Parental Guidance

3 Dinosaur Movie Alternatives to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The latest Jurassic movie may be too intense for kids, so here are some other choices for families of different ages.

by | June 22, 2018 | Comments

The latest installment of the Jurassic franchise is directed by J.A. Bayona, who’s best known for a horror film (The Orphanage) and a disaster drama (The Impossible), so Fallen Kingdom is unsurprisingly an intense affair. It may be too intense for some kids, in fact, so Christy Lemire breaks down what to expect in it, and then offers a few alternatives for families with children of different ages.


THE MOVIE

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) 47%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril.

The sequel to the 2015 global smash Jurassic World – which made nearly $1.7 billion worldwide – is a lot like its predecessor. The dinosaurs are ferocious, everyone’s in constant peril and lots of folks just straight-up get eaten. Your kids may be interested in dinos, but director J.A. Bayona’s film will be too much for the very young ones. The action is non-stop and often extremely violent. Once again, scientists are foolish enough to tinker with nature and technology, splicing together powerful DNA to create a fearsome super-creature. But Owen (Chris Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and their team also find themselves in danger when a volcano erupts after many years on the abandoned Isla Nublar, sending fireballs raining down on them. And one of the main characters who’s consistently running for her life – from dinosaurs and dastardly humans alike – is a bright and resourceful young girl named Maisie (Isabella Sermon), whose quiet presence and wide eyes vividly indicate her fear. There’s a bit of language scattered throughout. I brought my son (who’s almost 9) with me to the screening, and he didn’t find anything frightening, but he’d also seen the first film and likes to play the LEGO video game. For the most part, though, I’d say this is OK for viewers around 10 and older, especially if they’ve already seen the original movie.


THE RECOMMENDATIONS

The Jurassic World sequel will probably be too intense for a lot of young viewers. If so, here are some dinosaur-centric options for various ages.

The Good Dinosaur (2015) 76%

Rating: PG, for peril, action and thematic elements.

This happened to come out a few months after Jurassic World, and while it also features dinosaurs and kids interacting with each other, it does so in a much more heartwarming way – albeit with some moments of tragedy. The Pixar Animation tale offers a twist on the tried-and-true, boy-and-his-dog story, but it also harkens to Disney animated classics like Bambi and Dumbo, which featured powerful moments of parent-child peril. It’s a gorgeous film, though, filled with high-tech, photorealistic beauty. You’ll swear you’re looking at real water, trees and mountains. A young dinosaur named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) reluctantly befriends the feral boy (Jack Bright) who’d been stealing food from his family’s farm. The two repeatedly find themselves in serious danger. Arlo becomes separated from his family and loses his way home in the treacherous wilderness. There are raging storms, predatory pterodactyls and vicious cattle rustlers to survive, as well as dramatic parental loss early in the film, which already was devastating. The film has a touching, unlikely friendship, but also a pervasive sense of loneliness and fear. My son was only 6 when I brought him with me to a screening of The Good Dinosaur, and we both cried in different spots. I’d say this is OK for most kids in your family, but you may need to have a conversation afterward with the particularly sensitive ones.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes


Caveman (1981) 32%

Rating: PG

OK, just hear me out on this. Yes, Caveman has a lowly 24% approval rating on the Tomatometer. It did not exactly get great reviews when it came out, but it’s gained a bit of a cult appreciation in the years since then. And I have really fond memories of watching it as a kid. I was 8 years old when Caveman debuted in theaters, and that’s probably just about the perfect age to watch it. I recall being tickled by the silly slapstick of it all, and the dialogue is all made-up words and prehistoric grunts. That’s pretty ambitious, but it also makes Carl Gottlieb’s film (the only feature the Jaws co-writer ever directed) accessible to kids. Beatles drummer Ringo Starr plays a scrawny, bullied caveman named Atouk, who longs for the lovely Lana (Barbara Bach), the mate of the hulking Tonda (the late, former NFL defensive lineman John Matuszak). He joins a tribe of misfits (including Shelley Long and Dennis Quaid) and they endure a series of misadventures involving stop-motion animation dinosaurs and even the abominable snowman. But they also discover fire, music, weapons and cooking, and they learn to walk upright. There’s some grown-up humor here, but again, the characters aren’t using real words (“zug zug” means sex, for example) so kids may not catch everything they’re talking about. A T. rex gets high, but it’s a goofy bit. And Caveman features the mother of all poop jokes, which will make your kids giggle uncontrollably. Fine for viewers around 8 and older.

Watch now on: Vudu


Jurassic Park (1993) 92%

Rating: PG-13, for intense science fiction terror.

If your kids haven’t seen any of the movies in the Jurassic franchise, going back to the beginning is a great place to start. Steven Spielberg’s original film remains far and away the best in the series. It’s thrilling and frightening, beautifully crafted and flat-out fun, and it understandably became a worldwide phenomenon. On Isla Nublar off the coast of Costa Rica, a brilliant and eccentric millionaire (Richard Attenborough) has developed a theme park where humans can roam among and learn from dinosaurs. They’re the product of cloned DNA, and they range from spry velociraptors to a massive T. rex. But of course, this paradise can’t last. Greed always gets in the way, eventually leading to mass chaos. The dinosaurs look extremely realistic, both in their physical details and the way they move. And because this is a Spielberg film, the tension is unbearable at times. It’s a classic, though, with a great cast including Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Samuel L. Jackson. Fine for viewers around 9 or 10 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Tag Cloud

VICE Set visit reviews comic book movie A&E Infographic Comic-Con@Home 2021 LGBTQ Quiz chucky Cartoon Network strong female leads football natural history Comedy USA Network prank japan science fiction kong Endgame cancelled TV shows Warner Bros. foreign halloween tv cults movies PBS teaser worst Spike Rock television psychological thriller boxoffice TCA Awards fresh war cancelled TV series Hear Us Out OWN GoT Holidays Sci-Fi Crunchyroll technology harry potter FX on Hulu rom-coms E3 die hard 21st Century Fox spanish language venice french nature Turner Classic Movies The Academy DirecTV A24 south america posters dceu Awards Tour FXX slashers TNT ID 72 Emmy Awards jamie lee curtis First Look Video Games thriller Summer American Society of Cinematographers X-Men quibi slasher Mary Tyler Moore Certified Fresh spy thriller dexter Star Wars Lucasfilm casting YouTube Red news Walt Disney Pictures doctor who toy story Emmy Nominations transformers suspense best boxing Chernobyl The Walking Dead CMT video on demand Rocketman Marathons hollywood CNN Paramount Network live action italian Sundance Mary Poppins Returns Classic Film TCA 2017 concert adaptation Binge Guide Legendary Freeform CW Seed TV spinoff what to watch YouTube Premium Baby Yoda Emmys werewolf police drama Cannes Universal Chilling Adventures of Sabrina directors golden globes Year in Review Photos Teen discovery Anna Paquin travel romance Animation Super Bowl BBC singing competition OneApp RT21 PlayStation 007 romantic comedy canceled TIFF supernatural robots adenture disaster superhero comics comedies miniseries President golden globe awards rt archives stoner spider-man superman The Witch Superheroes scorecard Shondaland Film diversity marvel cinematic universe binge award winner Rocky unscripted jurassic park reboot Comedy Central Heroines comic books know your critic aapi Disney zombie social media rt labs Marvel Television mutant SDCC historical drama Image Comics finale nbcuniversal Columbia Pictures Comics on TV Pop TV latino Amazon Prime Pride Month Reality ITV TLC trailers Television Critics Association dramedy NYCC Dark Horse Comics festival batman Lifetime Christmas movies Family classics 2017 mission: impossible TV renewals Fall TV joker biopic black versus indie FOX Martial Arts Horror tv talk sequels feel good Apple TV+ james bond free movies Tokyo Olympics crime drama Hulu 20th Century Fox cops toronto Mudbound 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Pacific Islander Musicals biography Trivia WGN spain SundanceTV 2019 hist child's play twilight CBS Amazon Prime Video Star Trek book adaptation ESPN Britbox Marvel serial killer HBO cats Apple TV Plus franchise Drama TV One period drama MSNBC dogs action-comedy kids Masterpiece Disney+ Disney Plus razzies Calendar debate MTV DC Universe films Opinion Black History Month Character Guide dark Lifetime Extras facebook sag awards MCU Mary poppins Marvel Studios crossover The Walt Disney Company ABC Family canceled TV shows TV movies vampires YouTube Amazon Studios emmy awards New York Comic Con sports hispanic heritage month Box Office adventure Countdown Valentine's Day Tarantino APB Schedule politics Winter TV sitcom political drama Women's History Month blockbuster Hallmark Christmas movies Pop San Diego Comic-Con ratings king kong space Esquire 71st Emmy Awards Nominations rotten movies we love 2016 legend El Rey HBO Max talk show heist movie USA Broadway critic resources Spring TV VOD BBC America Superheroe japanese australia universal monsters hispanic NBC 24 frames dc Fox News ABC Signature all-time AMC kaiju TCM Ghostbusters Nickelodeon parents Interview Disney Channel screen actors guild high school BAFTA marvel comics Election Brie Larson cooking ViacomCBS Travel Channel Wes Anderson DC streaming service Crackle sequel target cartoon worst movies Tumblr Song of Ice and Fire Writers Guild of America Biopics wonder woman Nat Geo BET Awards documentaries Red Carpet Epix History satire Kids & Family zombies Sony Pictures deadpool Disney streaming service revenge Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt animated WarnerMedia E! Apple DC Comics Polls and Games Fox Searchlight BET IFC Showtime Lionsgate Alien Western Podcast halloween 90s new zealand gangster 2015 crime Adult Swim monster movies saw Comic Book Captain marvel streaming movies based on movie Acorn TV ABC Pet Sematary indiana jones First Reviews aliens FX RT History LGBT NBA Food Network book independent TCA critics stop motion Syfy DGA Television Academy Film Festival medical drama Academy Awards 2020 asian-american cinemax movie Sneak Peek archives See It Skip It king arthur PaleyFest a nightmare on elm street richard e. Grant Logo theme song 4/20 blockbusters Netflix name the review Pirates Grammys Thanksgiving docuseries mockumentary Action nfl screenings rotten rt labs critics edition psycho christmas movies Oscars royal family BBC One Ovation criterion 93rd Oscars blaxploitation telelvision laika Mystery renewed TV shows popular stand-up comedy TV Land mcc comic book movies Creative Arts Emmys elevated horror hidden camera dragons cancelled television ghosts justice league Rom-Com Reality Competition Trophy Talk Tubi Stephen King Watching Series zero dark thirty olympics documentary game of thrones true crime The Arrangement Sundance TV Avengers docudrama Fantasy 45 Paramount Plus Musical international Mindy Kaling children's TV video Exclusive Video Ellie Kemper Netflix Christmas movies VH1 Disney Plus Paramount fast and furious 99% Arrowverse Turner Trailer Winners Vudu new star wars movies series Music Hallmark The Purge GLAAD Black Mirror breaking bad cars young adult 1990s new york women TruTV Sundance Now Elton John Funimation Awards cancelled composers Best and Worst 2021 Discovery Channel witnail Bravo SXSW anime comiccon Christmas Tomatazos 2018 TCA Winter 2020 basketball YA Premiere Dates streaming scary movies Pixar GIFs anthology crime thriller Toys godzilla Country obituary Shudder Peacock comic spanish green book Cosplay CBS All Access HBO Go pirates of the caribbean Holiday festivals scene in color IFC Films lord of the rings Spectrum Originals Amazon National Geographic The CW 73rd Emmy Awards remakes Starz TBS game show