WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS.
The Good Dinosaur, while not as critically well-received as Inside Out, has still received a generally positive response from critics and audiences. The film, which was released last week, currently holds an "A" rating on Cinemascore as well as a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus being that it is a predictable yet pleasing adventure for people of all ages. On the other hand, not everyone was pleased by it.
- British newspaper The Daily Mail recently reported that Pixar's newest film is facing social media backlash from parents. Several parents claimed that their children were left "in tears" from the film's violent scenes, as well as its depiction of death.
A scene where the main characters Spot and Arlo hallucinate after eating fermented berries didn't sit well with parents either.
Such comments include these on Twitter:
NFL Journalist Rich Eisen even tweeted:
On Common Sense Media, a content-advisory website targeted to parents, several more parents were disappointed in the film's perceived inappropriate content.
The following are quotes from user reviews on Common Sense Media:
My 6-year-old said "Well at least someone didn't die, " and then "Nope, I was wrong." There's lots of violence throughout the movie with various injuries, animals getting attacked and eaten, and near-drownings. My 5-year-old announced "This whole movie is terrifying." She was right!
Two of our children in our group were crying. When the main character was hallucinating from the fermented fruit, we decided to collect our belongings and head for the exit. What was Disney thinking? I will no longer trust Disney and blindly take my children to their movie without closely checking the movie plot first. Is there a hotline to request a refund for these tickets?
The movie is not bitter-sweet. Rather, it fixates on the tragic. It seems to almost revel in it. I didn't appreciate that. More importantly, neither did my 6-year-old (3 months shy of 7). You may want to think twice before taking younger kids to see this movie!
One has to wonder where these parents were when Mufasa was trampled to death in The Lion King, or when Littlefoot's mother died in The Land Before Time. What about when Pepe Le Pew attempted suicide in the short For Scent-imental Reasons? Why didn't those moments result in this much outrage? The answer is simple: online social media hadn't been invented yet.
It's easy to suggest that "parents these days" are too over-protective of their kids, and that kids are coddled way more than they should be. While there's no objective way to prove that suggestion, it's easy to see what would cause someone to think that.
We live in an age where the internet is used by people of all ages and social classes. It is quite simple for parents who are more sensitive than others to get on Twitter and slam Pixar for upsetting their children while the more passive parents move on with their days. Unfortunately, this results in more and more people (including the higher-ups in Hollywood) assuming that "kids movies" should be as tame and sanitized as possible to avoid offending an assumed vocal majority.
Couldn't you just see the same thing happening with The Land Before Time or An American Tale? If Twitter existed in the 80's, there would absolutely be droves of parents complaining about how dark the films are and how upset they made their children.
It is also entirely possible that our internet culture has led to people being more sensitive; as they are more exposed to real-life acts of violence, drugs and sexual activity, some parents may instinctively expect a "kids movie" to be an escape from reality and not expose their children to how harsh the real world is.
Ultimately though, this kind of coddling is honestly not best for the kids. So what if the kids cry during a movie? Exposing children to mature themes is an important part of growing up. Maybe some kid who lost his dad will be able to relate to Arlo's struggle to pick up the slack.
Sure, the film is pretty violent at times, but it is rated PG for a reason. Several websites like kidsinmind.com provide content descriptions that can help parents decide if they want their child seeing a certain movie or not. Parents who don't do the research and blame Pixar for their child being upset simply do not understand the importance of films like The Good Dinosaur.
Overall, parents should absolutely be more open-minded to exposing their kids to more mature "kids movies." The kid may come out of the theater in tears, but the potential life lessons he could learn should take a much higher priority than misguided outrage on the internet. And as for the "hallucination" scene, it's highly doubtful that kids are going to start looking for dealers because of a Pixar movie.