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The Good Dinosaur review

We review The Good Dinosaur - cute 'n cuddly (as opposed to Jurassic World-scary) dinosaur befriends a boy in sweet adventure

The Good Dinosaur poster

The Good Dinosaur

Certificate: PG

Voices of: Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Raymond Ochoa, Sam Elliott

Release date: 2015

4 out of 5


Released in the same year as their unique animated movie Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur is a more traditional tale from Disney/Pixar, one that should enchant kids who will fall in love with adorable dinosaur Arlo, and impress everyone else with its stunning animated scenery.

Like Pixar classic Finding Nemo, this movie is the story of a boy who just wants to go home. The twist here is that said boy is an Apatosaurus living in a world where the dinosaurs were never wiped out by a meteor (demonstrated in a terrific opening sequence), and millions of years later they share the land with all manner of creatures, including early Man. It’s actually a little human boy who sets events in motion – timid dinosaur Arlo is tasked with protecting the crops his family are growing, and he’s supposed to trap the little boy who is stealing them but instead he gets away. Arlo’s trip with his dad to track the thief ends in tragedy, with Arlo miles from home, frightened, alone and desperate to find his way back. His only ally in the wilderness turns out to be the very boy he was chasing (whom he names Spot, and who acts like a devoted, if occasionally ferocious, puppy), and the two of them team up to get Arlo back to his mother and siblings.

While Inside Out wowed adults, this vibrant movie is especially for kids (which probably explains why the scenery is almost photo-realistic but the creatures are softer and more cuddly) and it entertains them throughout with an easy to follow, enjoyable story and rich backdrops for the sweety boy dinosaur and his cute Spot to wander through. There is a nice mix of wonder (the insects lighting the sky) and scary bits (the pterosaurs, see below) sprinkled with humour, and a lovely, sentimental story at its heart that should tug at everyone’s heartstrings.

Is The Good Dinosaur suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

Young viewers may be upset by the death of Arlo’s dad, though he is washed away and his dead body isn’t shown.

The Pterosaurs (flying dinosaurs) are scary, especially when they attack Arlo.

Viewers under the age of 7 may find the scenes featuring them quite frightening though everything turns out okay.

The idea that Arlo is lost and trying to find his way home may upset young children.

If you like this, why not try: Finding Nemo, The Land Before Time, Toy Story, The Lion King, Ice Age,