted Mansion should provide a few pre-Halloween frights.

It tells the story of a single mother who hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest, and a historian to help exorcise her newly bought mansion after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts.

The cast is pleasantly stacked with big names (Ahsoka's Rosario Dawson, Winona Ryder, Owen Wilson, Jared Leto, and Tiffany Haddish to name just a few), and with Guillermo del Toro once attached to the project - though sadly no more - this could be a solid effort.

When can I watch it? 11 August

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Jurassic Park (PG)

(Photo: Universal Pictures)(Photo: Universal Pictures)
(Photo: Universal Pictures) | Universal Pictures

What is it? An all-time classic is returning to cinemas for its 30th anniversary towards the end of the holidays, and is a must see for any dinosaur-loving kids (or any kids who just love great cinema).

Combining thrilling adventure, awe-inspiring dinosaurs (those iconic special effects haven't aged a day), and a sense of wonder, Jurassic Park's mix of suspense and excitement continues to captivate young audiences while sparking their imagination.

An absolutely timeless film, and an enjoyable cinematic experience for both kids and adults alike that simply must be re-enjoyed on the big screen.

When can I watch it? 1 September

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