The Good Dinosaur: A review


Published: 28 November 2015 (GMT+10)

According to the evolutionary account (one of them anyway), the dinosaurs went extinct when an asteroid hit the earth 65 million years ago. But what if it had missed? This is the premise behind Disney Pixar’s latest film, The Good Dinosaur. And the answer is, apparently, that they would become Americans in the Wild West, complete with farmers, ranchers, and all the villains one would expect in such a setting. Oh, and humans are the coyotes.

Millions of years (MOY) after the ‘near-miss’ with the asteroid, Arlo the Apatosaurus has a problem: namely a ‘critter’ that keeps stealing from his family’s precious corn storage (yes, the dinosaurs figured out how to cultivate corn!). A mishap which occurs while he’s trying to kill the pest leaves him far from home and trying to get back. But to get back he will need help from his new friend, Spot the boy. As his canine name would suggest, in this alternate timeline, humans basically fill the wolf ecological niche, and even his mannerisms are decidedly doggy, which is played for laughs throughout the film. However, the movie could not completely erase the uniqueness of humanity, as they are the only species in the movie that wears clothes. Spot is clad in a leafy loincloth (and given that he has a knock-down drag out battle with a serpent-like creature at one point, one wonders whether the biblical imagery was intentional!).

Drawing from Midwest US scenery, they could not erase geological evidence of the Flood.

Drawing from Midwest US scenery, they also could not erase geological evidence of the Flood, as several of the striking geological landmarks shown in the film have clear sedimentary strata that could have only been laid down by vast amounts of fast-moving water.

Evolutionary premises

Millions of years is literally central to the movie’s plot: if we rewind history millions of years and tweak the comet’s path, what changes? And then fast-forward millions of years to see the results. Of course, this is part of the constant barrage of references to MOY timescales that cumulatively indoctrinate people into disbelieving the Bible’s history.

Childhood is precisely the stage where so many images are internalized and worldviews are being built.

But only slightly more subtle is: to the evolutionist, there was nothing ‘necessary’ about the appearance of humanity in our current form; we simply got a lucky (from our point of view) hand of cards. If we reshuffled the deck, we would come up with vastly different results, for instance, T. Rexes that herd longhorns (yes, the dinosaurs also figured out animal husbandry!) and compare battle scars over the campfire.

The dinosaur-to-bird evolution idea made a nearly-obligatory appearance in the form of feathery raptors, and in slightly more lizard-like chickens (which for some reason were being raised by the vegetarian Apatosaurs!). But in another scene, there were modern-looking birds, so one wonders whether this was thought out.

But the most subtle evolutionary idea of all is that dinosaurs and man never lived together. In fact, according to the Bible’s history, dinosaurs and man were created on the same day, Day 6 of Creation Week (plesiosaurs and pterosaurs, extinct flying and swimming reptiles similar to dinosaurs, would have been created on Day 5). In fact, there are written accounts and artistic representations of creatures called ‘dragons’ that roughly fit what we would call dinosaurs.

“It’s just a kids’ movie”?

There can be a tendency to wonder whether it is ‘worth it’ to critique movies that are obviously aimed at a children’s audience and not necessarily aiming for scientific accuracy. But childhood is precisely the stage where so many images are internalized and worldviews are being built. This isn’t to say that one shouldn’t see the movie, necessarily. Rather, one should be deliberate in one’s decision whether or not to view it and allow one’s children to do so. It might be an interesting discussion starter about worldview, timescale, and creation!

Helpful Resources

Dinosaurs by Design
by Duane T Gish
US $16.00
Hard Cover
US $10.00

Readers’ comments

Daniel P.
I think that one impression that secularized children (and adults) get from a uniformitarian, eons-long model of origins is that its claimed gradual processes are a kind of gentle giant. This impression would fit with this movie. But this movie has one most striking element that does not fit the long-ages evolutionary model. The biological evolution aspect of that model is impersonally cruel, but this movie's message is that kindness, not biological fitness, is the primary virtue. So this movie cannot help but contradict its own naturalistic assumptions. God's truth is everywhere. This movie's creators believe they are being consistent with their own commitments to a naturalistic view of origins. But those who are committed to strictly following the logic of atheistic naturalism (led by such modern 'saviors' as Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Kim Jung il) would never make any work of fiction that singularly values kindness in how to live.
DonL L.
Christians should recognize that this is evolutionary mythology and not consider it to be seriously factual. It is only good to provide an understanding of those who are Godless and the lengths they will go to, to promulgate their rhetoric against God. We should be ready to refute with Biblical true the lies of evolution.
The Bible clearly shows that dinosaurs and people lived together. The history of creation in Genesis and the book of Job show this and reveal that before the flood all animals and mankind were vegetarian - so no carnivorous dinosaurs.
There also much evidence in archeology, such as, man and dinosaur foot steps in one another, the egg shaped rocks from south america with carvings of dinosaurs on them in great detail and cave drawings of man and dinosaurs together, etc. The millions of years, ice ages, and cycles of ages are from ancient religions not from scientific discovery. Evolution is derived from the imagination of those who have first rejected God See Rom 1:18-23 - Man having rejected God replaces God the creator with the creation - A spiritual, rational beginning with a material irrational beginning all to try to escape responsibility to God and all to no avail. God in the end will prevail as will those who trust in Him.
Sandra C.
Paula: The admission that you somehow made the Bible and Evolution compatible explains why you are no longer a Christian. The Bible is a pretty valuable "fable" in that it is the origin of all sorts of scientific breakthroughs over the centuries (1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics, circuits in the seas, starrs emitting sounds, spherical shape of Earth, and hundreds more) and nothing in the bible has ever been contradicted by archaeological evidence. I would suspect that you were not really a Christian but a "churchgoer". If you were filled with the Holy Spirit there is no way you would ever think the Creator of the Universe is so stupid He would use millions of years of death to finally GET IT RIGHT ---let alone want to worship such a horrid being. No, the Creator of the Universe is Jesus and He is smart and compassionate enough to get it right the FIRST time. And one other little tidbit of info you must have overlooked...if Evolution is true why did evolutionist scientist Mary Schweitzer find pliable bone marrow tissue in a dinosaur back in the late 90's (and I think another case of this was found in the past few months as well). Why do biblical prinicples (like free markets and private property) always work better than evolutionist/athiestic principles like socialism and communism?
ray F.
Thanks for publishing Paula M's comment...its a great example of the religious "don't bother me with the facts" point of view. It amazes me how immune to Truth some are. From Piltdown, to gill slits, simple cells, horse toes, punctuated equilibrium, C14 in diamonds, non-permineralized fossils, t-rex soft tissue and now, mtDNA genetic clocks ([link deleted per feedback rules])...the amount of faith these believers have is truly remarkable!
Don R.
In Romans 1:25 ...(Corruptible man) exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator... then in Romans 12:2b (truth or lie) it says you must prove (for yourself) what is that good and acceptable will of God. I say that Christians and Evolutionist must prove for themselves the MOY theory or not...
Paula M.
This comment won't make it past the screening process.

Funny how people accept science in all other things when it's convenient and ignore oodles of evidence for this one branch. I was a Christian AND I accepted evolution as science for decades. It scares people that it could be right because it makes the bible a fable. Sorry, there were no Adam and Eve.
Lita Cosner
Paula, your prediction was wrong! However, we do not ignore evidence; we interpret it in light of our worldview, just like you do. The key difference is that we understand that this is what we're doing. And your comment perfectly illustrates why many Christians do not accept evolution. We understand that evolution is fundamentally incompatible with the Bible's account of creation and the origin of humanity.
Steven T.
Technically (and you should notice this, only a couple of days after posting an article on the varieties of creationism), there are (at least on your account) no strictly evolutionary ideas in the movie; it is entirely consistent (except for one point, noted below) consistent with old-earth creationism.

From an evolutionary standpoint, one would expect (as indeed you almost note) that the dinosaurs of 65 million years ago would have gone extinct or evolved into new "kinds," at least as distinct from their Cretaceous ancestors as, e.g. modern elephants are from gomphotheres. And even if dinosaurian survival did not prevent the evolution of 150-pound mammals entirely, the vastly altered world (with its vastly altered selection pressures) would probably have pushed primate evolution in very different directions, so nothing like human beings would have evolved.

And in any case, it would be hard for Apatosaurus to survive the end-Cretaceous impact if (per old-earth timelines) it went extinct 75 million years earlier, at the end of the Jurassic. So the movie, as described, is definitely old-earth, but not really evolutionary.

Oh, and I assume the intelligent Apatosaurs raised (one hopes, non-sapient) chickens to sell to the intelligent tyrannosaurs, in hopes of becoming trade partners rather than dinner.
Lita Cosner
I disagree. For one thing, the dinosaurs in the movie clearly evolved new social traits (including the concept of nuclear family). The carnivorous dinosaurs evolved the concept of some animals not being food. Several different species evolved language, for goodness' sake.

Also, the humans came from somewhere in the movie, and I doubt the directors had old-earth-creation in mind.
Daniel P.
gets me wondering about Bill Nye's views of an even non-informed childhood in terms of any and all views of what 'science' says about anything geological and biological. What would be the result for people who learned of the debate only beginning when they are 21. Prior to 21 they can learn all matters of science that do not directly say anything about origins. And until 21, they are prevented from any access to, or exposure to, the world of media that says anything about origins or expresses anything about it.

So at 21 they can actually begin without any preconceived notions, from any side, as to what anyone thinks about origins.

Not ideal, I know. Impossible besides. But if it has any merit as thought experiment, then I think Nye would have to admit to being less-than-objective. He wants the evidence to say what he already believes, since God and science 'don't go together'.

Of course, we could, in theory, leave God out of it, at least for the easy stuff like geology, and just look at that and the various physical theories to explain it. For me, that's the best place to start, as it seems to be the most easily explored, and even is that by which, I gather, Noah and Shem had access for a witness. Psalm 29.
Lita Cosner
Leaving origins out of it wouldn't work, and it would be horrifying to try. Trying to be neutral would, in effect, lead to a godless upbringing.
Marita V.
It is absolutely worth it to critique children's movies. E.g. the movie "The Croods". There is also the new book Grandmother Fish by Jonathan Tweet that teaches 3-7 year olds that our ancestors were fish. "P.Z. Myers, an ardent atheist and outspoken evolutionist, praised Tweet’s book as “a great idea” that will make kids believe evolution from an early age. “Get ’em young,” he wrote on his blog. - See more at: [link deleted per feedback rules]

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.