Parents' Guide to

Jock the Hero Dog

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Uplifting dog tale features more menace than you'd expect.

Movie PG 2012 80 minutes
Jock the Hero Dog Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 7+

Great story that reflects the reality of life.

This animated movie is adapted from a book written in the same spirit as Jack London's "Call of the Wild" and "White Fang". When I was in first and second grade (6 to 7 year old) these two books were the most popular at the school library with both boys and girls. If you think your child would like those books then they will like this movie.
age 13+

This was the only movie we ever stopped watching

Really don't bother - I wouldn't waste my time at any age - aside from horrible production value, very boring and complicated narrative, and not figuring out what the fascination was with the dog - we watched for about 40 minutes and turned it off - no wonder we never heard of it before - lots of violence and very horrible people and animals depicted - it was a very 'mean' movie - at least what we saw - we couldn't get through enough of it to see the 'meaningful' part of the movie. (which I doubt outweighed the horrible stuff) The nice main character human was quite unsympathetic and bit of a dolt, his guide was a better role model. It was more like a violent PG-13 movie but was animated - so you think it is friendlier - - it also stole little items from Ice Age, and Lion King - so they thought they had a formula... As an adult I wouldn't waste my time - as for the kids - age 8, 9, 10 - it was horrible - killing animals, torturing animals, drowning animals, bullying people, fighting with people, animal on animal violence, people on animal violence, people on people violence, etc. You get the picture.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Jock the Hero Dog is an entertaining, competently animated CGI tale about a runty dog's triumph over adversity. However, its dark themes, ruffian characters, and gritty plot points make for an unexpectedly heavy viewing experience given that the film is clearly marketed as family entertainment. Concepts such as death, aggression, and senseless brutality, set against a bleak landscape, are more mature than expected, and make for an overall uneven tone.

The film is based on the true South African story of Jock of the Bushveld, a book originally released in 1907, twice made into movies that also struggled to find an audience due to its mournful overtones. In spite of these tonal missteps, there's plenty to enjoy for kids in this high-stakes, engaging adventure about a curious, fun-seeking dog on his own out in the world. Parents will appreciate the all-star cast, but may find the oft-repeated cliches about following your heart and doing the right thing a tad heavy-handed.

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