65 million years ago, a meteor is pushed towards earth. Instead of hitting it and making dinosaurs extinct the meteor has a close shave with our planet and flies past. The dinosaurs look up as they see the meteor pass by and casually continue eating plants. This is perhaps the only original idea the film has, the rest is a rehash of prior Disney movies.
Three dinosaurs are born, the biggest egg actually brings forth the smallest and physically weakest newly born Arlo. To prove his worth to the family he gets the task to protect the food supply for the winter. In a trap he finds a little caveman Spot. But as Arlo is ‘a good dinosaur’ he doesn’t kill him but lets him go.
When he accompagnies his father to hunt down the little caveman the father gets killed while saving his life (a combo of Bambi and The Lion King) during a sudden flood and he ends up alone far away from home (Finding Nemo and again The Lion King) but with his new found buddy Spot. Here starts the ‘coming of age’ and the ‘we need to get home’ storyline and off course there are the obligatory family values (the sentimental but purely visually told ‘family circle’ scene).
All the originality and the different levels for different ages that we usually associate with Pixar are absent. This one is just for the kids, all though certain scenes might be too scaring (the scenes with the velociraptors and the feeding scene in which some ‘animated’ animals do get killed) for the younger kids. There’s one scene in which some characters, refering to the famous ‘showing off scars’ scene from Jaws, are telling some tall tales of how they gathered their body scars, that perhaps adds something for accompanying parents. The wonderful voice of Sam Elliott gets to tell the tallest one.
The film is somewhat of a dissapointment, certainly compared with the excellent and highly original Inside Out Pixar gave us earlier this year.
Prioir to the main feature, as a bonus, you’ll be treated to the short film Sanjay’s Super Team directed by Sanjay Patel. Based on his childhood memories the short deals with the conflict between his love for super hero television programs of their newly adopted home country and the Hindu tradition of prayer and meditation with his father.