The Good Dinosaur Archives

November 26, 2015

Review: Disney-Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'


My 11-year-old daughter had been looking forward to “The Good Dinosaur” for quite some time and we talked about the movie a lot beforehand, so I had high hopes when we arrived at a screening this week. Unfortunately, I left the theater not feeling quite as entertained as I had hoped I would be. “The Good Dinosaur” has it moments, but overall, it left my children and I feeling like we had just seen a recycled version of another Pixar movie.

“The Good Dinosaur” is engaging at first. The premise of the movie is that an asteroid that made dinosaurs extinct never hit the Earth, and the species evolved and thrived. We meet Arlo (the film’s namesake) and his brother and sister at birth and watch them discover the world around them. The baby dinosaurs are just adorable -- all long, wobbly legs, much like colts. It would be difficult not to be drawn into their story of finding their way and “making their mark,” as their father would say.

But then the plot reveals itself as familiar with a death that is intended to propel the protagonist, Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa), into his journey of self-discovery and growth. My daughter and I groaned -- out loud, I think -- when we realized we were going to suffer through another Disney death at the beginning of a movie. Enough already! Of course, the plot device did serve its purpose, and Arlo ventures out into the world to learn the lessons he needs to. Among them, he learns to trust a young caveboy named Spot, and they form an unbreakable bond.


Along the way, Arlo and Spot give us some hilarious moments, such as the time they blasted groundhogs from their underground living quarters and another when they experience unexpected hallucinations together. But these scenes feel few and far between on the arduous journey Arlo must take to get home. Of course, he encounters life-threatening dangers at every twist and turn, but how many times can one character almost fall into the river and risk being swept away? The movie wraps up with a predictable conclusion.

Although the story is weak, “The Good Dinosaur” is visually stunning. Director Peter Sohn has made sure the landscapes – the river, the skies, the plains – are picture perfect. The details and clarity of the animation are simply amazing. If only the premise were.

Perhaps our disappointment feels more pointed because Pixar already released an animated movie this year, and it was warmly welcomed by critics and audiences alike. “Inside Out” too was a visual beauty, but it also had an inventive and original story. Exploring the emotions associated with growing up in “Inside Out” resonated universally, unlike the muddied coming-of-age story that “The Good Dinosaur” delivered. Perhaps Pixar should have stuck to focusing its efforts on just one movie per year.

DISCLAIMER: I viewed "The Good Dinosaur" at a media screening before its official release. This did not affect my review; my opinions are my own.


November 17, 2015

Disney celebrates Dino Week with events at Disney Parks in advance of 'The Good Dinosaur' movie


Dino Week kicked off at The Walt Disney Company on Saturday, and the festivities continue through Nov. 21. It’s all leading up to the release of the new Disney-Pixar animated 3D film, “The Good Dinosaur,” on Nov. 25, of course. (Watch for my review on AllEars.Net on opening day!)

At Disney Store locations nationwide, including Central Florida’s only Disney Store at Florida Mall, kids ages 3 and older were invited to make free dinosaur-themed crafts over the weekend. For those in a shopping mood, the stores already have available a large selection of The Good Dinosaur merchandise. (Or, if you prefer, peruse the goods online at

On Friday (Nov. 21) and Saturday (Nov. 22), Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Downtown Disney District at Disneyland will celebrate the new movie with themed activities. A live DJ will host a Dinosaur Dance Party from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. that will include special décor, photo opportunities and giveaways. As the sun sets, meteor shower lighting effects will light up the night. T-REX and Rainforest Café will also join in the dinosaur-themed fun. (Both restaurants take reservations and accept walk-up guests.)

Meanwhile, Disney Parks guests on both coasts can see a sneak peak of “The Good Dinosaur” through Dec. 4. Visitors at Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World can see this advance look at clips from the film as part of the One Man’s Dream attraction on Mickey Avenue. At Disney California Adventure, “The Good Dinosaur” preview is presented at the Bug’s Life Theater with special in-theater effects.


Dinosaur fans can get in the spirit of Dino Week with Do-It-Yourself projects, such as coloring pages, best friends mugs and critter mud pie. Instructions can be found on the official Dino Week page. While there, readers also can see clips from “The Good Dinosaur,” vote on their favorite type of dinosaur, and learn how they can help feed the less-fortunate with the holiday campaign, Share the Joy.

“The Good Dinosaur” explores the premise that the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct. It stars an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

Directed by Peter Sohn (“Partly Cloudy”) and produced by Denise Ream (“Cars 2”), “The Good Dinosaur” is the second film from Pixar to be released in 2015. (The first was “Inside Out.”) This is the first time the animation studio has released two movies in the same year.


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About The Good Dinosaur

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the The Good Dinosaur category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

The Finest Hours is the previous category.

The Jungle Book is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.