Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Movie Review

The Good Dinosaur

MPAA Rating: PG for peril, action and thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family Kids
Genre:
Animation Family Adventure Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2015
USA Release:
November 25, 2015 (wide—3,749 theaters)
DVD: February 23, 2016
Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

confronting and overcoming your fears / finding your courage

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

sibling rivalry

Dinosaurs

DINOSAUR ORIGIN—Where did the dinosaurs come from? Answer

Are dinosaurs mentioned in the BIBLE? Answer

WHY did God create dinosaurs? Answer

LIVING WITH DINOSAURS—What would it have been like to live with dinosaurs? Answer

Copyrighted illustration, Films for ChristEXTINCTION—Why did dinosaurs become extinct? Answer

NOAH’S ARK—Did Noah take dinosaurs on the Ark? Answer

DINOSAURS AFTER THE FLOOD—Following the Flood, what happened to dinosaurs? Answer

Featuring: Raymond Ochoa … Arlo (voice)
Jack Bright … Spot (voice)
Jeffrey WrightPoppa (voice)
Frances McDormandMomma (voice)
Steve ZahnThunderclap (voice)
Anna PaquinRamsey (voice)
Sam Elliott … Butch (voice)
John Ratzenberger … Earl (voice)
Maleah Nipay-Padilla … Young Libby (voice)
Ryan Teeple … Young Buck (voice)
Jack McGraw … Young Arlo (voice)
Marcus Scribner … Buck (voice)
Peter Sohn … Forrest Woodbush (voice)
Mandy Freund … Downpour (voice)
Steven Clay Hunter … Coldfront (voice)
A.J. Buckley … Nash (voice)
David Boat … Bubbha (voice)
Carrie Paff … Lurleane (voice)
Calum Grant … Pervis (voice)
Director: Pete Sohn
Bob Peterson
Producer: Denise Ream
Pixar Animation Studios
Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“The Good Dinosaur” is a movie about a young Apatosaurus named Arlo who yearns to be a good, courageous dinosaur, as opposed to a cowardly one, as his parents perceive him. Arlo is not very adventurous, and he is easily scared by places and creatures he is unfamiliar with. After an incident in which Arlo falls into a river, bangs his head and becomes temporarily unconscious while being swept away in a storm, he wakes up and finds himself far from home, and facing the situations he has always feared. To survive the journey home, he must become accustomed to confronting dangers and facing the unknown. And through an encounter with a tiny, humanlike creature named Spot, Arlo learns how to relate to someone very different from himself and work together to overcome challenges.

The story unfolds in a way that is sort of predictable, although a lot of action and oddities occur along the way. Arlo encounters animals with rather peculiar personalities—some nice and others vicious. Overall, “The Good Dinosaur” feels more serious in tone than usual for Pixar movies, with less humor in the dialogue.

The movie raises some thought-provoking questions regarding the theme of finding your courage. I think that a lot of Christians could relate to Arlo’s concern over whether he is a “good dinosaur.” Some Christians worry about whether they are “good Christians.” They hear of believers who stand up for their faith in very hostile situations, and then look at their own lives and wonder whether they measure up, and they feel they might lack the drive that motivates other Christians to make such stands for their faith.

In the movie, through an unexpected turn of events in his life, Arlo learns how to courageously and nobly respond in a way that makes it apparent he is indeed a good dinosaur. In our own lives, I believe that we can ask God to work in us such that, if our circumstances were to change dramatically, we would be able to stand strong, and that it would be an opportunity to demonstrate the strengths He has given us. In the Bible, Romans 8:28 (NRSV) states that, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

I find that “The Good Dinosaur” has meaningful themes, and I think that it is a good family movie, although I would be cautious about very young kids, due to some potentially scary scenes.

Content Concerns

Violence: There are several instances where the main character Arlo is chased by animals trying to attack him, and there are several fighting sequences between the anthropomorphic animals. Early in the movie, Arlo’s father is swept away by a river during a storm, and he presumably dies, as he does not reappear in the story. Arlo, also, has a lot of hard, painful-looking falls during his journey, and some bruises and mild blood are shown in a couple scenes.

Language: A few euphemisms (“bull,” “dang,” “shoot”).

Other: The movie may be alluding to human Evolution through the use of characters who appear to be primitive humans. The movie also assumes that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.

The seven-minute short film “Sanjay’s Super Team” which precedes “The Good Dinosaur” in theaters also raises some content concerns. A father and son are shown engaging in a Hindu meditation ritual, and the son daydreams of a battle in which a cartoon superhero and several gods team up to fight off a rather ugly-looking monster. Young children may find this scarier than any particular scene within “The Good Dinosaur” itself.

Violence: Moderate to heavy / Language: Minor (no profanity) / Sex/Nudity: Minor—Spot wears only a leaf diaper.

The Great Dinosaur Mystery On-lineVisit our ChristianAnswers’ dinosaur site, where you’ll discover a mountain of knowledge and amazing discoveries. How do dinosaurs fit into human history and the Bible? You’ll find the answer to this and many more of your questions. Play games, browse and learn. Includes many helps for teachers and parents.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Overall, a solid family movie, doesn’t feel very original, but very visually stunning and enjoyable for what it is. Nothing morally offensive, but there are some scary parts for little kids. What would please Christians is the very pro traditional family message that you see rarely in movies today.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Keith Chandler, age 37 (USA)
Positive—Pixar had announced this movie for a very long time and the project went through the hands of many directors. In the end, it was released in late November 2015, just a few months after “Inside Out”. That’s the first time Pixar had 2 movies in the same year, and it’s the first time one of their movies underperformed that much. Let me reassure you, it’s a good movie, but it lacks the Pixar magic that makes their movies so special.

It’s difficult not to think about the previous Disney dinosaur movies “The Land Before Time” (1988) and “Dinosaurs” (2000) after watching this one. What makes this movie unique is the contrast between its cartoonish characters and the incredibly realistic backgrounds. But that’s all. The story is quite simple, a few emotional moments, but no thrilling ones. If you like dinosaurs, you’ll be disappointed, because you don’t see that many. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Nicolas, age 28 (United Kingdom)
Positive—Pixar’s latest release, “The Good Dinosaur,” was only good when it could have been great. The beautiful production design was five star, as was the music. I think they made a mistake by having the human boy be dog-like. In the animated film “Ice Age,” the animals talked among themselves, and there were human characters that acted human, but had no dialog. That should have been the direction Pixar had taken. Children could have related more to the child. Watching a child sit like a dog and pant with his tongue out is not cute or natural looking. If he is more like a boy, it gives the animators a wider range of personality traits to work with, I would think.

Other than that, it was a good story of a dinosaur growing up, dealing with loss, and earning his mark. I still recommend it. Regarding the animated short that ran with the film, it did not upset me. It was for a Hindu audience, and considering it is the world’s third largest religion, there will be those who appreciate it. I now challenge Pixar to do a short family film promoting the Christian faith. Maybe one of the parables, like the prodigal son.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jeff Leslie, age 58 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—The movie itself was “good.”. All of the quality, etc., you would expect from Disney/Pixar. The biggest concern I have is the “short”. You’re expecting the movie to start and suddenly you’re presented with Hindu propaganda. You see an Indian father pull his son to a Hindu altar, begin ringing the bell to ward off spirits, and then start meditating with “ommmmmmm” (which is later reinforced by a scene in the movie). The Hindu gods start fighting demons… at this point, I walked out to get the movie manager involved, so I can’t tell you what happened after that. I can tell you that it was violent enough to cause my grandkids to hide their eyes. If this were Christian, and the main character was Jesus fighting Satan, you can bet it would never make it into the theater.

This is a warning to keep your children in the lobby until the movie actually starts.
—Nancy, age 59 (USA)
Neutral—Although Disney/Pixar movies are always good for all ages, this one is an exception. My wife and I found it boring, but the level of violence and death may make it uncomfortable for young children. The feature is paired with a short about Hindu God’s which serves to further interfaith understanding, but may be confusing for young Christians. The only positive note is the art: Many scenes of rivers and fields of flowers were so detailed that they appeared to be live-action.

One negative aspect is noteworthy: there is a scene in which the boy and dinosaur find some fermented or hallucinogenic fruit and experience a powerful high. Unfortunately, unlike Dumbo’s pink elephants on parade, this is presented as a positively joyful experience, which sends the wrong message to children (especially here in Canada where weed is becoming legal).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Brian Schacht, age 69 (Canada)
Neutral—I can not figure this movie out. It appears deeply spiritual (as the preface by the Hindu movie points at), but I’m not certain if there is an anti or pro Christian message here. Just spiritual. Some things I can piece together: The water element is related to the kidney meridian in Chinese medicine, and its emotion is fear. This seems to relate to both the river and storm in the movie, they all incite fear. The movie seems to be about overcoming this fear. Which is I suppose is good advice spiritually.

Then the mountains they call home are 3 peaks, like the Holy Trinity. When the purplish blue creatures say “the storm provides” it seems a spin on “the Lord provides.” To go out on a limb, I would say the “storm” provides “fear” which negative (demonic) entities would feed off, hence “the storm provides” fear for these negative entities. There are hallucinogenics involved when they eat the berries, maybe pointing towards some people’s desire to advance spiritually through hallucinogens (Indian culture, some people in the 60s, etc.). Not sure there. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Eva, age 40 (Canada)
Negative
Negative—In my opinion, this is the worst children’s movie I have ever seen. Admittedly, We walked out with our four 4 and 5 year old grandchildren at approximately an hour into the movie, so I may have missed some redeeming message, but, actually, I wish we would have left sooner! Imagine every fear you may have had as a child. They are all exploited in this movie. Being attacked by aggressive birds, losing a parent, being swept away in a wild river, snakes, heights, creepy bugs. I could go on and on.

My grandchildren were very happy to leave the movie, and so was I. Call me naive, but I expect a children’s movie to be innocent fantasy, humor or whimsy. I’m not opposed to a serious subject being introduced in the right way. That’s not what this is.

If you are planing on taking your children to this movie, please reconsider especially if they are 8 or under.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Debby Wylie, age 62 (USA)
Negative—We started to watch this movie and made it to just a little past meeting the flying dinos, and something felt off for me, and did from the start. It’s hard to explain in saying that, I am not that sensitive to movies, but this one had me feeling not very comfortable as an adult, especially on the hidden content of the movie. To explain:

1) Firstly the suggestion that dinosaurs cultivated and man was not intellectual—(not so bad as such in a kids’ movie I can think of worse things).

2) Then the idea that you have to earn your respect in a family by ways of hard efforts, no matter the task (kids struggle enough to have their parents proud of them in general and they should not need to strive for love, trust and acceptance). • The fact that Arlo was motivated to overcome his fear by being angry. (This does not pose as a good building blocks to deal with things with anger, fear or other emotions). • The Triceratops, well he had some unstable mental issues or was he putting his trust in things to help him overcome his emotions. (We are to put our trust in Jesus Christ.) • The fermented fruit incident (Although it was funny, but, subconsciously what does it tell our children. That alcohol and drugs are funny and fun and it’s okay). • the flying dinos, with their revelation about the higher thing and that it provides food (was the last straw for me). more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Sara.H, age 34 (Australia)
Negative—A waste of time
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Brittanie, age 26 (USA)
Negative—In short, I did not enjoy the Evolutionary message that pervaded the movie—dinosaurs act like humans, whereas the humans act like dogs or “cavemen.” God made man in His image and gave man authority over animals, not vice versa. This may seem like a “so-what” thing, but the attack on Genesis and the validity of God’s Word is so prevalent today, and it is leading people away from their faith. The media is influencing children with this message in movies like “The Good Dinosaur” (and “The Croods”—although my children enjoyed that one), and I think that, as parents, we need to be aware of the subtle (or not so-subtle) messages in animated “entertainment” and discuss Creation vs. Evolution with our children, so that their faith is not shaken and so that they will have an answer when Evolutionary propaganda is thrust upon them.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mandy, age 42 (South Africa)
Negative—It was a good movie—but when they ate the berries and “got high”—why would a drug scene be a good place in a children’s movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Karen, age 61 (USA)
Comments from young people
Neutral—…this is not a kid-friendly movie. It would have been fine with one bad part, but I am a kid, and I was scared of that movie. Even a 17 year old was scared, and I think you went too far, no offense.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
—Kaelyn, age 11 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—My wife and I took our 4 and 5 year old on her birthday. I finally ordered us out of the theater after 1 hour and I wish I would have done it sooner. This is the first movie I have ever walked out of or reviewed. The first 10 minutes we uncomfortable with the worship of foreign gods and suggestions of evolution. Some kids movies have scary scenes but they are non-stop and graphic in this one.

One scene that stands out is when some talking creatures lead the good dinosaur to rescue a trapped animal from fallen trees after a storm. Once the dinosaur frees the animal one of the creatures gobbles him up and kills him. I would not recommend “The good dinosaur” to any age group. Disturbing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Todd, age 37 (USA)

Sorry, no other to share your observations and insights with others to be posted here, please contact us!