Daniel and the Superdogs

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Daniel and the Superdogs Movie Poster Image
Grieving boy finds purpose in dog training.
  • NR
  • 2005
  • 102 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The film highlights the incredible empathy dogs have and how they can help people going through difficult circumstances.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Daniel learns first-hand how to train and take care of dogs, and must learn responsibility while also working to overcome his sadness and resentments over the death of his mother.

Violence

A collie goes missing from a shelter. It is returned to the shelter dead, and the dog's body is shown covered in blood. In a flashback sequence, a mother plays Frisbee with her family in a park, then collapses and falls to her death -- a child's grief over this death is the backdrop of the story. Hunters shoot guns in the woods where a lost dog is running.

Sex

Chaste tween flirtation.

Language

"Sucks." Kids call each other "bozo."

Consumerism

When a father drops a bag of groceries, a Smartfood bag and various frozen Stouffer's products are prominently displayed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters drink wine, but do not act intoxicated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Daniel and the Superdogs is a movie about a tween boy learning to overcome his sadness  from the untimely death of his mother. The boy's grief and gradual healing are the backdrop to the story. There's one disturbing scene where a collie is found dead and covered in blood.

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What's the story?

Daniel is a moody and somewhat rebellious tween boy who is sad and resentful over the untimely death of his mother. His father is unsure of what to do with him, and he's starting to slip in his schoolwork. The family's Borzoi dog Gypsy continually escapes the house and runs to the local cemetery and lays by Daniel's mother's grave. When the dog is taken away because of his actions, all concerned parties think it would be best if Daniel started working at a kennel where dogs are trained for a beloved dog show held at the local auditorium. It is here where Daniel must learn responsibility as he bonds with the dogs and begins coming to grips with his grief.

Is it any good?

DANIEL AND THE SUPERDOGS would be a decent boy-and-his-dog movie if it was more focused. Unfortunately, the slow-pacing and too many side stories drag down the central story to the point where all the trick dogs in the world can't rescue it. This 102-minute movie could have easily been half that length.

While dog lovers will most certainly enjoy the scenes of the dogs jumping through hoops and racing at top speed, a scene with a dead dog covered in blood will be disturbing to younger and more squeamish viewers. Besides this, the movie tries to do too much, and it belabors its points to the degree where it's difficult to maintain interest from beginning to end.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movies with dogs. How are the dogs presented in this film? Why are there so many movies about kids and animals?

  • How were the difficulties of Daniel and his father conveyed, and did those scenes seem believable to you?

  • What's harder to watch -- a story with graphic violence or a story with a lot of sadness and grief?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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