Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie Movie Poster Image
Thrilling, semi-educational CGI movie with a few scary bits.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Every time a new prehistoric animal is introduced, a narrator says their scientific name, their common name, and whether it was a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore. Throughout the film, the life cycle and habits of various prehistoric animals, mostly dinosaurs, are explained, but this is not a documentary, so there's not as much educational information as in the original Walking with Dinosaurs.

Positive Messages

There are positive messages about the importance of scientific discovery, in particular paleontology. Kids will learn how "every fossil tells a story," and why that story is pivotal to understanding the past.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonist Patchi looks out for his herd and helps them retreat to safety. The alpha male of an herbivore herd protects his young against a fierce carnivore.

Violence & Scariness

Younger or more sensitive kids may be scared at several points throughout the film. Dinosaurs are killed (although it's shown off camera) by other dinosaurs. The leader of the herd brings all of the dinosaurs onto a frozen lake that breaks causing a few of them to fall through and drown. Fire erupts and consumes the dinosaur's habitat. As a young dinosaur, Patchi is nearly killed, and he's permanently disfigured by a carnivore that bites a chunk out of his frill. Male dinosaurs fight for dominance of the herd. Predators attack the Pachyrhinosaurus several times, and there are many close calls.

Sexy Stuff

Patchi sees Juniper and instantly falls in love (a Barry White song plays in the background). He hopes to be her mate but it's implied that his brother, who becomes the herd leader, has the "right" to be with her.


A few insults like "stupid" and "coward" and "runt." Plus some poop talk.


Chevy Blazer is briefly visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie is a fictionalized account of a prehistoric herbivore's life with a few scary parts. Instead of a documentary with narration, the ultra-realistic computer-generated production is more Ice Age than Jurassic Park with a plucky underdog protagonist (a Pachyrhinosaurus). There is predator-prey violence that disfigures and kills dinosaurs (one major death is off screen) that could be intensified by the 3D. Expect a romantic subplot that may turn off younger viewers. Language includes scatological references to dinosaur poop and a few insults, but it also includes clear references to the names of every prehistoric animal featured in the movie.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written byVincenzo February 7, 2021

Very good dino movie!

A great movie for kids. There are some violent scenes with dinosaurs fighting, so younger kids might be scared. Adults can enjoy this too; there are some annoyi... Continue reading
Parent Written byKarenSkyy January 5, 2014

Overall this movie was ok

There are a couple of violent scenes in this movie including one in which the two brothers basically watch their father be killed by a "meat eater". A... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 26, 2015

Perfect for kids to learn!

If they hear new words such as "Herbivore", "Carnivore", or "Omnivore", they can learn what those words are. This is an educationa... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 8, 2015

What's the story?

In the live-action beginning of the movie, a teenage boy and his kid sister visit their paleontologist father (Karl Urban) in Alaska and find a dinosaur tooth in his SUV. When the boy refuses to accompany his uncle on a research dig, a bird (John Leguizamo) starts talking and announces that "every fossil has a story." He transforms into a prehistoric bird the Alexornis (named Alex and speaking with a Spanish accent, of course) and recounts the fossil's tale from the Late Cretaceous period -- about a Pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi (Justin Long). Patchi is the runt of his herd, and he's nearly killed by a predator that leaves a hole in his frill. Saved by his mother, Patchi grows into a young adult and meets a female, Juniper (Tiya Sircar), from a different herd. When climate changes spark a Great Migration, circumstances force Patchi to transition into a more responsible role -- for his herd, Juniper, and himself.

Is it any good?

Audiences expecting a big-budget dinosaur documentary with extra realistic visuals will be somewhat disappointed. This isn't a narrated documentary like most BBC Earth productions or the original Walking with Dinosaurs, which featured the voice of Kenneth Branagh. This is basically Ice Age meets The Lion King via The Land Before Time -- but with amazing, digitally created landscapes and creatures (instead of animation) to recreate the the fauna and flora of 75 million years ago. The scatological humor (lots of jokes about dinosaur poop), the animal "instalove," the underdog who saves the day -- it's all there, including a romantic subplot so strong the accompanying music was Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You A Little Bit More, Baby"!

Speaking of White, the eclectic soundtrack is really quite memorable, including Fleetwood Mac ("Tusk"), Matisyahu ("Live Like a Warrior"), and Lord Huron ("Ends of the Earth") playing during key scenes. It's all a bit unexpected and confusing, even for kids, who are probably hoping for the 3D dinosaur to stop mooning over the girl from the other herd. Still, viewers will revel in the immersive experience the 3D visuals offer and appreciate honing their skills at naming various dinosaurs. Plus, there's Karl Urban in two scenes. Budding paleontologists may want more, so check out the movie's site which offers even more details about the dinosaurs of that period.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the enduring fascination with dinosaurs. What kinds of research did the filmmakers have to do to make this film?

  • Would you prefer a more traditional documentary, or do you like this fictionalized talking-dinosaur account? Is there anything lost by the humanization of the animals? Gained?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dinosaurs

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate