Story

Jurassic Park is a classic adventure movie directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel by Michael Crichton. The story is about Jurassic Park, a nature reserve on a remote South American island owned by billionaire businessman John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). Hammond and his team of dedicated scientists have populated the park with genetically engineered dinosaurs. This technological breakthrough has been made possible by extracting and manipulating the DNA from dinosaur blood found in the stomachs of ancient fossilised mosquitoes.

As the reserve nears completion, Hammond invites selected guests to view the site, in the hope of attracting recognised experts to take on management roles at the park. These visitors include palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill), his partner, palaeobotanist Dr Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and chaos mathematician Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello), also come to see the park and its amazing creatures.

Initially, the visitors are all impressed and amazed at the re-created dinosaurs and habitats. But their wonder turns to fear when the park’s computer system is disabled and several dinosaurs escape the high-voltage confines.

Themes

Humans versus the natural world; genetic engineering

Violence

This movie contains frequent violent episodes involving dinosaurs and their prey. There are also some scenes where humans are violent towards dinosaurs. For example:

  • Several park employees are knocked to the ground when a dinosaur is released from an enormous crate. One man is attacked and dragged into the cage.
  • A tyrannosaurus pulls apart a live goat.
  • A tyrannosaurus rocks a car containing Lex and Tim, eventually breaking through the glass sunroof, rolling the car and tearing off tyres.
  • A tyrannosaurus smashes through the toilet cubicle where lawyer Gennaro is hiding, then bites his whole head and torso. Although we don’t actually see it, it seems that Gennaro is bitten in half.
  • Nedry is cornered by a vicious dinosaur, which spits poisonous liquid on his face and torso.
  • Dr Sattler runs away from some velociraptors. Then she discovers the dismembered body of a man killed by dinosaurs.
  • Lex and Tim are chased by savage velociraptors.
  • A tyrannosaurus attacks and eats several velociraptors.
  • Unidentified park employees fire taser guns at a dinosaur.
  • Dr Grant kicks a velociraptor in the head.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, many scenes in this movie show rampaging dinosaurs. These scenes could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • Many scenes show salivating, aggressive dinosaurs, with close-ups of their mouths, eyes and claws. There are also sound effects of the dinosaurs biting and chewing, which add to the scariness of these scenes.
  • Several scenes build tension with effects such as deep growling, heavy thudding footsteps, and violently shaking bushes.
  • There are scenes where children are in danger from dinosaurs. These scenes might be particularly scary for this age group.
  • Close-up shots of Lex, Tim, Dr Sattler and other characters show how terrified they are.
  • In many scenes, Lex, Tim, Dr Sattler, Nedry and Gennaro scream.
  • After a goat is torn to shreds by a tyrannosaurus, a large piece of the remaining bloody bone and flesh lands on the window of Lex and Tim’s car. 

From 8-13

Many of the scenes mentioned above could also upset or frighten children in this age group.

Over 13

There are no other scenes in this movie likely to scare or disturb children in this age group. 

Sexual references

This movie has some very mild sexual references. For example:

  • Dr Malcolm touches Dr Sattler’s hand in a suggestive way.
  • Dr Malcolm says to Dr Sattler in a flirty way, ‘I refuse to believe you aren’t familiar with the theory of attraction’.
  • Dr Malcolm asks whether Dr Sattler is ‘available’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some mild and occasional substance use. For example, Ray Arnold constantly smokes cigarettes. Also, Dr Malcolm drinks from a metal hip flask, which probably contains some kind of alcohol. 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

There is some product placement in this movie. Products shown include Jeep, Jolt Cola, and various computer and electronics products. 

Coarse language

This movie has some mild coarse and threatening language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Jurassic Park is a classic movie. Taken at face value, it offers a fast-paced science fiction adventure that’s become very well known, partly because of its pioneering use of computer-generated special effects. But Jurassic Park also explores the impact of humans on the earth, questioning the human drive for dominance over the planet and nature. Because of these complex ideas and the many scary scenes, this is not a movie for younger children.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include courage and loyalty.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with older children about the long-term, global consequences of human actions on the planet. 

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