Walking with Dinosaurs

  • Review Date: October 23, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 230 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Top-notch education (and entertainment) for dino fans.
  • Review Date: October 23, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 230 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
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5
6
7
8
9
10
11
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15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The documentary is designed to be informative rather than convey specific positive messages, but kids (and adults!) who watch will learn a lot and come away with an increased appreciation for science and investigation.

Positive role models

The dinos can't really be seen as role models -- but at least kids won't come away from the series copying any iffy behavior.

Violence

Dinosaurs attack and eat each other; some of the scenes can be very intense and may frighten younger kids.

Sex

Sauropods and others are discreetly shown coupled; mating rituals and habits are discussed.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, although they're presented in matter-of-fact, scientific fashion, some of the dramatizations in this stunning nature documentary may be too much for younger or more sensitive kids. Dinosaurs are shown attacking and eating one another, as well as peeing and pooping. Sauropods and others are discreetly shown coupled; mating rituals and habits are discussed.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Like a straightforward nature documentary, this ambitious production combines stunning photography and state-of-the-art digital effects to bring the evolution and demise of the dinosaurs to life. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, the series' six episodes chronicle the 155-million-year reign of the dinosaurs. Sites in Chile, Tasmania, New Caledonia, and elsewhere furnish natural landscapes for the realistic, digitally created creatures. The series opens with the evolution of the first known dinosaurs and proceeds through the "Time of the Titans," "Giants of the Skies," and others to the "Death of a Dynasty" 65 million years ago, when a giant meteor changed the face of the earth and brought an end to the age of reptiles.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Somebody had a great idea, which was to make a documentary series about dinosaurs, but with a twist. The aging ornithocheirus on a desperate final flight to his mating grounds, the sauropod hatchlings struggling for survival in the late Jurassic, the migrating herds and the undersea life of 150 million years ago would all seem as real as a nature program about polar bears or snow monkeys. Employing the talents of the Emmy Award-winning FrameStore Group and the latest digital technology, The Discovery Channel did just that. Paleontological discoveries from fossil remains and preserved footprint groupings provide the framework; the rest is best-guess speculation and a lot of imagination.

Dinosaur lovers will see some of their favorites here, and nature lovers will get what they've come to expect from well-produced BBC programs, namely beautiful scenery and footage of large animals fighting, killing, evacuating themselves (number one and number two), mating, sleeping, and playing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the limitations of documentaries, especially those about animals we've never observed directly

  • What sorts of things did the filmmakers have to guess at in order to create this film? Do we really know what color dinosaurs were? Do you think this was exactly the way they walked? Sounded? Cared for their young? Fought one another?

  • How could you go about sorting out what's known about dinosaurs from the fiction and speculation?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 16, 2000
DVD release date:July 18, 2006
Cast:Kenneth Branagh
Directors:Jasper James, Tim Haines
Studio:BBC
Genre:Documentary
Topics:Dinosaurs
Run time:230 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Walking with Dinosaurs was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old April 10, 2010
AGE
3
QUALITY
 
I watched this documentary film and its a pretty good nature film about dinosaurs.
Kid, 10 years old April 12, 2011
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written byBlue-Bunny February 11, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Great family-friendly show!

Hghly educational, and very entertaining. I can see why it's an Emmy winner. BTW, every dinosaur documentary has blood, so it doesn't come to much surprise. I got to admit, it has the least blood in all the dinosaur documentaries I've seen. Animation is superb. However, it was made in 1999, so some of the facts are a bit dated, but it's still good to watch.

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