The Good Dinosaur is a perfect family film that has something for everyone- a wonderful and unique storyline, jaw-dropping CGI and characters that are beyond lovable. Watch a coming-of-age story unfold, as Arlo makes his mark.
What would the world be like if that darn meteoroid didn’t hit the earth 65 million years ago? The Good Dinosaur answers that question. Dinosaurs would talk, run farms, some chase storms and others are wrangling cowboys. Some of the dinosaurs are nice too like Poppa, Momma and their three children. Arlo, one of the three kids , is the main protagonist in the film, who we learn early on is afraid of pretty much everything, including the farm’s chickens (in his defense, the chickens are a bit crazy). The family seems to live off a diet of corn and go through painstaking measures to take care of their crops and to ensure that they have enough food to last them through the winter. This is when we first meet the Critter (Spot) — he’s a wild caveboy who grunts, acts like a dog and wants that corn. Poppa encourages Arlo to “take care of the critter”. Arlo will “make his mark” if he does and Poppa wants him to get over his fears. Things don’t go as planned and after some tragic events Arlo finds himself separated on a life-changing journey. It’s a story that brings Arlo and the Critter together.
I love this story. For the first time, Arlo has to face his fears and life his life outside of the farm, away from the ones who have always protected him. What parent looks forward to the day their children go off on their own? Arlo’s situation is different but it was nice seeing him maneuver his way through his life challenges. My favorite scenes involve Arlo and the the T-Rex clan. This seems to be a pivotal point for Arlo and we see him grow-up and believe in himself. There are some sad moments in the film. (What Pixar film doesn’t release a tear a two?) I asked the creators of the film what it was about Pixar that made them so good at it? Peter Sohn (Director) responded that they don’t set out to make people cry but the films are packed with honesty and passion. I can tell you that I felt it in this film- it is truly an emotional journey and I could relate to Arlo’s loss and fears.
The Good Dinosaur is visually stunning. The water, the leaves and the sunshine just felt so real. Add in the dinosaurs and the film is a beautiful cinematic world. The storyline is also unique where roles are reversed when we see Arlo take on a “master” role to his “pet” Spot. Spot is wild, loyal and thinks nothing of biting off a bugs head. Ewww!
I definitely recommend this film especially for kids over 6 because of the emotional scenes in the film. Some children (and adults) might have a hard time dealing with loss which is touched upon in the film. But, I always say that parents know their kids the best. Speaking of families, I always take the opportunity to create teachable moments around films. Sure, films are entertaining but that doesn’t mean they can’t be educational. The Good Dinosaur has a ton of lessons that families can relate to and discuss. Themes like perseverance, loyalty, facing fears, responsibility and other positive character traits we all want to install in our kids. Talk about how Arlo works on each one. This is also a good movie to introduce dinosaurs to kids to! Learn their names, look up their traits, etc or maybe visit your local Natural History Museum to see their artifacts. Planning a day around dinosaurs will be a fun outing for families!
The Good Dinosaur is in theaters on Thanksgiving!
We screened The Good Dinosaur for editorial purposes. Opinions are own own.