Archive for the ‘ Animation ’ Category

Monster’s University

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It has been Mike Wizowski’s dream since first grade to be a scarer. Finally, he has made it to Monster’s University. the Ivy League school in scaring careers. When he gets to the class though, he find monsters much scarier than himself. One in particular names James P. Sullivan.

Sullivan is a famous name in the scaring world, and James is pretty sure becoming drafted for a scarer is a walk in the park. Mike however, is determined not to be sent home. The study begins. Mike spends the time reading books and doing all kinds of prep. Sully Spends it attending parties.

When the day of the exam comes, each are prepared in their own way. But do they have enough to be one of the best scarer’s of the class?

Things I Liked

After 12 long years, the greatly anticipated sequel for Monster’s Inc. has been released. It is great to see some well known characters, albeit in a younger fashion. Of course, the two main characters are Mike and Sully. Mike is a nerd and Sully is the cool guy on the block. We know theses guys are best friends, and this movie tells the story of how that happens.

Mike is the cliche perfect student. He gets straight A’s, is super friendly (though no one like him much), and even has a retainer to boot. Mike’s work ethic is something to be commended. We see him study and put his whole self into whatever it is. That can be a book, a game, or a competition. There is no halfway for the passionate Wizowski. Something we definitely can learn from.

Sully is the opposite of Mike. He is big, scary, a cool guy, and lives life with the entitlement of the last name he carries. His father was a famous scarer, and he thinks that is enough to get him to work for Monster’s Inc. He doesn’t study but instead parties. He hangs out with the cool kids at the expense of other Monster’s feelings getting hurt. What he learns however is- a last name does not a good monster make. We see him learn, often the hard way, that if you want something in life, then you have to work for it. Cheating, partying, and degrading others will get you places in the short term, but that’s it.

These two guys start off on the wrong foot, and generally go through the whole movie fighting each other for the position of scarer. Mike has the wits, Sully has the brawn. They learn through some bad choices they make (which get them trapped again in the human world) that both of them are imperfect, and both have specific strengths. They learn what being a “team” means, and is is quite cool to watch how that happens.

There is no profanity nor is God’s name taken in vain.

As always, Pixar dazzles you with bright colors, creative creatures, and a charming screenplay in terms of humor, story, and characters. This Prequel tips it’s hat to many things in the first movie. It tells why Randall hates Sullivan so much. It shows characters we know from the past like Roz. It explains how the doors work and are made. And more. It is a very well thought through and developed film, and very enjoyable to watch.

Things I didn’t Like

Perhaps the scene I have the most issue with, occurs when the Scare games are taking place. The Scare games are a series of challenges designed for competition among groups in the University. After a particularly hard loss, Mike breaks his team into private property for Monster’s Inc. After they are inspired, they get caught, and they race out of the property and get away. There is no consequences for this action, nor is it even implied that it  was wrong.

This movie is full of slapstick humor and scaring (of course). Monsters are pricked with urchin-like objects and swell to immense size. They get thrown out of a building, run over by a cleaning machine, and are spanked with wooden paddles. In order to return to the monster world, Mike and Sully have to scare people. They way they do this can be frightening for younger children- so bear that in mind.

Other minimal things include a pretty cruel prank pulled on Mike’s team at a sorority party. There are some awkward comments about a guy telling a college student who is marrying his mother “Just view me like an older brother married to your mother. Wait- No…

Closing Thoughts

“You aren’t scary Mike, but you are fearless.” ~James Sullivan~

Unlike so many other movies, Mike is not happy being good. He wants to be great. He wants to succeed and is passionate in working to that goal. What he finds though, is he is not cut out to be a scarer. Through the whole movie we see him trying to be someone he is not. And the results on a personal level, are devastating. To often we hear the phrase “You can do anything if you believe in yourself.” in modern society. This is incredibly false. There are some things people can’t do which others can. We are designed to do specific things. Mike believed with all his heart he could be a scarer, but when push came to shove- he couldn’t do it. We can’t do things which we weren’t designed to do, and this movie shows that incredibly well.

In the Monster World, scarers are the equivalent of our sports and hollywood stars. They are elite and worshiped by many. Scarers are put on immense pedestals of importance. And if you aren’t scary, well, you’re worthless. This film shows that just because you aren’t “famous”, doesn’t mean you are worthless. We see Mike, after not being a scarer, choose to excel in “menial” jobs, and he is rewarded for it. It was a perfect example of being faithful in the little things, because they are just as important as the big things.

While not quite topping the original Monster’s Inc. , Monster’s University is a more than adequate prequel and welcome addition to the monster world pixar has created. Monster’s University has everything we’ve come to expect in a Pixar film- A touching story, some great laughs, and memorable characters. Solid values and minimal potty humor make this one I’ll not only be recommending to others, but adding it to my collection.  We don’t need to be scared of this film- it definitely passed the test.

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Everyone’s Hero

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Yankee Irving has always wanted to make the big hit. The swing that wins the game. The run that will make him a hero. Sadly however, on a sandlot with kids twice his age, that chance doesn’t come often. Then when it does, he fails. Miserably.

Depressed more than usual one night, his dad decides to show him Babe Ruth’s bat. The legendary “Darlin’ “. Yankee adores Babe Ruth, and loves the opportunity to view it. The next day, it is found the bat is stolen, and his dad is fired because of it. With some deductive skills and some baseball cards, Yankee figures out that the opposing team’s pitcher- Lefty MacGinnis stole the bat to keep the Yankees from winning the world series.

No one believes him however, so he sets off to recover the bat himself and get his dad’s job back. With the help of a wisecracking baseball, he finds his way to the thief. But when the time comes to step up to the plate and save his dad’s job, will he make that hit he has dreamed of? Or strike out like he always has before?

Things I Liked

Yankee is a young boy with whom many people can relate. He wants to make the big play and help his team, but he always winds up hurting them instead. Through the movie we see him over and over fail in his attempts to help others. We see however, failure isn’t permanent, and shouldn’t put you down. Yankee learns this from his parents and several others along his path of rescuing Darlin’. Yankee’s motivation in this movie is not fame, glamour, or riches… It is simply to get his dad’s job back by finding the stolen bat. He loves his parents, and goes across the US to help them.

Speaking of parents, Yankee’s are quite a commendable mother and father. This family isn’t broken, divorced, or angry. It is a simple one where the mom encourages and the dad teaches. Yankee loves them immensely and is respectful. He obeys and takes a punishment even though he knows he did nothing wrong. It is a great lesson and example to young kids regarding submission to those in authority over you. That they aren’t always right, but we should obey them anyway.

Many people are encouragers in this movie. Older folks teach and encourage Yankee to continue doing what he is doing. A girl gives him support when some bullies come around to give Yankee trouble. Even Yankee gives encouragement and hope to Screwy the baseball and Darlin’. When Yankee meets Babe Ruth, we see Babe also support and encourage Yankee in actions which some say are ridiculous. The power of sweet words is shown all throughout the movie.

Things I Didn’t Like

While this movie is mostly clean, there is a bit of crude humour and violence to be aware of. Lefty gets beaten up quite a bit via comic style violence. He is shocked with lightning, takes a couple crotch shots, slams into poles, chokes on a clothesline, and get run over by a train (not shown). He makes it out every-time with some bruising and dirt on his face.

Screwy makes some crude jokes about beans and the underwear drawer. There isn’t any profanity, but rude words are used occasionally such moron, jerk, butt, name calling, etc. Lefty has a “booger ball” as one of his pitches, which he blows his nose on the baseball. We see Screwy covered in snot.

Yankee runs away from home to rescue Darlin’ and leaves a note explaining where he has gone. This opens up good opportunities to discuss with kids why/if they would run away from home. It should be noted this is something which is not encouraged, but justified in the movie.

Closing thoughts

 “You can be the smallest, you can be the weakest, you can be the worst player on the field, but when people tell you you’re no good, and say you should give it up, you know what you do? You just keep on swinging.”

Everyone’s hero is a film with a message of perseverance and endurance of character. We see the message of never giving up. Unlike other films though, which focus on a single hero making it, for the most part, on his own. This movie takes a refreshing turn and demonstrates just how important encouragement and mentoring is for a young person’s success. Without the dozens of people involved in helping Yankee in his trek, he would have given up a long time ago.

Kids too, can benefit from watching this movie in seeing a kid they can relate to submitting to those above him, and wanting to help his family. Then, seeing the reward which comes from doing the right thing… Even when it is hard.

This movie isn’t as well animated as Pixar films, it isn’t as funny, it isn’t as compelling either. However, it tells an exceptionally clean and rewarding story about a boy and his desire to serve others. It is because of that story, that Everyone’s hero is indeed a Home Run. A movie which the entire family can enjoy, and everyone- adults included, can learn from.

Monster’s University

monsters_university_ver2The lovable monsters of Monsters Inc have once more invited us to come along with them on a journey, only this time, it’s down memory lane…. And their college experience.

Mike has always dreamed of being a scarer. He can give you every fact and every scary pose in the book. However, he has a problem. He’s not really…. Well… scary. Enter James P. Sullivan, or Sully as we best know him. Sully can scare. In fact, he was born with the ability what with being the son of one of the most famous scarers ever. His problem, though, is that he’s not book smart, and he’s got no self confidence—or at least not the kind of self confidence.

Both of these monsters want to be the best, so when they stumble into one another, it’s a full out war, a war which lands them outside of the scaring program. That is until they get a chance at redemption. The scare games.

There’s just one problem… They have to work together. And if that weren’t a big enough hurdle, they have to work together with the geeks of the Oozma Kappa Fraternity.

Positive Elements

Monster’s University has two themes at the heart of its film. The first is one which every generation is in need of, especially our current one: you do not have to succumb to the expectation of others based on your size, skin color, illnesses, or, as we see in this movie, scariness.

Throughout history we have great examples of men who rose out of horrific circumstances or illness and defied what others said they would do/amount to (coughpresidentTeddyRooseveltcoughIsaacNewtoncoughEinsteincough). Now that theme is being delivered in a movie that is very kid-friendly and can resonate with a much younger audience than Einstein normally attracts.

The second prominent theme in this film is the gift of friendship and how much easier our goals are when someone’s got our back.
But perhaps my favorite part of the movie was the end, when we see our heroes own up to their wrong doings and face the consequences of their actions. And then, instead of seeing them defeated, we see them once more team up and start from the ground in order to work their way to being the Monsters we first fell in love with in MI.

Negative Elements

Dangit and son of a gun is the worst language that you will have in this movie, and the most sexualized content is when Sully’s hand falls into Mike’s face while he is sleeping and he proceeds to kiss it.

As for violence, it’s mostly slapstick, cartoony violence that doesn’t really result in anyone being truly harmed. Monster’s get thrown from a building into water, Mike accidentally runs students over with a buffer, and glowing spiky urchin looking things cause several students participating in the Scare Games to swell up as a type of allergic reaction.

The only other negative elements is Mike and Sully’s initiation ceremony (which some people might not appreciate but is done for the sake of humor), the red cups in the college party scenes (It isn’t portrayed as alcohol, but it is a college party, so some parents won’t appreciate that), some characters break into MI for a look at things and when the police come one of the group shouts that he can’t go back to jail, there is the typical college fraternity bullying issues, and obviously there are several scenes with monster’s scaring kids.

However it should be noted that all of these elements are very soft elements and as child friendly as possible.

Conclusion

I adored Monster’s Inc! It made it on my favorite’s list, actually. So when MU hit theaters, I had to go! And I wasn’t unhappy when I left the theaters.

My best friend laughed multiple times beside me in the theater, and I enjoyed watching the movie. However, it didn’t measure up to Monster’s Inc, in my opinion. As I said, it wasn’t that the movie was bad. I enjoyed it, and it had some good points. Plus, I like finding out all the back-story, so that was an added bonus. But, Monster’s Inc had a strong story line that was original and amazing. Monster’s University was not as original, nor as stunning from a writing standpoint.

However, I would recommend the movie to anyone who didn’t have an issue with watching Monster’s Inc. The movie is more about friendship and not letting the world define you than it is about scaring and college life, and that is something that is good for us in any kind of dosage, no matter how potent or mild.

Epic

epic_ver10M.K. hasn’t seen her dad in a long time. But at her dying mother’s request she promised to go back and try to patch things up with the tiny-kingdom-of-small-people-who-live-in-the-forest obsessed father. His obsession is actually what drove her mom away, and M.K. isn’t too sure she’s going to be sticking around long after making an effort with her dad. Especially after she gets to his house and assesses the situation.

Things don’t go the way M.K. was hoping.

Her dad is still crazy, and he’s still talking about tiny people in the forest that ride on hummingbird backs. She tried. Now she’s done. After all, she’s old enough to be out on her own. So, she grabs her recently deposited stuff and heads for the door only to be sidetracked by the escaping three-legged dog from her childhood and escapes to find him.

What she finds instead is wounded creature. A tiny wounded creature. One very much like the little people her dad babbles on about. And before she knows it the little creature tosses her a glowing flower pod. Without thinking M.K. catches it. Then she begins to shrink.

Positive Elements

Despite the fractured family element in the beginning of the movie, Epic has a lot of family tie themes running through it. Between Ronin taking in the son of his fallen comrade and friend to raise as his own, and M.K.’s journey to reconciling with her father, the very core of the film is about family, despite the fact that the family relations of both groups are strained at times.

Several characters are willing to put their lives on the line for others. In fact, Being upright, heroic and self-sacrificial for the sake of one and all is encouraged, especially with the leafman mantra we hear over and over again, “Many leaves, one tree. We’re all individuals, but we’re still connected.”

There is also a very obvious good vrs evil struggle in the film. The leafmen are good. They are heroic. They are protectors. The Boggans are evil. They destroy. They love darkness and decay.

Negative Elements

To be honest, this movie is one of the cleanest animated pictures I have seen in a long time. There is no sexual content. No language (besides an occasional jerk or idiot comment). No alcohol content. The multiple combat scenes are rather child-friendly—all in all this movie was as clean as they come, content wise. The only objection some parents will have is the magical element.

Queen Tara is a kind of Mother Nature figure. She, essentially, keeps the forest alive and thriving. Contrasted by that is the evil Mandrake (we’re not sure what exactly this creep is) who causes anything he touches to wither and die. There is a contestant struggle between their magic in the film, but while they both have magical elements, the magic element of the movie takes a backseat to the story, for the most part.

Conclusion

This movie is without doubt a tale of good struggling to conquer evil. It’s cute, has some hilarious characters, and is beautiful from an animation standpoint. The colors are vibrant, the characters are likable, and the themes are timeless. Epic may not have been… epic, but it was enjoyable in so many ways and did exactly what I hoped it would. Take me on a fun ride.

The Croods

the_croods_movie-wideIt’s not easy being a Crood. With your neighbors killed by wild beasts, food scarce, and the climate rather inhospitable, there is a reason you value your home so much, even if it is just a cave. There’s just one problem. The world is coming apart at the seams, the Pangea seams that is, and the Croods are right on top of those places where the continents decide to come apart. Soon their entire world is rocked to the core. Their cave is destroyed, their land crumbled to bits, and Grug (Mr. Crood) is responsible for finding his family a new home.

This is easier said than done. Not only does he have to protect his family, but he has a curious daughter (Eep) who is itching for something new. New things however, and curiosity, can get you killed. “Never not be afraid” that’s Grug’s motto, and it has kept his family alive and healthy in the past years. Now however there’s new territory, new animals, and a new guy (who’s name is… Guy) who all challenge his tried and true saying.

The world is coming apart, Eep is chasing this Guy who has these things called “ideas”. Somehow, someway, Grug has got to keep his family alive through it all.

Things I Liked

If this movie could have another working title, it would be called “Mr. Crood” because indeed, he is the focus of the movie. Grug embraces everything a father should be though, perhaps at times, a little to hard. He lives a life of sacrifice for his family by eating after everyone else, putting his life on the line every-time he leaves the cave, and is surprisingly open about how he is feeling. He is brave, loyal, and loving. We know without a doubt he would give anything to protect and provide for his family. Grug is not without his faults however, he worries constantly and rejects and sort of change. Just like all dads today, he has the right intentions, but is having trouble how to carry them out in this new land and trials.

Guy is a young man who has new ideas. Something Grug, nor any of his family have ever dreamed of, because of course, new is bad. Guy shares these ideas like fire, shoes, and sleds with the Grug family freely to help with their survival. Even though he has both his eyes on Eep, he does stick with and help the whole family, rather than running off with the young lass. It was great to see Guy attracted to Eep, but not abandoning the family and usurping Grug’s authority in that process.

We see both Guy and Grug have an emotionally raw and honest conversation. As opposite as the two are, both come to not only trust and learn from each other, but compliment each other as leaders of the same family. Speaking of which, the entire movie is about family. This family fights, just like all of us. They also persevere and look out for each other. Seeing a family, albeit a bit unorthodox, stick and work together as a unit was an additional theme I enjoyed.

In addition to having some solid family values, this movie is quite honestly very funny. Watching the Croods learn and experience new ideas such as fire, shoes, belts, and more was a great way to add humour into the film without detracting from the overall focus. This flick is also beautifully animated, rivaling Disney in epic landscapes and attention to detail.

Things I Didn’t Like

This movie clearly operates under the belief of evolutionary thinking. The Croods are cavemen, there are dozens of animals which would be classified as “missing links” in evolutionary circles. This movie presents without question a way the world could have been a couple million years ago. It is an underlying message that seems innocent, but can erode the shallow foundation of any child quite easily.

Eep is rebellious. Pure and simple. She doesn’t like the cave, or the rules, or the way things have always been the same. She wants more and disobeys her father, much like Ariel in the Little Mermaid, to find it. This puts herself and others at risk all the time. She also is rather aggressive in being with Guy. While he respects her father, she disregards Grug’s wishes consistently. In the end, there is resolution and both admit their faults, but this is not nearly as focused on as Eep’s seemingly justified quest to fulfill her curiosity above her father’s wishes. I asked a younger sibling of mine I took to see this movie what they thought of it. They said “It was kinda crazy and the dad was Mr. Worry and very mean.” I think it is worth noting that while Grug is completely selfless in all his actions, he is cast in a light which is dark. Then Eep, who is disobedient, is cast in the favorable light. This is something to be aware of.

Eep and Guy come very close to kissing in the movie, but never do. They do hug, touch, and generally stand extremely close to each other. There is a bit of crude humor, as we see Grug’s boxers the only thing left on his derrière after an extremely close encounter with a cat. All the characters in the movie are not very well or modestly dressed, granted it is an animated movie, but want to make sure you know all the same.

There is a lot of comic violence in the movie. While I did not mind this much, I want to be sure of inform you of the large amount of slapstick humour in the movie. The Croods continually hit each other with sticks, rocks, bones… pretty much anything they can find. They tumble, roll, slide, skid, are crushed, and bruised… yet come out just fine time after time. Much like the Tom and Jerry cartoons of the past, anything can happen to this family and they come out unharmed. That’s not to say however, the danger of death isn’t present. To the contrary, there are some quite intense moments of near death. Rocks and the earth tear apart, huge feral cats chase the Crood family, and casms reaching to the earth’s inner crust are present many times. Several times my younger sibling put their head on my arm because of the intensity of some earthquake scenes… Also something to bear in mind if taking a younger child to see this movie.

Closing Thoughts

“What is the purpose of staying alive if we can’t live?!?”

Eep asks this question when her father speaks of the importance of the cave, the place of safety. Indeed, staying alive offers very little motive when one is not allowed to live. See, everyone has their own individual purpose in this beginning of the film. Grug’s is to protect his family. Eep’s is to discover and explore. Guy’s is to innovate and come up with new ideas. All of these purposes we see create clashes in the family as far as relationships and pursuits.

Until that is, Guy introduces a new purpose. One called “Tomorrow” This tomorrow is filled with hope, promise of something better, and a continual pursuing of “the light”. This light for the Croods is the sun, and the promise of tomorrow the sun brings. Now, clearly any mention of God or Christ is lacking in this movie. That does not mean however, we cannot take a biblical truth from this movie and see it applied. Once the Croods, one by one, embrace this hope of tomorrow  they no longer act as cavemen, but as modern men, like Guy. They become new creatures, and through this much strife and conflict is resolved.

That’s where the value and true strength of this movie lies. Yes Grug is a commendable father figure in the end, yes there is self sacrifice, perseverance, and loyalty… But truly deep down, the movie adresses the issue of living. It makes the point it isn’t just enough to survive, we have to live. And the only way we can do that is through purpose. For the Crood’s it was hope in tomorrow. Which leads to an excellent question to ask any person who has thought about this movie… Where is your hope, and where is it leading you?

That’s what surprised me about this movie. It is more than just a funny family adventure (though it is for sure), it quest of purpose rooted in hope and faith. Without that hope, they would have failed. Without that faith, they would have remained afraid. I can honestly say this movie reminded me of the hope and faith I am to have in Christ, and if I don’t, just like the Croods,- how little I will accomplish in this world.

Mars Needs Moms

mars_needs_momsMoms. They tirelessly work to keep everything organized, taken care of, and ensure their children are well behaved. At least, that’s what they do on the surface, which is all Mars wants to know about. That’s right, I said Mars. See, unbeknownst to the people of earth, Martians have been watching our mothers for decades. And they are looking for one specific trait; the ability to keep order in her world and do it well.

Why, you might ask? Because, instead of their children being raised by a mother, the Martian children are raised by nannybots programmed from the memories and maternal instincts of an earth mother. It’s actually quite simple to do, if you’re okay with sacrificing her in order to get those memories programmed into your nannybots. The downside for the Martians, though, is that the programming only lasts so long before the nannybots fry and they need a new breed of mother.

Enter Milo’s mom. She’s really good at what she does, despite the fact that Milo gets tire of having her rag on him to take out the trash, eat his broccoli, go to bed- you get the picture. So, in a moment of passion, Milo tells his mom that his life would be better off without her. The problem with that, though, is that he doesn’t really believe it. So when the Martians come to abduct his mother as the perfect new programming device for their hatchlings, Milo’s not going to take it lying down, so to speak. No one’s going to take his mom. She’s his mom, after all!

But Mars is a treacherous place, and he’s going to have to convince Gribble, a fellow human who has been stranded on Mars ever since his mom was abducted and killed in a similar situation 20 years ago, to help him, and maybe even change the way the aliens view families and mothers.

Positive Elements

While the movie starts out with a kid who is very much like any other kid- he whines, he doesn’t do what he’s told, and he’s disrespectful as all children are- we soon find out that Milo has something special. He has a mom who loves him, and he’s not going to let that go. So Milo begins smashing through the multilevel underground city of Mars in an effort to save her, even going so far as to put his own life on the line for her by jumping in from of a laser blast for her.

Central to the theme of the movie is the importance of a loving family (shockingly enough we see that Milo is very close to his father, completing the well rounded, and loving nature of his homelife), specifically targeting the mom in this instance. As Milo lists the thing his mother selflessly does for him, while trying to describe to some of the aliens what a mother is—she cooks, cleans, gives hugs and kisses, tucks him in at night—he comes to the realization that all these things she does, she does because she loves him.

As for Milo’s mother, we hear about how much she loves Milo, and all the thing she does for him, but we see that on best display when, while attempting to rescue her, Milo’s oxygen helmet shatters (we see him begin to gasp for air) and his mother removes her own lifeline, the oxygen helmet, in an effort to save her son. Going so far as to break off the toggle that would allow him to take it off his head and give it back to her. She is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to see her son live.

Negative Elements

The family structure on Mars is messed up. The male Martians have been driven to the waste disposal sections of Mars’ underground society, speaking quite clearly about how the females have been raised to view them. The babies are raised by nannybots without love or warmth, and they are all ruled by the Supervisor. However, while this system is certainly messed up, it is never lauded as a good thing.

The violence is minimized to laser beams bouncing all over the place, so there is nothing to worry about there, but we certainly have some intense moments in the film. As stated above, we see first Milo begin to suffocate, and then his mother, producing a scene that had my own Mother’s water works going. We learn of Gribble’s tragic past, and see him trying to save his mom, only to watch her be vaporized (offscreen).

The worst thing you will hear in this movie is some mild name calling consisting of words like dummy and jerk, and a couple explanations of nuts.

Also worth noting is some mild bathroom humor. The cat vomits after eating broccoli (which Milo was supposed to eat), Gribble needs a new pair of underwear after a laser is shot near his feet, and the childlike romance between Gribble and Ki make his robotic dog vomit nuts and bolts.

Conclusion

The animation is incredible, done in the performance-capture technology (think, a Christmas Carol), and the voice choices were spot on. I was entertained early on, despite thinking the plot of the story sounded really out there, and I connected with the story emotionally, especially when we see the sacrifice Milo’s mother is willing to make.

Honestly, the worst thing that can be said about this movie is what I just said. The premise was really weird! But, once you get into it, it is amazing how okay you are with the premise. Even my Daddy, who is rather hard to sell on such things, liked the movie, and didn’t care about the odd premise, in the end.

But best of all, moms are never made light of in the film. They are placed on a seat of honor. The message shines clearly. Families are essential, and we couldn’t live without moms.

Dinosaur

dinosaurWhat happens when a lemur family raises a three-ton iguanodon? A whole lot of unusual, that’s what. But unusual, as we see in this movie, isn’t really a bad thing.

When a meteor shower destroys the home in which Aladar and his family live, they are forced to swim back to the mainland and join up with Aladar’s kind. The dinosaurs. But not everyone is as kind hearted and noble as Aladar. With carnivores trailing the herd, and the aggressive leader of the herd, Kron, breathing down his neck, Aladar has to learn how to maintain the values he has been raised with in a world where survival of the fittest is the reigning mentality.

Positive Elements

This movie, while it may be about dinosaurs who roamed the earth millions of years ago, a la Land Before Time style, is a gold mine full of little nuggets of positivity and timeless truths. And the common thread between all the positive elements of this movie are connected together by one individual. Aladar.

The movie opens up with a newly hatched Aladar already challenging people’s mindset as his soon to be grandfather (a lemur) has to over prejudice, choosing to show the possible flesh eater compassion instead of disposing of him, and this scene sets the tone for not only the movie, but Aladar and his unusual family, as well. Along every step of the journey, Aladar is there spurring others on and giving encouragement. While Kron spurns the old and weak, Aladar gives them value, caring for the older, more “disabled” herd members whose inability to keep pace would make them lunch for the voracious “Carnotaurs.”

Bruton, who initially looks down on Aladar for his selflessness and care of others, is eventually moved by not only Aladar’s kindness, but the kindness and love of his unusual family. Bruton sees a mindset he has never been exposed to before. The mindest of love and community. In the end, he is willing to make incredible sacrifices for those who showed him kindness.
There are many themes in this movie; one of the themes depicted is that of teamwork. We see Aladar teach a pair of young iguanodons to work together, which is then magnified on a much larger scale when Aladar challenges the herd to stand together and stop thinking with the mindset of every man-er… dinosaur, for themselves. It is during this scene that Kron makes a fatal mistake, and yet we still see Aladar rush to his nemesis’ aid.

But perhaps the most poignant theme for me wasn’t the message of persist and persevere, but rather, I loved the closeness of Aladar’s family, and the fact that they really were the reason Aladar was the kind of heroic creature he was. All of those traits were first imparted to him and his 2 siblings by his grandfather and mother. He, like the others around him, was a product of his environment- his positive environment.

Negative Elements

No language, no drugs, no alcohol, and no crude humor (unless you count the urinating baby iguanodon crude humor). The only possible issues that can be found with this movie are 1.) the minor sexual content, or 2.) the fact that, at its core the movie does come from an evolutionary mindset, despite the fact that the themes of the movie debunk the evolutionary mentality of survival of the fittest.

The sexual content, however, is very mild. Zinni (Aladar’s mangy looking brother) is a bit female crazed, and refers to himself as the love monkey, even though he has yet to find a mate. This same older brother tries to give Aladar pick up lines when he meets Neera, Kron’s sister, which don’t go over so well. In addition, we see the lemurs participating in a mating ritual (basically they leap around from vine to vine) early on, and we hear some mating advice given by the elders. It’s all very tame, however.

Violence is low key, but should be noted. We see dinosaur eggs crushed, meat eaters happily devour their prey (there is crunching heard some of the time, but everything is out of frame), raptors pick clean a carcass, and various characters pit themselves against another in a fight for dominance. Having watched the movie with multiple different children, I can safely say that the violence is not at all overwhelming.

Conclusion

The effects are great and the message solid. It’s an older movie with supporting characters that could have been fleshed out a bit more, but whose main character is much to be emulated. I loved this movie as a child and, having recently rewatched it as an adult, I can still say with satisfaction that I truly enjoyed this movie.