Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie

  • Review Date: December 20, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013

Common Sense Media says

Thrilling, semi-educational CGI movie with a few scary bits.
  • Review Date: December 20, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Every time a new prehistoric animal is introduced, a narrator says their scientific name, their common name, and whether it was a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore. Throughout the film, the life cycle and habits of various prehistoric animals, mostly dinosaurs, are explained, but this is not a documentary, so there's not as much educational information as in the original Walking with Dinosaurs.

Positive messages

There are positive messages about the importance of scientific discovery, in particular paleontology. Kids will learn how "every fossil tells a story," and why that story is pivotal to understanding the past.

Positive role models

The protagonist Patchi looks out for his herd and helps them retreat to safety. The alpha male of an herbivore herd protects his young against a fierce carnivore.

Violence & scariness

Younger or more sensitive kids may be scared at several points throughout the film. Dinosaurs are killed (although it's shown off camera) by other dinosaurs. The leader of the herd brings all of the dinosaurs onto a frozen lake that breaks causing a few of them to fall through and drown. Fire erupts and consumes the dinosaur's habitat. As a young dinosaur, Patchi is nearly killed, and he's permanently disfigured by a carnivore that bites a chunk out of his frill. Male dinosaurs fight for dominance of the herd. Predators attack the Pachyrhinosaurus several times, and there are many close calls.

Sexy stuff

Patchi sees Juniper and instantly falls in love (a Barry White song plays in the background). He hopes to be her mate but it's implied that his brother, who becomes the herd leader, has the "right" to be with her.

Language

A few insults like "stupid" and "coward" and "runt." Plus some poop talk.

Consumerism

Chevy Blazer is briefly visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie is a fictionalized account of a prehistoric herbivore's life with a few scary parts. Instead of a documentary with narration, the ultra-realistic computer-generated production is more Ice Age than Jurassic Park with a plucky underdog protagonist (a Pachyrhinosaurus). There is predator-prey violence that disfigures and kills dinosaurs (one major death is off screen) that could be intensified by the 3D. Expect a romantic subplot that may turn off younger viewers. Language includes scatological references to dinosaur poop and a few insults, but it also includes clear references to the names of every prehistoric animal featured in the movie.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In the live-action beginning of the movie, a teenage boy and his kid sister visit their paleontologist father (Karl Urban) in Alaska and find a dinosaur tooth in his SUV. When the boy refuses to accompany his uncle on a research dig, a bird (John Leguizamo) starts talking and announces that "every fossil has a story." He transforms into a prehistoric bird the Alexornis (named Alex and speaking with a Spanish accent, of course) and recounts the fossil's tale from the Late Cretaceous period -- about a Pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi (Justin Long). Patchi is the runt of his herd, and he's nearly killed by a predator that leaves a hole in his frill. Saved by his mother, Patchi grows into a young adult and meets a female, Juniper (Tiya Sircar), from a different herd. When climate changes spark a Great Migration, circumstances force Patchi to transition into a more responsible role -- for his herd, Juniper, and himself.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Audiences expecting a big-budget dinosaur documentary with extra realistic visuals will be somewhat disappointed. This isn't a narrated documentary like most BBC Earth productions or the original Walking with Dinosaurs, which featured the voice of Kenneth Branagh. This is basically Ice Age meets The Lion King via The Land Before Time -- but with amazing, digitally created landscapes and creatures (instead of animation) to recreate the the fauna and flora of 75 million years ago. The scatological humor (lots of jokes about dinosaur poop), the animal "instalove," the underdog who saves the day -- it's all there, including a romantic subplot so strong the accompanying music was Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You A Little Bit More, Baby"!

Speaking of White, the eclectic soundtrack is really quite memorable, including Fleetwood Mac ("Tusk"), Matisyahu ("Live Like a Warrior"), and Lord Huron ("Ends of the Earth") playing during key scenes. It's all a bit unexpected and confusing, even for kids, who are probably hoping for the 3D dinosaur to stop mooning over the girl from the other herd. Still, viewers will revel in the immersive experience the 3D visuals offer and appreciate honing their skills at naming various dinosaurs. Plus, there's Karl Urban in two scenes. Budding paleontologists may want more, so check out the movie's site which offers even more details about the dinosaurs of that period.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the enduring fascination with dinosaurs. What kinds of research did the filmmakers have to do to make this film?

  • Would you prefer a more traditional documentary, or do you like this fictionalized talking-dinosaur account? Is there anything lost by the humanization of the animals? Gained?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 20, 2013
DVD release date:March 25, 2014
Cast:Angourie Rice, Charlie Rowe, Justin Long
Directors:Barry Cook, Neil Nightingale
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Dinosaurs, Adventures, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:87 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:creature action and peril, and mild rude humor

This review of Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written bymts1248 December 27, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

So sorry I saw this.

Bleah! Took my 5 and 7 year olds to this movie. We loved the BBC miniseries and thought we were getting more of the same. Instead, there was an inane bird talking the entire time, making anachronistic comments that weren't even funny. So many poop and puke jokes I don't even know where to start. Thanks to this movie, my 7 year old now thinks "bite me" is an okay thing to say to anyone he disagrees with. The girl dinosaur goes with whoever is the leader, because that's the way it is, which in a nature documentary might be fine, but if a boy dino says, "I love you," and she still goes with the leader who doesn't love her, what is that saying to my daughter?

It's also pretty violent. When the dinos battle, the gorgasaur (sp?) grabs the pachysaurus around the neck, while the pachy yells out, "save yourself! This is worth dying for!" At one point, the protagonist is injured, and scavenger dinos come out to eat him. The hero is still alive, and says, "It's okay, go away (to his friend), I don't want you to see this." Just ew. Again, violence in nature documentaries is pretty much par for the course, but these are talking animated creatures, and hearing them give final declarative goodbyes when facing a bloody death is creepy.

The movie is visually very interesting, but the story is insipid. I wanted to leave after 10 minutes, and really wanted to leave after an hour, but the 7 year old wanted to stay. My 5 year old was bored, maybe because there was only one girl character in the entire I'd say choose carefully who you choose to bring.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old December 29, 2013
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Dino Wonderland

This daring adventure is a great choice for people who like dinosaurs. There is some prehistoric violence, but the the movie has jokes to keep you going. The plot is not at all complicated, great for younger audiences. I think this movie is a great choice if you love dinosaurs.

Parent Written byGrandma Karen January 4, 2014
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Good family movie

My grand kids ages 5 to 12 loved it and so did my husband and I.

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