The Good Dinosaur: Anything But; Disney and Pixar’s Missed Mark
Apparently there is no escaping fear and terror, even in a children’s cartoon. I am not a conservative parent by any stretch. I would not consider myself over protective or a religious fanatic either. I am overwhelming moderate and have very liberal views when it comes to the media, television and movie content. However, I am deeply upset and irritated after watching The Good Dinosaur, by Disney and Pixar, and feel justified in my frustration. I will not trust the rating system moving forward, or go to a movie that Disney has made, and think that it will automatically be “PG”. This is the first movie I have seen that truly upset me and caused unnecessary fear for my children. I am angry because of the market schemes that this company uses and their misrepresentations of movies; this one in particular. Disney and Pixar know that children relate to and love animals, and dinosaurs in general are of high interest to little boys. After watching the movie trailer, a parent could assume this would be a happy movie about a “Good Dinosaur” that is going on an adventure and meets a little cave boy critter along the way. Nothing would warn the viewer of the terror and fear The Good Dinosaur creates. For my family, in particular, we were severely traumatized. Parents beware. There is a market for this movie, but it is not appropriate for young children, nor is it an emotionally satisfying film. The only lesson that it teaches, is to beware of wrong movie ratings, and to do your research before going to a “PG” film.
I have a son and daughter, who are both under five years of age. I do understand that there are dark movies that Disney puts out, like The Pirates of the Caribbean, for example. But this movie, in particular, missed the mark, and their target audience. Looking at the title, the average movie goer would assume a gentle and friendly dinosaur movie. This was not the case, and it had scenes of gratuitous violence at every turn. I was not expecting Disney to deceive viewers and market this movie as “A Land Before Time” type. They used every opportunity to penetrate violence into the film. Growing up I watched a lot of Disney movies, and there is always a conflict with “bad animals” like the hyenas in the Lion King. There is also death in Bambi, when his mother dies at the beginning. This is not the issue. The issue I have with The Good Dinosaur is this; a children’s movie is supposed to have conflict, resolution, and redeeming social value. The Good Dinosaur does not, and uses excessive violence to show conflict. Disney misrepresented this movie. The plot themes have so much going on; it created terror instead of entertainment. What level of violence is needed to entertain nowadays? This is ridiculous, and needs to be addressed, and I will bring attention to it.
It’s a sorry depiction of,” kindness can change everything,” it’s more like “fear can change everything.”
Disney Pixar missed the mark in these areas; after watching the video trailer, the editing, song choice, and catch phrases come across as light-hearted fun; it seems like a movie that would be comparable to “Ice age” but it is nothing like this. For example one of the catch phrases that was used, was, “Kindness can change everything,” it’s more like, “fear can change everything.” This “kindness” was nowhere in the movie. The only themes in this movie were fear, death, terror, and how to be an orphaned dinosaur in the wilderness. If Disney thinks its ok to make a trailer with a happy family of Apatosaurus and then play a Monsters and Men song, “Crystals,” they need get real; be realistic and honest with what you are really putting out, sadness and destruction.
Some examples of terror include; the violent forces of nature, and the destruction the storm causes. The violent river scene in which Arlow’s father gets swept away and drowned—a double manipulation of death and violence. Arlow is scared of the lightening throughout the movie and the climbing of the mountain out in the wilderness; he endures injuries under the rock. The death and loss theme was also present, as I pointed out, with the father’s death and with the orphan cave boy critter, Spot. This was another unnecessary emotional upset. Continuing with violence, if these examples aren’t enough, Disney pushed it further, with talk of blood spill and killing from the cowboy hick, Buck, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, in the campfire scene. The creepy freak, Triceratops, says words out of the blue like; killer, murderer, and critter, when describing “Spot.” This was after the scary encounter with the red cobra snake. Then, there are the evil, pterodactyls that Arlow meets on the mountain after the storm. One eats a freed raccoon alive after Arlow saves it from under a tree. To top it off, they drown in the river when Arlow fights to save his critter friend, Spot from the rapids. Let’s wrap all this up with the strange and weird scene with the hallucinations, when Arlow and Spot eat red berries, more like “shrooms.”
I wanted to go see a family friendly movie for the holidays, and this movie was nothing but terror and fear. I ended up having to console my daughter four times during the film, and made her cover her eyes. If you want a violent film in every aspect of killing, nature, and death, this is the movie for you, and a market you should invent. The mother in me says that this is not appropriate for a PG audience. Parents, avoid this “Good Dinosaur,” and go see The Peanuts Movie this holiday season instead.