What if? That’s the beginning of this film with its spectacular scenery, a beautiful soundtrack, an exciting story and so much more. What I really love about this film is the animation. A good 20 minutes of the film is dedicated to looking at the scenery, which is incredible. The design of the landscape, with its hills, valleys, mountains and rivers is truly breathtaking.
This movie is not all comedy, there is quite a bit of drama. In many scenes you feel touched by the characters and even pity them. The whole plot is a large and exciting adventure which allows for some mild action. There is a bigger moral to the story which is “discover your voice.” Disney has focused on that in its “Find Your Roar” campaign, encouraging kids everywhere to “find your own voice or ‘your roar!’”
The story starts when an infamous meteor hits the Earth. Millions of years later, a dinosaur named Arlo is separated from his family and home. He goes on a huge adventure to get back home, which involves enemies, friends and more.
The story is dramatic and takes turns that surprise the audience multiple times. The voice acting is excellent in every role, making characters sound alive, personable and full of energy. One of my favorites is Butch (Sam Elliot). Butch is a T-Rex and a pretty cool one too. Sam makes him seem menacing and dramatic, but still friendly, even a bit funny at times.
In the Blu-ray version, there are a dozen special features, including an option to listen to commentary throughout the film from some of the creators, including storyboard artists and editors talking about the process they used to make the film. A perfect example of this is when they discuss how they based the terrain on the western United States. The special features also include deleted scenes and some cool interviews.
My favorite scene is when Arlo meets the T-Rexes. He and his companion, Spot, are running away from scavenger birds. They see a dinosaur in the distance and plea for help. It turns out they find two powerful T-Rexes and the T-Rexes assist Arlo and Spot to get to safety and on with their journey. The staging in this scene is intense and dramatic, especially when you don’t know if these giant carnivores will be more dangerous than the birds.
This film is most suitable for ages 6 to 18. Younger kids may find the more intense and dramatic scenes way too frightening. I give it five out of five stars for its beautiful animation, emotional voice acting, an intense story and smooth editing.
Reviewed by Gerry O, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more youth reviews, go to kidsfirst dot org.