Dinosaur

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Dinosaur Movie Poster Image
Stunning, but can be dark and scary in places.
  • PG
  • 2000
  • 86 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 11 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

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 & representations

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. Characters demonstrate teamwork and integrity.

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.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

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

What 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.

 

User Reviews

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.
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) chase...
Kid, 12 years old October 2, 2009
Good animation, but they basically copied the story from The Land before Time. A little dark and dreary at some places. Kids will enjoy this one.

What's the story?

In DINOSAUR, 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 of Dinosaur 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the narrator in Dinosaur says 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?

  • How do the characters in Dinosaur demonstrate teamwork and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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