You may or may not know, but I’m kind of obsessed with everything Disney. I did the college program at Disney World last semester, so I’ve had Disney on my mind, and when The Good Dinosaur was released from Disney/Pixar I knew that I needed to go and see it. I also paid a few extra dollars to see it in 3D–I haven’t done that for a movie in a long time!
The movie starts off very cute. We have a little dinosaur family, who’s kind of advanced from what we think dinosaurs should be like because the meteor that struck the earth and eradicated the dinos never came. Arlo is the youngest son in the family and doesn’t feel like he fits in; he’s always too scared to do everything and can’t accomplish any of the jobs his father gives him. Including the last job he’s given, to kill the critter who keeps eating their stores for the winter, before tragedy strikes and nothing is ever the same for Arlo again.
After that point in the movie, there are so many things that go wrong for Arlo. He’s separated from his family and has to team up with that critter he was supposed to get rid of. Honestly, watching this, I feel like some kids might be scared of what happens in this movie because there are so many bad turns for Arlo. Practically anything he did, you could expect it to go wrong–and usually not in a lighthearted way. Actually, there were less funny moments in the movie than I’d expected. The adventure was more serious and a little darker. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.
The animation throughout was gorgeous. GORGEOUS. If you can see it in 3D, do it. You won’t regret spending a little extra. The scenery in the movie is so spectacular and so well-crafted that it often looks like Arlo is the only unreal thing in the entire landscape. And the water! There were so many scenes involving water and it might be a world thing to go on about but it’s such a hard thing to animate and it looked real.
The movie talks a lot about the importance of family, finding your place in the world, and understanding others who are different from you. It teaches that you can love someone who came from a completely different place and who can’t speak with you. It also shows that our expectations of people won’t always be the reality. There are some dinos you’d expect to be bad who’re the kindest people around . . . and some who could be good, but choose to be bad. And that’s a lot to take out of an animated movie about dinosaurs.
I think that kids will enjoy this movie, despite its darker parts, and will definitely take its messages home with them. Any audience will root for Arlo on his way home, and fall in love with that vicious critter, waiting for that happy Disney ending.