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.


THE MOVIE

Rampage (2018) 52%

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.


THE RECOMMENDATIONS

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) 37%

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

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