Bizarre Dinosaurs

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Bizarre Dinosaurs Movie Poster Image
Kid-friendly docu examines strange-looking dinos.
  • NR
  • 2009
  • 48 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids will learn a lot about dinosaurs.

Positive Messages

There's much we don't know about dinosaurs and their evolution, but many scientists are excitedly asking questions in the effort to find out.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Paleontologists do fascinating and rigorous work as they examine and try to explain fossils and data about dinosaurs.

Violence & Scariness

Many anatomical adaptations, limb size, head size, neck size, and arrangements of plates and spikes might have developed for either predatory, defensive, or mating purposes. Scientists offer theories on causes for dinosaurs' extinction.

Sexy Stuff

Some scientists believe that the most bizarre-looking bodily parts were designed for "display," to attract mates. Brief clips show tortoises and other animals mating.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bizarre Dinosaurs is a 2009 National Geographic documentary that will please dinosaur-lovers of all ages. In paleontologists' quest to determine the reasons for certain unusual anatomical adaptations in some of the animals, "display," that is, attracting the opposite sex, is frequently examined and a few brief sequences of modern animals mating are shown. Scientists also debate body parts made for defense and attack, and some computer-generated scenarios demonstrate how such parts might have been used in fighting, but no blood is shown.

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What's the story?

Scientists featured in BIZARRE DINOSAURS enthusiastically discuss reasoning for their positions on the evolution of dinosaurs' bodies. Many body adaptations remain unexplained as researchers try to figure the role plates, spikes, thick heads, short arms, and long necks may have played in the health and well-being of a particular species. Were long necks useful for reaching food on high branches or for wooing members of the opposite sex? Were multi-horned heads or extra thick heads useful for fighting or scaring off predators, or rather for fighting rivals for the right to mate? Computer-generated animation shows imagined, fully-fleshed animals roaming the earth, eating and fighting, based on educated guesses that fossils have suggested. 

Is it any good?

At 48 minutes, this is a perfect length for budding young paleontologists to absorb and enjoy. Differing arguments among scientists about why dinosaurs looked the way they looked leave open to young viewers the option to argue their own opinions and try out their own theories. Bizarre Dinosaurs makes it clear that there are many questions still to be answered, and young viewers may be inspired to make their own helpful discoveries to add to what's known about animals that were kings of the earth millions of years ago. Adding to the interest, paleontologists are seen digging in the ground, examining fossil cat scans in labs, and molding plaster models of what some dinosaurs might have looked like.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why dinosaurs are so fascinating. Why are people curious about these creatures? Did you learn anything new from Bizarre Dinosaurs?

  • Theories on their extinction include asteroid impact, volcanic eruptions, deadly plague, or perhaps all three. What's your guess? 

  • Had they lived, what do you think dinosaurs would look like now?

Movie details

  • In theaters: October 11, 2009
  • On DVD or streaming: February 9, 2010
  • Director: Jenny Kubo
  • Studio: Disney+
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Character strengths: Curiosity
  • Run time: 48 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: January 31, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dinosaurs

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