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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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A few insults like "stupid" and "coward" and "runt." Plus some poop talk.
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Products & Purchases
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.