After much anticipation Disney•Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” is finally released to the public! I had the opportunity to view a sneak peek of the newest movie from Pixar Animation Studios with my four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Pippy. She was beyond elated about the chance to see the movie, especially because her big brother wasn’t invited this time. (Don’t feel too sorry for him; he gets to view it on Saturday at his friend’s birthday party.)
From the production notes,
Disney•Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend named Spot. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.
‘From the moment Arlo is born, he’s afraid of the world,’ says first-time director Peter Sohn, a 15-year Pixar veteran and graduate of CalArts. ‘He’s fun-loving and determined; he’s got a lot of fire when it comes to his desire to help his family. And his father is his biggest supporter. But Arlo is scared. His fear holds him back.
‘Spot is the opposite of Arlo,’ continues Sohn. ‘He’s tenacious, brave and an animal in every sense of the word. It’s the story of a boy and his dog—only in our story, the boy is a dinosaur and the dog is a boy.’
And that’s exactly what you need to get out of the movie: overcome your fear. There’s a pivotal scene (pictured above) during the movie where a group of T-rexes (who act as cowboys herding longhorns and run like they’re riding on galloping horses) are sharing stories around a campfire with Arlo and Spot. Butch, the leader and father of the Tyrannosaurus Rexes, shares with them how he acquired the nasty scar that’s on his face. After hearing the story, Arlo remarks that he must have never been afraid during that moment. Butch remarks that of course he was scared and says, “If you ain’t scared, you ain’t alive!”
During the movie Pippy was scared. There are a few bad guys who, let’s be honest because they’re dinosaurs, are really bad and look really scary. I was in a crowded theater and it’s safe to say that more than Pippy who were crying and hiding their faces from the screens. Pippy, who toward the end of the movie was in my lap, kept wailing how she wanted to go home. She did the same exact thing during “Frozen” so I knew she could make it through to the end. Heck we almost walked out of “Frozen” during the turning point when Anna risks her life for Elsa! Now “Frozen” is her favorite movie despite Elsa’s snowy monster and Hans trying to kill both Anna and Elsa.
The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. The wide angle shots are lifelike in a very artistic way. The creators used the Wild West of yesteryear for inspiration and they nailed the look and feel of that. The dialogue is in typical witty Disney•Pixar form and the character of Spot is so lovable and admirable. Arlo, the dinosaur, is such a good character for kids to relate to – well, at least to my children who are more cautious and sensitive. And yes, you should bring your tissues. I found myself almost doing the ugly cry at the end of the movie.
So what’s my suggestion on whether or not your child should see “The Good Dinosaur?” It all really depends on your child: what do they watch as far as movies go and how sensitive are they? Would I bring my two-and-a-half-year-old nephew to see it? Absolutely not; he wouldn’t sit still in a theater anyway. Pippy, the bravest of my kids, was frightened during the movie, however, she told me that she did like it. When I asked her if she would watch it again she told me she wouldn’t because it was scary. I have a sneaking suspicion that when it’s released on DVD she’ll watch it again. And my seven-year-old son, The Boy? I think he can handle it without any problems. He likes to know what’s going to happen ahead of time so I’ve clued him in on the story and what to expect. He’s very similar to me and with an overactive imagination some scenes during movies and TV shows can be too much. All that to say that the moral of the story is to overcome your fear, not get rid of it and never be afraid, but to overcome it. There are a lot of teaching moments that come from the movie.
If you’re looking for a specific age-range I would say first graders and older will like the movie, maybe Kindergartners depending on the child, and the same certainly goes for preschoolers.
For more information on “The Good Dinosaur” visit these links:
See your local movie theater for show times.