There’s a little game I’ve started playing with the babes when we watch Disney movies: how long until the parent or parental figure dies? Ok, I’m exaggerating, although let’s see… Frozen, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Big Hero 6, Bambi… they do pop off at an extraordinary rate!
So it’s not exactly a spoiler if I tell you that The Good Dinosaur features a cute little dino called Arlo whose father pegs it within the first half hour. Arlo is the runt of the litter, an Apatosaurus who feels rather small inside. When his dad dies trying to save him from a flood, it leaves Arlo with a crushing case of guilt to add to his other inadequacies.
After another natural disaster leaves Arlo washed up far away from home, he has to call on all his inner resources — and the help of a puppy-like human named Spot — to find his way back to his mum and siblings.
The Good Dinosaur is set in a sort of Land that Asteroids Forgot era, following the premise of what might have happened if a giant space rock hadn’t wiped dinosaurs from existence.
Here the dinos roam wild amongst other freaky prehistoric creatures, and humans are at the crawl, scratch and sniff phase of their evolution.
It’s a fun conceit and Pixar pushes the envelope with this movie, from hallucinogenic references (watch for some ‘dino tripping’) to a style of animation that had me catching my breath. Every blade of grass, every droplet of rain on a leaf, every handprint in the sand is so visually evocative, it has to be seen to be believed.
I don’t think The Good Dinosaur is going to nudge any of our favourite Disney flicks from their top spots. However, we thoroughly enjoyed it, warming easily to the characters and falling especially hard for Spot!
Ezra’s Review (age 9)
Bite sized review: ‘A dinosaur named Arlo who father dies, meets a many dog called Spot and they go on adventures together. Alro wants to make his mark as a dinosaur and he wants to find his home again.’
Memorable moment: ‘When Arlo becomes friends with Spot.’ (Jed: ‘When Spot pulled off the beetle’s head!’)
Rating: ‘5 stars.’
Age guidance: ‘3+, it’s not too intense for that age.’
Message: ‘No matter how hard it seems, you can always make it.’
Read more of the babes’ reviews in our Top 150 Family Movies guide
The Good Dinosaur is out now across UK cinemas