Arlo (Jack McGraw, Raymond Ochoa) is the smallest of his siblings. Buck (Ryan Teeple, Marcus Scribner) is the typical older brother and Libby (Maleah Nipay-Padilla), the typical older sister. Both Buck and Libby are more than capable of doing their part to help around the family farm. Arlo, on the other hand, is not only small, but is afraid of everything. Momma (Frances McDormand) and Poppa (Jeffrey Wright) do their best to help Arlo live up to his potential.
One day, Arlo finds himself lost in the wilderness. Alone. Terrified of absolutely everything, he must brave the elements, and the other creatures who may be out to eat him, to get home. Arlo must decide if he can accept help from the last place he expected, and certainly doesn’t want, so his family doesn’t starve during the winter.
In true Disney fashion, The Good Dinosaur uses a tragic event to serve as motivation for the story. I won’t spoil that for you, but it is fairly easy to see coming.
Similar to Disney and Pixar’s last film, Inside Out, the story gets very dark at times. Again, though, they use cute creatures and a few funny scenes scattered here and there to distract the kids. It is a very intense film, so I can’t recommend it for the very young, despite how happy and cheerful the previews make it seem.
The visuals are impressive, as always from Disney/Pixar. The landscape looks real. The only thing that looks cartoonish are the characters. The story does have a good message. Again, something we have come to expect from Disney. The film is about facing and overcoming your fears, and the meaning of family.
If you have slightly older kids who can handle a darker story, they will probably enjoy The Good Dinosaur, walking away only remembering the lighter parts. That, paired with the film’s message, make it ok for a family movie night, but not necessarily the best choice.
If you were wondering, yes, that was a scene about Spot and Arlo getting high off rotten fruit.