November 24, 2015

Review: The Good Dinosaur

TheGoodDinosaurI was fortunate enough to get to see an advanced screening of Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, and I wanted to get this review up in time for you to decide whether or not it’s right for your family.

As someone who writes Alternate Universe fanfics, I ask myself a lot of questions that start with “What if”? As a mom, I get asked a lot of questions that start with those words two. In the Good Dinosaur, Pixar asks What if the asteroid that led to the destruction of dinosaurs never hit Earth? What would the world be like later on?

Rated PG, The Good Dinosaur was directed by Peter Sohn – his first director credit for a Pixar film. It’s the latest in a long line of Pixar movies where a director was switched out in the middle, but it didn’t feel like two movies put together, unlike Brave.

The Good Dinosaur feels like a classic Disney movie. Part Bambi, part Lion King, and one part Western – it follows Arlo, the tiny dinosaur in a family of farming dinosaurs (in this movie, it’s the dinos who have human-like tendencies. Arlo’s family worry about harvesting before the winter. There’s a family of cattle-driving T-Rexes!) who finds himself far from home and has to overcome his own fears to get there. Along for the journey is a little “critter” – the literal inverse of a Boy and his dog story. It’s a boy who is a dog. If that makes sense.

So, should your kids see this movie? If they’ve survived Bambi or Lion King, they can handle the Good Dinosaur. It’s not uncharted territory, in the animated movie genre, but it’s charming.

There are situations where Arlo and Spot (the little boy) are in peril, and there is a character death (neither Arlo or Spot). In the good and bad territory – Pixar has mastered photorealistic water, and it’s a marvel to see. It also makes for a terrifyingly real river.

While the movie does get a little loud, and scary at times – there were a fair amount of kids at our screening, and the theater was often silent except for a few gasps (mostly adults) and quite a few laughs (from everyone). Behind me was a three year old who was seeing his first movie ever, and he stayed awake through it, and was very pleased.

The short beforehand, Sanjay’s Super Team is definitely worth the cost of a movie ticket. (Oddly enough, the kids behind me thought it was scarier than the movie)

The Verdict: While it isn’t exactly new territory, it’s a good movie – and definitely one you’ll find yourself getting wrapped up in. Definitely a good way to spend Thanksgiving weekend.

The Good Dinosaur opens in theaters on Thanksgiving day.

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