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) 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 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) 28%

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

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