What parents need to know

Parents need to know that kids who watch Jurassic Park will see lots of people -- and a few innocent animals -- being hunted and eaten by very realistic-looking dinosaurs, but there's little actual blood and gore (although one somewhat gruesome scene involves a severed arm). There's tons of suspense, many "jump" scenes, and some chases/crashes; basically, the characters -- including children -- are in near-constant peril. (All of this is made more intense in the 3-D version, though the effects aren't as overbearing as some newer 3-D releases.) Expect a bit of mild swearing (as well as one "s--t") and some smoking and drinking, too. In the less intense environment of home, kids as young as 9 may be able to handle the fright factor with an adult at hand, but sensitive children should skip this one.
  • Families can talk about how movies blur the line between science and science fiction, sometimes giving out misinformation in the process. Since it's not really possible to clone dinosaurs, why use cloning as a plot device?
  • Does using headline-grabbing scientific concerns make a story more believable -- and thus more thrilling? How can you find out which parts of a story are really based in science and which are made up?
  • What makes Jurassic Park scary? What's the difference between horror and suspense? Which has more impact on you, and why?
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