Australian Council on Children and the Media

Dino Time

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Short takes

Not recommended for children under 6, PG to 9 due to some scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Dino Time
  • a review of Dino Time completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 August 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children 6 to 9 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes and themes
Children 9 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Dino Time
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Some scary scenes
Length 83 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Dino Time is an animated adventure story which follows three young children, Ernie (Pamela Adlon), his sister Julia (Tara Strong) and his best friend Max (Yuri Lowenthal) who travel back in time 65 million years, landing in the frightening prehistoric era. Despite their initial fear, they’re met by a giant pink T-Rex dinosaur named Tyra (voice of Melanie Griffith) who treats them like family as opposed to food.

While are trying to find their way back home by reactivating their broken time machine, they are thrown into the complex world inhabited by the dinosaurs. Mother-figure Tyra and the children fight to protect the Upper Valley from the evil, conniving Sarko (William Baldwin) from the Lower Valley, eventually battling him to the death. Meanwhile their parents are also trying to rescue them.  

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Time travel; dinosaurs; children separated from family; good versus evil

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Tyra the T-Rex and the evil Sarko physically brawl, trying to bite one another, and throwing each other around.
  • Ernie throws his skateboard into Sarko’s mouth, causing him to catapult violently into a pit of hot tar and explode.
  • Ernie refers to one of the dinosaurs as a ‘vicious blood-thirsty killer’, but it becomes clear that he is over-exaggerating merely to scare his friend Max.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Although the dinosaurs are mostly friendly, Sarko and his minions are more grotesque in appearance. They have large teeth, sharp claws, and are quite frightening in their look and speech.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may be disturbed by the theme of children separated from their parents and unable to get back and also by the scenes where Julia is kidnapped by Sarko – she is frightened and appears to fear for her life, but she is quickly rescued by Tyra and Ernie.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing further likely to be of concern.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There are some mild put-downs that young children may imitate, including:

  • Sarko refers to his minions as ‘idiots’.
  • Sarko tells his minions to ‘shut up’. 

In a nutshell

Dino Time is an animated children’s adventure film that highlights the issue of rules versus freedom. The story raises some useful discussion points for parents and primary school aged children.

Although Ernie initially has very little regard for the consequences of his behaviour and ignores his mother at every available opportunity, he grows to understand the importance of trusting authority figures at times. He changes his views on what ‘boundaries’ mean – they cease to be things that he sets out to push merely for fun. Rather, Ernie learns to respect that certain rules are in place to ensure that people stay safe. Ernie’s mother, Sue, learns the value of being less controlling and rigid in her approach to life, eventually finding the right balance. The film additionally highlights the strength and power of friendship, and the family-style bond that can develop between even the most unlikely of individuals.

Children under 6 may find some scenes and characters too scary and children up to 9 may need parental help with some scary scenes and the idea of children separated from their parents and unable to get back.

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