Australian Council on Children and the Media

Good Dinosaur, The

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Not recommended under 7; Parental guidance 7-9 (Scary and upsetting themes and scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Good Dinosaur, The
  • a review of Good Dinosaur, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 December 2015.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not recommended due to scary and upsetting scenes and themes. May also be too long for children in this age group
Children aged 7-9 Parental guidance recommended due to scary and upsetting scenes and themes
Children 9 and over Recommended for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Good Dinosaur, The
Classification: PG
Length 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Arlo the Apatosaurus (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) lives on a farm with his mother (Frances McDormand), father (Jeffrey Wright) and two siblings(Marcus Scribner and Maleah Nipay-Padilla). One day the young dinosaur falls into the river and is washed far away from his home and family. All alone, Arlo becomes friends with a human child named Spot (Jack Bright). Spot teaches Arlo how to survive in the wild and how to overcome his fears. Together, Spot and Arlo must overcome many dangerous obstacles in order to return Arlo to his family before winter.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death of a parent; separation from family; animal distress; children as victims; natural disasters (flooding and storms)

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Buck hits his dad and his siblings with a stick. He also teases his siblings and pushes them to the ground.
  • Arlo is instructed to kill the “critter” that has been stealing their food. Arlo holds up a stick about to hit Spot but decides not to.
  • Spot holds a dead lizard in his mouth. He also bites the head off a beetle
  • Arlo threatens to squeeze the life out of Spot
  • A snake attacks Arlo and Spot. Spot fights back and scares the snake away
  • Several times throughout the movie, storm chaser birds try to eat Spot and attack Arlo. They also kidnap Spot and Arlo saves spot by attacking the birds.
  • A T-Rex reveals to Spot that he “drowned that croc in my own blood”

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A comet hurtles towards the earth and just misses crashing into the planet
  • Arlo is afraid of the chicken-like birds in the pen.
  • There are several large thunder storms throughout the movie which scare Arlo. Whenever there is a storm, Arlo has scary flash backs to his father’s death. Younger children may also find these frightening.
  • A scary and emotional scene is when Arlo’s father dies saving Arlo from a flood. Arlo is very distressed by this moment.
  • Arlo falls into the water and is swept away by the gushing river. He is knocked unconscious and wakes up alone and far away from his home.
  • Arlo frequently falls off, and crashes into, things. The film occasionally shows him with red cuts on his legs.
  • Arlo gets his foot stuck under a rock. He is alone, scared and he thinks he is going to die
  • There is an emotional scene between Spot and Arlo when they reveal to each other that they miss their families and that Arlo’s dad and Spot’s parents are dead.
  • Spot and Arlo are trapped in the river and fall down a waterfall. This is a scary scene as the audience is unsure for a moment if Arlo and Spot are alive.
  • There is a sad scene when Spot and Arlo finally have to say goodbye to each other.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None found in the film but there is likely to be associated merchandise marketed to children

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Arlo and Spot eat some fermented fruit, end up hallucinating and wake with headaches

Coarse language

There is some mild and modified coarse language in this movie, including:

  • dang
  • shoot
  • bullsh… (almost sounds like “bullshit”, but cut off)

In a nutshell

The Good Dinosaur is a beautifully animated film about Arlo, a young dinosaur learning to overcome his fears. There are a number of upsetting and scary scenes and themes which include the death of, and separation from, family members.  There are also scary predatory creatures which threaten the main characters.  The settings make the film seem very real and, at 101 minutes, the film is also rather long for very young children. The film is therefore not recommended for children under 7 and parental guidance is recommended for children between the ages of 7 and 9.

The main messages from this movie are the importance of “doing something bigger than yourself” and that “sometimes you have to go through your fear to see the beauty on the other side”.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • loyalty
  • being hard working
  • kindness
  • bravery

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of helping the family out around the house and contributing to household chores.

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