A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teaches worthy lessons about handling fear and being kind to others, but far from accurate in terms of prehistoric facts.
Family is valued above all else, even great friendship. Courage is an important theme. Fear is normal and healthy, but it shouldn't get in the way of living your life; you can get through it to see the beauty on the other side. Kindness, loyalty, encouragement, and resourcefulness are all important. You can make your mark by doing something bigger than yourself.
Positive Role Models
Arlo must overcome his many fears in order to survive in foreign terrain against the threats and ravages of nature. His friend/pet human, Spot, shows Arlo kindness and loyalty and teaches him how to live off the land. Some strangers they meet are helpful and encouraging.
Violence & Scariness
Many scenes of peril/danger, as well as loss. (Spoiler alert!) Arlo's father dies in a flood, and, shortly after, the younger dinosaur is separated from the rest of his family and must fend for himself in the wilderness; later audiences learn that Spot lost his family, too. Carnivorous predatory birds and dinosaurs (many with big, sharp teeth) menace Arlo and Spot; they get caught in a stampede as well. Major forces of nature -- including storms, floods, and treacherous mountain passes (all of which look very real) -- repeatedly put Arlo and Spot at mortal risk. Some fighting/hunting; Spot is fierce and fearless, and at one point he rips the head off of a beetle he captures.
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"Dang," "shoot," one "bull" that almost sounds like the start of a stronger word.
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Products & Purchases
No actual products within the film, but lots of off-line marketing/licensing tie-ins, from books and apps to a wide variety of toys, clothes, and much more.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Famished Arlo and Spot eat some fermented fruit, get altered/drunk (they hallucinate), and wake up with hangovers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Good Dinosaur -- Pixar's lush animated prehistoric saga that successfully melds Finding Nemo and E.T. -- has stunning visuals, moments of clever humor, strong messages about loyalty and bravery, and many scenes of danger, trauma, and peril that are likely to frighten younger/more sensitive viewers. (Spoiler alert!) Apatosaurus Arlo is separated from his family after a severe storm/flash flood claims his father's life (a series of events that could definitely upset kids); plus, carnivorous, sharp-toothed beasts attack Arlo and his human friend, Spot; more storms bring destruction and deadly threats; and the heroes barely survive a dangerous ride down a waterfall -- which is all the more intense because the film's settings look extremely real. Arlo's many fears and desperation to get home will certainly make some kids anxious; be ready to reassure them. There's also a scene in which Arlo and Spot scarf down fermented fruit, seem to get a little drunk (they hallucinate), and then wake up with headaches. Editor's Note: Sanjay's Super Team, the animated short that runs before the film in theaters, has moments that are very intense and scary, with a fiery, frightening bad guy. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This visually beautiful, emotionally authentic tale about a young dinosaur who experiences loss and struggles to find his way home will entrance kids and parents alike. Pixar's gorgeous animation places The Good Dinosaur's talking animals (and human) in photo-realistic natural settings that are nearly indistinguishable from actual forests, rivers, and mountains. (In fact, the images' reality could add to the scariness for young children during storms and other scenes of threat.)
Great visual moments come out of Spot's lack of spoken language skills. The best example? Arlo, who can talk, explains the concept of family by setting representative stick figures in the sand and drawing a circle of closeness around them. Spot takes it further by doing the same and then throwing burial sand over the sticks to communicate that he's now alone in the world. But ultimately, he's not -- he has Arlo, and Arlo has him, and their friendship is a solid core for another excellent, if intense, Pixar adventure.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.