The Good Dinosaur: Should You See It?

Ever wonder what would have happened if dinosaurs had never become extinct? Pixar’s new movie, The Good Dinosaur, makes some guesses.

The first guess is that dinosaurs would eventually discover agriculture. The movie opens on a dino couple who run a corn farm eagerly watching their baby dinos hatch. The little one who can barely walk is our protagonist, Arlo. He’s a frightened lil’ pipsqueak who wants nothing more than to earn the right to make his mark on the family silo. Problem is, he’s got to do something brave and heroic first, and that doesn’t seem likely for this scaredy-saur.

His dad takes him out into the fields at night to show him the world isn’t so bad after all. With his tail, he can aggravate fireflies into lighting up. As the field glistens, it becomes clear dad is going to die soon becuse this is a kids’ story about animals and this dad is way too mystical to not be a dead dad ghost.

After Arlo fails to kill the critter stealing the family corn (who ends up being Spot, Arlo’s future human friend), dad gets mad and makes Arlo chase the critter far beyond the farm. But he doesn’t realize that part of the compilcation of this asteroid-free future is that there are frequent horrible storms that cause lots of plot twists. One of these hits and daddy gets taken away by the river. Now Arlo has to stand up and be more of a man.

Soon enough, the tricky river takes Arlo too, and he’s stuck on his own in the big, bad world. Luckily, little human Spot comes along to protect him and be his best buddy. Will they ever make it home?

This is a movie about a lot of things. It’s about conquering fear, for one thing, as are many kids’ movies. It’s also kind of a movie about the bond people share with dogs. Yes this sounds crazy, but hear me out. Spot the human is basically a dog. He howls at the moon. He runs on all fours. He pants with his tongue out. His leg shakes when you scratch him. The writers of this movie took a dog’s mannerisms and decided that’s exactly what early humans were like, I guess. Even if this movie isn’t supposed to be about dogs, seeing Arlo and Spot become an unlikely family made me excited to go home to my own dog.

There’s not a whole lot of dialogue in this movie. Spot doesn’t talk at all, and Arlo isnt the most loquacious of protags. The most talking comes from the strange species they meet on their adventures, including pterodactyl-like creatures who worship storms / are evil. There are also some very southern T-Rexes who herd bison or buffalo or some prehistoric creature that looks like a bison. (Agriculture and animal husbandry, these dinosaurs got it on lock.) If you want quality talking in a movie, this probably isn’t for you.

The main draw of The Last Dinosaur is the beautiful animation. When I watched the trailer, I was like oh it’s a movie where animated dinos are drawn against real life backgrounds. But no, everything is animated so well that it looks real. It’s the kind of movie that takes a lot of money to not look animated. Pay the extra for 3D to see the beautiful color details in those babbling rivers.

This isn’t the best Pixar movie, nor is it offensively stupid/ bad in any way. It’s just a charming tale of a dinosaur and his dog, er human. I give it 6 asteroids out of 10.