The Good Dinosaur has a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A few critics pan the film for having too simplistic of a story, and Richard Roeper thinks the movie is too violent. I think that the film is brilliant, but parts of it might be too intense for younger children. In fact, most of it is.
The story starts out 65 million years ago and what transpires is that the big asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs somehow barely misses the Earth. Go forward about 64 million years, and the dinosaurs are still around and they have evolved up the evolutionary scale a bit; enough to talk to each other and have farms and even herd animals. (This is a great science fiction concept, but it has been done before in other science fiction stories.)
Arlo, an Apatosaurus, is the runt of his family, and his is always afraid of everything. His father gives him the task of guarding their silo of food from a pest. It turns out the pest is a human child, who happens to behave more like a dog than a modern human. Arlo is suppose to kill the human, but fails at his task. Through a series of unfortunate events, Arlo gets separated from his family and ends up forming a bond with the human child, whom he calls "Spot". Together they go on a long journey to return home, but it is a journey full of great danger from predators and violent storms.
Visually this is probably the most stunning film Pixar has ever done. Everything in the film is beautifully photorealistic, except for the dinosaurs and humans which look a little more cartoonish. I found it hard to believe how great this movie looks. The computer animation is on a new technical level that we have not seen before.
Some might regard the story as too simple, but I found that it touched my heart. There are themes of love, compassion and devotion that are apparently universal regardless of your species. The movie is violent, but this is how I would expect the world would be if it were ruled by dinosaurs.
Rating: * * * 1/2