It’s Time to Stop Pretending The “Jurassic Park” Movies are For Kids

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Universal)

I feel like the promotional materials and merchandizing for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” are not entirely appropriate.

This is a dark, scary film about giant, super-intelligent monsters. The trailers heavily feature a scene in the movie where the new improved miniature Indominus Rex sneaks into a little girl’s bedroom, stretching out a giant talon as she quietly weeps under the covers.

This is not a movie for small children.

Yet, in spite of this, there’s a range of Duplo based on the movie.

If a child is young enough to play with Duplo, they are far too young to see “Fallen Kingdom”.

Similarly, a commercial that played in the theater when I saw “Infinity War” shows a pair of kids playing with some dinosaur toys, so the mom tells Alexa to “Play the ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’” trailer.

Do not let children see that trailer.

Do not take kids anywhere near this movie. Definitely don’t actually force them to sit through the entire film.

In truth, this isn’t just a “Fallen Kingdom” problem. The entire “Jurassic Park” franchise, dating back to the ‘90s, has always been billed as a family-friendly adventure series.

These movies are not adventure films. They’re horror stories.

Psychological Trauma for Years to Come

If you rewatch the original “Jurassic Park”, you’ll see a group of traumatized people, both adults and kids, who have to make their way across a death maze. There’s an occasional cute brontosaurus scene, sure, but there’s also a very graphic portrayal of a child being electrocuted.

All the “Jurassic Park” films come from the classic Spielberg horror mold. The logic that created “Jaws”, “Poltergeist”, and “Temple of Doom”.

None of these movies were ever really appropriate for Duplo-aged kids. If you want a child-friendly dinosaur film, give “The Land Before Time” a try.

But even then, be aware that the opening ten minutes are emotionally traumatizing, because Don Bluth loves scarring children too.

I wrote recently about how “The Incredibles” is not really for adults. I stand by that: it’s a kid’s movie, aimed at an audience that’s too young to remember seeing the original movie in theaters.

Conversely, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, along with the other movies in the “Jurassic Park” series, are not for children.

Don’t let the PG-13 rating fool you. “Fallen Kingdom” will mess kids up, and it’s time we all stopped pretending that these movies are anything other than intense horror stories wrapped up in a child-friendly theme park veneer.

Kind of like It’s a Small World at Disneyland.