Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jurassic World Adoption Movie Review

For twenty years, Jurassic Park has drawn international crowds to its theme park, which features genetically re-created dinosaurs. However, attendance has dropped as the crowds have tired of seeing the same old dinosaurs. Hoping to renew interest in the park, operations manager Claire Dearing has facilitated the creation of a new dinosaur – the Indominous Rex, which combines genetic material from several new species into an inventive, dangerous creature. At the same time, Claire’s sister Karen has sent her two sons, Zach and Gray to spend time with Claire. When they arrive, Claire is very busy with the park, and so Zach and Gray are left to attend to themselves and, later, to fend for themselves.

The Adoption Connection

It’s not an adoption story, but Zach and Gray are a teen and pre-teen sibling set that do find themselves far from their parents and with an aunt that they haven’t seen in several years. Many adoptions – especially within the foster care system – are within the same family, with a child being cared for and adopted by a grandparent or an aunt or uncle. Also, the two siblings need to rely on each other in this unfamiliar situation, which might also resonate with any sibling sets that have traveled through foster care together. It also sheds light on how damaging it must be to separate sibling sets into different foster homes. When the world is so unstable, it’s good to have at least one person who has been constant throughout your life.

Strong Points

One character affirms that living things have value, not just functionality. He said it about dinosaurs, but it’s true about people, too. People (kids, too) don’t exist just to meet others’ needs.
Zach tries to comfort his frightened younger brother. Gray asks, “Will I be safe.” Zach assures him that earlier in life, “I protect you. Nothing’s gonna get you when I am around.” Gray challenges, “But you won’t always be around.” Zach’s response is a promise that he can’t be sure that he can keep (he’s being chased by a dinosaur, too,) but it is well-intentioned, “Yeah I am, I’m your brother. We’ll always come back to each other, no matter what.” It’s a good testament to the power of family – and the power of a sibling bond in particular.


There’s a lot of violence in this one. People get eaten by dinosaurs. Kids are shown in perilous situations. It could be frightening to young viewers who have experienced uncontrolled rage and violence earlier in their lives.
One character comments, “Every living thing in this park is trying to murder each other.” It’s a pessimistic view of life on earth, but could be scary to younger viewers.
It’s hinted that Zach’s and Gray’s parents might be about to get divorced. Gray confides to his older brother that he’s worried about it, and Zach responds, “It’s not up to you; there’s a point where you have to grow up.” It doesn’t seem like the theme is revisited afterwards.

One character offers an interesting perspective, “Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster. We’re just used to being the cat.” It is helpful to remember that most behaviors make at least some sense within the context of the behaver’s world, for sure. But, for kids who have been abused, it might be too early to work on this nuanced view – they might still need to just hear the simple truth that the person who abused them was very, very wrong.

Claire is very inattentive – and actually, negligent – to her nephews. Neglect is one of the main reasons that kids come into foster care.

Weak Points

Claire tells a friend, “It’s OK to lie to people when they are scared.” While it is good to comfort scared children (and adults), lies are often found out, and can damage trust. And sometimes, telling someone that a fear is grounded in reality could help them prepare better, or even avoid a danger.


Jurassic World might appeal to kids, because kids tend to love dinosaurs. It’s actually quite violent though, and definitely has earned its PG-13 rating. It’s probably too scary for most kids under 11. The violence isn’t particularly realistic, so older kids might be able to handle it, although it’s still probably a bad choice for kids who’ve experienced violence previously. It seems best suited to teens 13 and up.

Questions for Discussion After the Movie

Do you think Zach is a good older brother to Gray?
Have you ever wished that your parent would pay less attention to you? More attention to you?
What have been some times when you’ve been afraid?


Like in San Andreas, a young protagonist’s parents are on the verge of divorce, but are brought back together by a shared, traumatic experience that threatens the life of their child. (Click here for the Adoption Movie Guide of San Andreas)

Like Frozen, this film features a strong, durable sibling bond. (Click here for the Adoption Movie Review of Frozen)


  1. I thought this movie was fun because the violence was rather over-the-top and almost silly, but the suspense was pretty realistic. But I thought the divorce story line seemed forced in, at best, and wonder what might have gotten cut out that might have made it work. It wasn't necessary to show the brother bond that's been strained by teenaged pulling away but comes back full force when there is danger. That said, I am an adult, and think that this movie definitely deserves its PG-13 rating.

    1. Thanks Yan. Great points. I felt like the strained nature of the brother bond and its later reconciliation could have been a strong point of the movie, but it wasn't built up very much. I agree with you - PG-13 seemed right for this one.


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