Dinosaur Movie Poster Image




Stunning, but can be dark and scary in places.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: May 18, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

The natural habitat and different species of dinosaurs are beautifully rendered. The film also reproduces many physical phenomena: landslides, meteor showers, animal migration, and prehistoric creatures' fight to survive.


Positive messages

Heartily encourages teamwork and standing together to accomplish goals. The survivors are those who refuse to give up and decide to fight for their lives. Also promotes helping the less fortunate even when it's risky. Great leaders are those who truly care about the welfare of their followers.


Positive role models

The film's dinosaur-hero is loyal, generous, and very brave; he clearly shows a willingness to risk his own life to help the less fortunate. The audience roots for dinosaurs of multiple species who band together against a common enemy. Some of the prehistoric creatures speak with Southern and African-American dialects

Violence & scariness

Landslides, meteorites, a tsunami, a cave collapse, fire, and enemies all threaten the heroic dinosaurs. The carnotaurus (carnotaur) is the main predator -- often shown in attack mode, close-up, toothy, and viciously roaring. There are many brutal one-on-one fights (and some kills) between mega-strong dinosaurs. The main, humanized characters, whom the audience has grown to like, are often in great danger. 

Sexy stuff

Lemurs comically prep to meet potential mates. Aladar meets and falls in love with his life partner. Dinosaur eggs figure prominently in the story.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A plant is used to help relieve the pain of a dying dinosaur.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dinosaur is a Disney film set in prehistoric times that is filled with battles to the death, vicious predators, and heroes frequently in danger from both nature and enemy species. The filmmakers use spooky music, very dark settings, and ferocious roars to heighten the intensity. Alternating with survival-of-the-fittest sequences are ones set in a world of beauty and accessibility featuring warmhearted dinosaur heroes and comic, loving lemurs. It's an odd combination of scary and likeable -- not for very young or easily frightened kids.


What's the story?

Aladar is an orphan iguanodon raised by monkey-like lemurs. When flaming meteors destroy their home, they join a group of dinosaurs trying to find food and water. The leader of the group, Kron, insists that stopping to help the older or slower dinosaurs is too dangerous. But Aladar shows the others that cooperation, teamwork, and kindness make more sense because then everyone gets a chance to contribute.

Is it any good?


Disney worked very hard to make sure that the faces of the dinosaurs were expressive, but should have worked a little harder on giving them some more complex and subtle emotions to express. Aladar just is not that interesting a character. Even in a movie for kids, it's not enough for the characters to overcome some external challenge. What makes a story get into your heart is seeing the characters learn and grow and overcome internal challenges. It is a marvel of skill, but does not have half of the heart or wit of the Toy Story movies or A Bug's Life.

The technological mastery is dazzling to watch, though, especially the textures. Fur, scales, eggshell, water, and goo are all so vivid you can almost feel them. It is a shame that the story and characters are not as strong as the visuals, though that will be more of a problem for adults than kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the narrator's comment that "sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest changes of all." What is the "smallest thing," and what are the changes?

  • Families may also want to talk about how the lemurs decide to "adopt" the huge dinosaur, and about how some species are intolerant of others.


  • How does being treated with kindness change the way some of the characters behave? How does making Baylene feel needed change the way she behaves?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 19, 2000
DVD release date:January 30, 2001
Cast:D.B. Sweeney, Hayden Panettiere, Julianna Margulies
Directors:Eric Leighton, Ralph Zondag
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Dinosaurs, Adventures, Science and nature, Wild animals
Character strengths:Integrity, Teamwork
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:intense images

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Decent Movie

Worth seeing if the kids know about evolution and creationism
Parent Written byDr. Common Sence November 11, 2011

A great life Experience!

Excellent movie illiciting history (presumed), responsibility, leadership, life experience, and rolemodelling.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byBlueSunday November 28, 2010

A great movie but with a few strong scenes

A good movie, I loved it and the music. Although a few scenes may be a tad intense for little kids. Like a Conator (which is a sharper version of a T-Rex) chases them and hunts them down. One creature gets bitten on the back and eaten behind a dust cloud (showed distant) A dead dinosaur is eaten. One character makes himself bait so the rest could excape. Dispite these things, the movie is great, and I love it either way, but a few children may not. The humar is good though, and the characters are loveable. Pleo is an excellent mother and suporter, Yar is just a funny grandpa, Zini has a few hormones bouncing around but he's alright, and Zuri is just a cute but feisty lemar. Aladar is one of the most caring people in the movie, he sticks behind with two elderly dinosaurs (one voice is Della Reese) who are too weak to make it with the rest of the herd, he defends them even when he gets knocked to the ground, and he is very close to his adoptive family. And it basicly has a happy ending. I'd suggest ten and over because of the violence, but above that it's an excellent film.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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