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Dinosaur Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Stunning, but can be dark and scary in places.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dinosaur is a Disney film set in prehistoric times that is filled with battles to the death, vicious predators, and heroes frequently in danger from both nature and enemy species. The filmmakers use spooky music, very dark settings, and ferocious roars to heighten the intensity. Alternating with survival-of-the-fittest sequences are ones set in a world of beauty and accessibility featuring warmhearted dinosaur heroes and comic, loving lemurs. It's an odd combination of scary and likeable -- not for very young or easily frightened kids.

  • Families can talk about the narrator's comment that "sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest changes of all." What is the "smallest thing," and what are the changes?
  • Families may also want to talk about how the lemurs decide to "adopt" the huge dinosaur, and about how some species are intolerant of others.
  • How does being treated with kindness change the way some of the characters behave? How does making Baylene feel needed change the way she behaves?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true3

    Educational value: The natural habitat and different species of dinosaurs are beautifully rendered. The film also reproduces many physical phenomena: landslides, meteor showers, animal migration, and prehistoric creatures' fight to survive.

  • message true1

    Messages: Heartily encourages teamwork and standing together to accomplish goals. The survivors are those who refuse to give up and decide to fight for their lives. Also promotes helping the less fortunate even when it's risky. Great leaders are those who truly care about the welfare of their followers.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The film's dinosaur-hero is loyal, generous, and very brave; he clearly shows a willingness to risk his own life to help the less fortunate. The audience roots for dinosaurs of multiple species who band together against a common enemy. Some of the prehistoric creatures speak with Southern and African-American dialects

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Landslides, meteorites, a tsunami, a cave collapse, fire, and enemies all threaten the heroic dinosaurs. The carnotaurus (carnotaur) is the main predator -- often shown in attack mode, close-up, toothy, and viciously roaring. There are many brutal one-on-one fights (and some kills) between mega-strong dinosaurs. The main, humanized characters, whom the audience has grown to like, are often in great danger.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Lemurs comically prep to meet potential mates. Aladar meets and falls in love with his life partner. Dinosaur eggs figure prominently in the story.

  • language false0

    Language: Not applicable

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A plant is used to help relieve the pain of a dying dinosaur.