Australian Council on Children and the Media

Walking with dinosaurs; The movie

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 10 (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Walking with dinosaurs; The movie
  • a review of Walking with dinosaurs; The movie completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 6 January 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children aged 8 to 10 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes
Children 10 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: Walking with dinosaurs; The movie
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Some scary scenes
Length 87 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Walking with Dinosaurs is set seventy million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period. It is not a documentary, but an animated fictionalised account of the life of dinosaurs. Narrated by an ‘Alexornis’ bird named Alex (John Leguizamo), the film follows three Pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi (Justin Long), Scowler (Skyler Stone), and Juniper (Tiya Sircar) as they grow from young children into adults. Brothers Patchi and Scowler get into all sorts of childish trouble during their younger years. However, after Patchi meets and falls in love with Juniper, a female dinosaur of his same species, he is inspired to be the best he can possibly be. Throughout the course of the film, Patchi and his herd migrate every year in search of food, but the journey often proves dangerous. Patchi and Scowler lose their father who dies protecting them from other dinosaurs out hunting for food, and they find themselves needing to frequently run away from larger and intimidating species such as the Gorgosaurus.

Scowler eventually fights to become leader of the pack and take control of the herd, exiling Patchi and claiming Juniper as his own. Patchi, defeated and despondent after losing everything he cares about, nearly allows other dinosaurs to kill him for food. However, his friend Alex steps in and inspires him to continue fighting for the love of his life. Patchi scares off the other dinosaurs and goes after Juniper, wanting to tell her how he truly feels. When he catches up with the herd eventually, he sees that they are being hunted by some Gorgosaurus, and it seems as though his brother Scowler will be killed. Patchi tells the entire herd to come to his brother’s aid, and together, they fight off the hunters. Patchi finally becomes the head of the pack, living happily ever after with Juniper, and they ultimately have children of their own. 

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.

Prehistoric times; family and relationships; self-sacrifice

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 animated violence in the film, including:

  • At several points, the film shows dinosaurs of different species fighting with each other.
  • Patchi is disfigured when attacked while young.
  • Patchi’s father is killed in a battle with another dinosaur.

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:

  • Children in this age group could be scared by the dinosaurs in the film, particularly in the 3D version.

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 also find some of the scenes and creatures scary.

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.

Some younger children in this age group may also be scared by some of the scenes in this film

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

Patchi falls in love with Juniper (with the scene including romantic music) but when his brother takes over as herd leader, he sees it as his right to claim her as his mate.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

Some insults such as “runt” and “coward” and talk about dinosaur poop.

In a nutshell

Walking with dinosaurs: The movie is an animated romance about one dinosaur’s journey to becoming a responsible and capable adult. Patchi begins as a love-struck young dinosaur who yearns to explore his surroundings and spend as much time as possible with Juniper. Over the course of the film, he learns to protect his friends and other members of his herd, going as far as being prepared to sacrifice himself to save his brother. Patchi steps into the role of leader of the pack, maturing and demonstrating to himself as well as others that he is capable of achieving anything he sets his mind to.

Children under 8 are likely to find some of the scenes and creatures scary, particularly in the 3D version so it is not recommended for this age group. Children with a real interest in dinosaurs may be annoyed or confused by the fictionalised aspects of the film, particularly the romance between Patchi and Juniper.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Not allowing your limitations, or the misconceptions of others, to define you or what you might be capable of.
  • Knowing when to follow the rules and when to break them.
  • Understanding the importance of friends and allowing them to help you when you need it.

Parents may wish to discuss the fictionalised aspects of the film and what we really know about the type of creatures that dinosaurs were.

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