Parental Guidance

Three Amazing, Age-Appropriate Ape Adventure Alternatives to Rampage

by | April 13, 2018 | Comments

It stars a charismatic Dwayne Johnson, it’s based on an old video game, and it’s got explosions and CGI, so there’s a fair chance your kids will be interested in seeing Rampage this weekend. And as long as they’re at least somewhere in late elementary school, it should be fine. But for those of you who have younger children, or simply need a weekend in, Christy offers three primate-themed alternatives you can watch with the family.


Rampage (2018) 51%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief language and crude gestures.

Giant, genetically enhanced animals thunder across the United States en route to destroying Chicago, and only Dwayne Johnson – with a lot of help from Naomie Harris – can stop them. Yes, Rampage is exactly the kind of ridiculous B-movie that you want it to be. But it’s also extremely violent and intense, and will likely be too scary for most kids. Johnson stars as a primatologist who must team up with Harris’ geneticist to prevent a super-powered gorilla, wolf, and alligator from creating massive amounts of carnage. Many people do die, though, in their futile attempts at containing these freakish creatures. There’s a ton of gunfire and explosions. Much of downtown Chicago does indeed get leveled, placing countless numbers of people in peril. And just the sight of these animals brawling and roaring ferociously at each other will probably be too much for young viewers to bear. They don’t call it Rampage for nothing. (Also, the albino gorilla, who’s Johnson’s buddy in happier times, has a running joke with his trainer in which he gives him the middle finger.) But for kids around 11 or 12 and older, this movie is good, stupid fun.


If Rampage sounds like it might be too much for the whole family to handle, here are some other movies featuring primates that everyone can enjoy:

King Kong (1933) 98%

Rating: Not rated

We’ve seen plenty of remakes and parodies. Just last year, we were treated to the high-tech spectacle of Kong: Skull Island. And of course, King Kong has fought other giant creatures in films like 1962’s delightfully cheesy King Kong vs. Godzilla. But this is the granddaddy of them all, and it still holds up 85 years later in terms of its emotional impact. A documentary filmmaker (Robert Armstrong) travels to the South Seas to track down a famed, 50-foot ape. Along for the journey is Fay Wray as the beauty who will be the leading lady in his latest film – and who becomes the object of the misunderstood King Kong’s brutish affections. Back in New York City, he goes so far as to escape his captivity to pursue her, famously grabbing her and climbing up to the top of the Empire State Building with her in his giant, furry paw. Director Merian Cooper’s monster movie remains one of the greatest and most revered of all time. It’s a marvel of miniatures and stop-motion animation, even down to the movement of Kong’s fur. It may look simple now to your kids – especially the brawl on Skull Island between Kong and a T. Rex – given how accustomed they are to more high-tech visual effects. But the classic scene atop the Empire State Building remains thrilling. Fine for viewers around 7 or 8 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOW, iTunes

Jane (2017) 98%

Rating: PG

A treasure trove of decades-old footage of a young Jane Goodall, when she was just beginning her journey as an advocate for chimpanzees specifically and the globe in general, comprises the bulk of this fascinating documentary. Director Brett Morgen gives us an intimate glimpse into the globetrotting, trailblazing primatologist, back when she was an inexperienced but inquisitive and intrepid 26-year-old. We see her gain the animals’ trust after many months of following and studying them in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, en route to becoming the expert she is today. There’s a bit of chimp-on-chimp violence here, not unlike what you’d see in any nature documentary. Some chimps also die, which is quite sad. And there’s a tiny bit of language, as well as Goodall’s matter-of-fact discussion of her divorce. But Jane is extremely worthwhile for its portrait of a dedicated, independent young woman who dared to travel to the other side of the world to pursue her dreams in a male-dominated field of study. She also narrates the film, based on her own writings, and provides new interviews for perspective. Great for viewers ages 7 or 8 and older.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Every Which Way But Loose (1978) 36%

Rating: PG

This isn’t exactly the highest-rated film on this list – or on the whole Tomatometer, for that matter — but I recall loving it as a kid, and I suspect your kids will love it, too. In its day, this Clint Eastwood action-comedy was critically trashed. What was Eastwood thinking? He made his name playing a tough guy. Why would he want to play around with an orangutan? But maybe that’s the point. Maybe Eastwood was looking for a change of pace after the gritty and violent spaghetti Westerns and Dirty Harry movies that made him a superstar. He does seem to be having a blast here. And over time, Every Which Way But Loose has gained a bit of a cult following. Eastwood stars as Philo Beddoe, a truck driver and bare-knuckle brawler who lives in a modest house with his constant companion, an impish orangutan named Clyde. But when he falls for a country singer (Sondra Locke, Eastwood’s former real-life love), his seemingly simple life gets turned upside down. This movie is really silly and playful, and Clyde is always good for a wacky reaction shot or some inappropriate antics. The two have a goofy chemistry together, which plays out through a wide variety of physical comedy. There’s quite a bit of fighting here and some shenanigans involving biker gangs and honky-tonks. But for the most part, this is fine for viewers around 8 or 9 and older. Plus, it could be your kids’ first Eastwood film.

Watch now on: AmazonFandangoNOWiTunes

Tag Cloud

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