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 5 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 5 reviews

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

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

Adult Written bymts1248 December 27, 2013

So sorry I saw this.

Bleah! Took my 5 and 7 year olds to this movie. We loved the BBC miniseries and thought we were getting more of the same. Instead, there was an inane bird ta... Continue reading
Parent Written byGrandma Karen January 4, 2014

Good family movie

My grand kids ages 5 to 12 loved it and so did my husband and I.
Kid, 11 years old December 29, 2013

Dino Wonderland

This daring adventure is a great choice for people who like dinosaurs. There is some prehistoric violence, but the the movie has jokes to keep you going. The pl... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHippoboss December 23, 2013

Better than I expected

I Loved it, I thought it would be more realistic and bad for sensitive kids. It's actually really funny and modern. I also liked the positive message of n... Continue reading

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

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