The Good Dinosaur explores the question: “what if the dinosaurs didn’t go extinct?” What if the meteorite (we assume wiped them out) missed?”
First things first, the movie assumes evolution as fact. If you don’t want your kid getting that viewpoint, don’t watch the movie. The movie is not an apologetic for evolution, though, it’s definitely more of a fairy tale “what if” story. In that it isn’t much different than Charlotte’s Web or any other great children’s story – it asks an imaginative question and then provides a answer “What if a spider wrote in her web?” or, in this case, “what if dinosaurs were the intelligent species?”
Dinosaurs (it would seem) are rather as varied as people in this way you have your distinct “types” – agricultural, cowboys, religious fanatics… but they all share the same problem – they don’t fit into the beautiful world they live in, Arlo and his family most notably.
The animation in this movie is stunning. There is no other adequate word. The scenery is simply breathtaking artistry. It is easy to forget you aren’t looking at something real … Until you see the dinosaurs. Arlo & Co definitely look like they’d be much more at home in Wallace & Grommet than their own beautiful, western world. This is unfortunate, and it doesn’t get better as you watch the movie.
The movie’s big positive is that it has a very strong message of biological and adoptive families being important. There is conflict, sure, but also sacrifice and love. As a parent, some scenes truly bring tears to your eyes. Unfortunately, this wonderful message is obscured by some unfortunate inclusions.
The pterodactyls have one overarching purpose in this movie: to paint all theists in a horrible light. It’s scary for little children, and an untrue characterization. I don’t expect Hollywood to treat Christians with respect, but this was really too far.
The other big unfortunate in the movie is that humans are literally dogs. Spot (the human boy) fetches, scratches, and defends like a dog. So much for human dignity. I knew there was an evolutionary premise going into the movie. I have good reasons for questioning the validity of macro evolution, but I can accept a premise. I cannot accept that depiction of humans. We are created in the image of God! Even if you reject that, showing children a boy who runs wild, bites heads off animals, and has no dignity will inspire them to act likewise.
In spite of the gorgeous scenery & strong message of biological and adoptive families being very important I cannot recommend the movie. Humans are literally dogs, the “vultures” are obviously styled to paint theists in a horrible light, and there’s just straight up a lot of death & scariness for a PG movie.
Plus, I never figured out why the titular Good Dinosaur is good… Prehistoric Homeward Bound or The Dinosaur and The Boy or Arlo and Spot would’ve all made more sense as titles.
I’ve said this for a long time, but I’ll say it again: just because Disney/Pixar makes a movie doesn’t make it good, and just because a movie is animated does not mean its kid-friendly. Super disappointed; cannot recommend.