When it comes to ratings, the movies of the Jurassic Park franchise have to toe a fine line. After all, they are meant to be mature family films, but they also regularly feature scenes where dinosaurs are violently eating people. Recently speaking with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona, I understood that this was a roadblock, but also interestingly a challenge that inspired creativity. He tells CinemaBlend:
You know what I'm learning, when you do these kinds of movies, you know, when it needs to be PG-13, there are certain red lines that you cannot cross. For example, we knew that we couldn't show much human blood. So for example, there's a moment when you can see a dinosaur biting the arm off a man, and we designed the scene in order to make it very effective, but without showing any blood. It's kind of fun when you do that, you try to find a way of making what you really want to do, in order to provoke that effective feeling, but without crossing the red line.
The MPAA has a list of guidelines that separate PG-13 movies from R-rated ones, and as I learned talking with J.A. Bayona earlier this month, the production of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom paid close attention to what was allowed. The subject came up when I asked if there were any scenes that were a bit too much for the ratings advisory board, and the filmmaker explained why it wasn't too much of a problem.
As for the sequence described, I know exactly the moment that he is talking about in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and I can confirm its overall effectiveness despite being a bit tame. While I won't get into details because of spoilers, I will say that it's not exactly a sequence that encourages you to go out and get your arm bitten off by a dinosaur (though that would admittedly be a pretty big challenge in and of itself). There is no blood shown, but that doesn't mean it's not violent, and it gets a reaction.
Notably, J.A. Bayona's last three movies (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, A Monster Calls, and The Impossible) were all made with PG-13 ratings -- but that's not where he started. Instead, he started in the horror world with his R-rated scream-fest The Orphanage back in 2007. He certainly recalls those roots with his dinosaur adventure film, but it's definitely a different approach to the more "genre elements" given the blockbuster's hope for broader audience appeal.