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.


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) 48%

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 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) 24%

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) 91%

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

Spectrum Originals casting TCM Photos ABC Esquire Watching Series Writers Guild of America TBS Sundance Now golden globes Rocky New York Comic Con Quiz Comics on TV X-Men Sony Pictures social media Musical Lucasfilm Calendar game show Winners aliens psychological thriller Set visit HBO strong female leads Box Office TNT Mystery Holidays medical drama cops discovery Nickelodeon Interview nature TCA 2017 DirecTV Cartoon Network TV Land Disney Channel based on movie vampires talk show USA OWN VICE Pet Sematary Amazon Lionsgate 2018 E3 24 frames Amazon Prime cults Universal CMT Comedy toy story dceu Pirates Freeform dragons romance singing competition festivals Western police drama harry potter E! award winner CBS All Access Rocketman historical drama doctor who Star Wars First Look President Schedule miniseries Bravo BBC FXX CNN History Cosplay A&E what to watch American Society of Cinematographers Trivia Grammys 45 richard e. Grant thriller Black Mirror Country finale supernatural 007 Paramount Network sequel docudrama Anna Paquin WGN Horror Walt Disney Pictures Teen Sneak Peek elevated horror spider-man 2017 Comedy Central Red Carpet Showtime psycho Fall TV PBS Sci-Fi Toys El Rey Superheroe Creative Arts Emmys Mudbound teaser Premiere Dates blaxploitation Food Network Spike Star Trek LGBTQ SundanceTV hist Video Games Tarantino Britbox LGBT TIFF cooking Tumblr Opinion Women's History Month 2019 FX AMC Warner Bros. cinemax Mary poppins YouTube Red war Netflix Super Bowl NBC justice league anthology Podcast Chilling Adventures of Sabrina spinoff space facebook Captain marvel spy thriller Ghostbusters Disney MSNBC Election HBO Max 21st Century Fox Superheroes YA Extras Emmy Nominations television BBC America SDCC Best and Worst Action Fantasy TruTV political drama travel Awards Tour The Witch sports anime Vudu Infographic Comic Book GLAAD Trailer Apple zero dark thirty adventure diversity animated GIFs Song of Ice and Fire dc natural history Awards Summer Musicals Emmys Pop Shondaland Masterpiece Pride Month technology crime witnail Hulu Martial Arts Trophy Talk IFC Films Marathons SXSW See It Skip It PaleyFest Nominations Acorn TV binge RT21 Sundance DC streaming service Reality Competition TLC Spring TV DC Comics FOX mockumentary Rock Certified Fresh robots sitcom IFC National Geographic Kids & Family ABC Family 2016 ITV biography MTV CW Seed San Diego Comic-Con Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Character Guide mutant Mindy Kaling Mary Tyler Moore Thanksgiving Crackle Epix CBS Valentine's Day Pixar green book Animation Biopics WarnerMedia Drama streaming DC Universe Shudder unscripted Brie Larson DGA USA Network Lifetime Ellie Kemper composers Rom-Com science fiction Music crime drama true crime Marvel Reality comic BET Dark Horse Comics Christmas ratings MCU ESPN TCA Logo The CW Heroines VH1 Oscars period drama GoT Adult Swim zombie Nat Geo NYCC Fox News transformers Tomatazos Mary Poppins Returns crime thriller Polls and Games Winter TV comiccon Paramount jamie lee curtis zombies 20th Century Fox Film Festival Stephen King Cannes Columbia Pictures theme song YouTube Premium The Arrangement Syfy politics dramedy crossover Elton John APB Starz Chernobyl adaptation RT History cats Ovation disaster Year in Review boxoffice serial killer Countdown TV 2015