This post is sponsored by Fandango but all opinions are my own. Also, I hope you enjoy the quick, easy-to-read format that makes it easy to get all the info you need about this movie.
Setting the Scene
Movie: The Good Dinosaur
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Moviegoers: Mom (Fadra), 44; Dad (Sean), 50; Kid (Evan), 8.
Family movie faves: Big Hero 6, The Adventures of Tintin, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Fave movies for grown-ups: Bladerunner, The Matrix, Rushmore.
Review of The Good Dinosaur
What’s the story: A dinosaur parents, living on the edge of river, hatch three young dinosaurs. As the dinosaurs grow, they learn what makes them each special so they will eventually “earn their mark” while living on a corn farm. Arlo, the smallest of the three, is lacking in confidence and is unsure of his place in his family and on the farm. When he falls in the river and gets swept far away, Arlo’s journey home teaches him everything he needs to know to earn his mark upon his return.
I have to admit that I missed the implication that this is a story of an alternate evolution where a meteor never hit the Earth and the dinosaurs became a more domesticated type of animal. Seeing dinosaurs as farmers and herders and humans as more primitive animals threw me for a loop. Pair that with a western-themed setting and I was a little confused. In the end, we found the overall story has some compelling elements for younger kids (if they don’t mind some of the scarier parts) but as adults and older kids, the movie didn’t really hold our attention.
What parents may like about this movie: This movie is definitely a throwback to some of the old Westerns and as such, the scenery is visually stunning. We loved hearing Sam Elliott voice one of the t-rex herders (and I was wishing the dino had a moustache!). We’re still blown away by the technology that creates such realistic animation.
What kids will like: Arlo is a relatable character in terms of being the weakest sibling without any real confidence. Along his journey, he befriends a human (with more doglike tendencies than anything) named Spot who provides a lot of comic relief and definitely some of the awwww factor.
Concerns: As with many Disney movies, there’s a parent who dies which can be emotionally tough for some kids. And although younger kids might be excited to see dinosaurs, they might not like some of the natural disasters or circle of life scenes and may even be frightened. If your kids are dinosaur purists, they’ll definitely have some issues with the depicted behavior (The tyrannosaurus rex has evolved from vicious carnivore to buffalo herder).
Positive themes: Overcoming fears, being brave for the sake of others, dedication to family, understanding the value of friendship, and forgiveness are some of the ideas explored in the movie. Overall, a very positive message for kids. 4/5
Violence/scare factor: Intense storms, circle of life, vicious carnivores, and death. Use caution with young children. 3/5
Sex/Romance: Two loving parents. 1/5
Bad language: None! 0/5
Bonus: I really enjoyed the animated short at the beginning of the film, Sanjay’s Super Team. It’s nice to see diversity not only in the faces of new characters but also in the storyline.