A good rule of thumb when making kidcentric animated movies is this: When in doubt – dinosaurs!
The latest Pixar movie from Disney, Peter Sohn’s “The Good Dinosaur," is fairly tame by the most inventive of Pixar standards. The script is more functional than funny, and the animation, while adept, is not altogether memorable.
Still, this fantasy about an apatosaurus named Arlo who must find (and fight) his way back to his family plays a bit like “The Odyssey” for tykes. Along the way he befriends a “critter” sidekick, the little cave boy Spot, who steals the show whenever he’s center stage, which is not often enough. Celebrity voices include Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, and Steve Zahn, but the only one you’ll likely identify without prompting is Sam Elliott as a big (I think) T. rex. I didn’t know southwestern accents were prevalent in prehistory. Grade: B (Rated PG for peril, action, and thematic elements.)