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Published December 21st 2015
Dinosaurs Adventure Parallel Universe A Cave Boy
An odd couple, lost heroes, a coming of age and a journey home. It's a solid plot for another good Pixar flick. Plus, it has some serious Dinofabulous. And a parallel universe.
When you have a toddler as obsessed with dinosaurs as mine, the opening scene of The Good Dinosaur is strikingly familiar.
It looks like so many dino documentaries I've been requested to watch, that it's not until the Dinosaurs themselves appear, and they're obviously animated, that you really appreciate how good the animation of the environment is in this film.
The plot is fairly simple; when the extinction asteroid misses Earth, Dinosaurs flourish. An Apatosaurus named Arlo lives with his farming family and befriends a cave boy he names Spot. It's an interesting friendship that's tested and solidified through their adventures together trying to find their way home.
I think all parents of kids will agree that the best Pixar films are the ones that the parents are left chuckling, feeling heartsore and made to pause and think. The Good Dinosaur lacks a bit of this, but still has a few bright moments of adult targeted humour, and combined with the fact it will make your little one thrilled to bits, that's probably good enough.
There is a bit that will hit you in the heart place – Arlo and Spot share their life stories by mapping out the trajectory of their adventures (and misadventures) using twigs to represent their families. Both friends have 'Dad' sticks who are laid down and covered over in sand. They've both lost their Dads.
While this swiftly went over my little guy's head, my 12 year old daughter got a bit teary.
There's then the long walk home, combined with lessons in courage and friendship, culminating in young Arlo's coming of age. There's a happy end to the story for Spot too.
Arlo and Spot meet some new creatures on their journey, some of them not so friendly. My son was thrilled by the scavenger pterodactyl, Thunderclap, and his ravenous buddies. And completely in love with Bubbha, the Velociraptor, and his pack.
There are some scarily good scenes in The Good Dinosaur.
I heard a bit of rumble after the film about it being "too scary" for little kids. When it primarily is a film for children who love animation and dinosaurs, there were a few scary chase scenes (and the tidal wave of water that takes out Arlo's Dad is a little terrifying). However if you, like me, have a dinosaur adoring child, they've seen worse.
Bubbha and his pack make for good travelling buddies.
I have to say, one of the best bits for me was the short film before the feature. Sanjay's Super Team has a beautiful, heartfelt message about honouring each other, heritage, and father/son relationships. What a gem.
The Good Dinosaur is out in cinemas on Boxing Day. My Dino aficionado gave it two ROARS up. (Well, he asked to see it again immediately after the credits rolled).