Dinos Rule 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'...But Will Your Kids Like It?

Kids will definitely want to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom because: Dinosaurs! But is it an age appropriate film for your children to see or is it just too violent and scary?

Here’s the skinny. It’s been three years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by deranged dinosaurs running amuck. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned while the surviving prehistoric beasts fend for themselves and thrive in its jungles. When the island’s dormant volcano begins seething to life, raptor-wrangler and whisperer Owen (Chris Pratt, Avengers: Infinity War) and animal activist Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard, Pete’s Dragon) are called to action. The pair campaigns to rescue the creatures from this extinction-level event but doesn’t find much in the way of help. Arriving on the unstable island as deadly lava begins to spew, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could change the pecking order of the entire planet. The opening sequence, which takes place during an underwater fossil-finding mission, is full of suspense and thrills. Fallen Kingdom hits the ground running and picks up speed from there.

The plot is no more outlandish than any other Jurassic franchise film, but at least it’s well directed (by J.A. Bayona, who brought us the emotional fairytale A Monster Calls) and the cast is lively and with good chemistry. While the main characters are mostly returnees, kids will definitely be excited about its new additions Justice Smith (The Get Down) as an apprehensive I.T. guy called Franklin, and Isabella Sermon (making her movie debut) as 10-year-old Masie Lockwood. These kids are bright, funny, and empowered.

There are some heartfelt moments involving the dinosaurs that might even bring a little tear to the eye – they are being exploited and abused, after all. It’s a plot-point more prevalent than ever in this installment and Bayona brings a bit of welcome Spielberg-style schmaltz to the story. Humans are the main villains in this go ’round... But of course, there are plenty who want to save the animals from their intended fate. Specifically, there’s a warm and fuzzy friendship that plays out between Owen and the rare baby dinosaur he raised and trained, a raptor called Blue. She is full-grown now and has an awful lot of sharp teeth and claws. Can he still control her? You’ll just have to watch.

After exiting the demolished island, the dinosaurs are taken to the mega mansion compound-slash-home of Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell, Babe), who was a partner in the original Jurassic Park venture and whom we never heard about before this very moment. He lives with his precious granddaughter Masie and secret-keeping housekeeper Iris (Geraldine Chaplin, A Monster Calls) but he’s ill and bedridden, which means he’s extra-vulnerable when the critters come crashing through the residence.

Rated PG-13 for scary sequences involving scary and aggressive CG monsters munching on human prey and a few expletives, Fallen Kingdom is mostly OK for older kids. But the action is far too scary and the violence too close for comfort when it comes to younger children. While the movie can’t compete with the original Jurassic Park, it’s one of the better installments in this never-extinct film series. 

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