For the past three weeks, The Peanuts Movie has had a monopoly on the in-theater family movie market. Its first and only contender was released for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend: Disney Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, which proved to be a good choice for families this weekend, as it was the second-highest grossing film. However, which film is the better choice for families to go see? Which has the superior animation? Which has the superior message?
First off, the animation in each film is very different. The Peanuts Movie boasts a modern yet nostalgic animation style. The film uses the modern 3-D style of computer animation to make the characters and backgrounds appear as a comic strip come to life, adding to the feeling of nostalgia. Since the Peanuts characters were first seen in a comic strip, it is only fitting to give the new film the same treatment. The animation includes speech bubbles with graphics that look hand-drawn. There are also the familiar comic graphics that indicate movement and action.
Meanwhile, The Good Dinosaur only uses the modern approach to animation, which is Pixar’s forte. Since Pixar’s inception, the company has been pushing the limit of computer animation to soar to new heights. Their animation gets better with each new film they release, with The Good Dinosaur being the best yet. The animation is compelling because the landscapes appear as real places that were filmed beforehand and had characters added in with CGI. I was so blown away with the scenery that I had to do some research into whether it was animated or real photography. Since the breathtaking landscapes are in fact animated, The Good Dinosaur wins in the animation category.
At the same time, the stories of each film differ and cater more to adults. The Peanuts Movie follows the beloved original characters in a new adventure. Charlie Brown wants to impress the new girl in class, while Snoopy and Woodstock are up to their usual antics pretending to fight the Red Baron. The story is very easy to follow, which is great for children. The adults get to enjoy the humor of the dialogue and the throwbacks to each of the previous Peanuts television specials. The film is a light-hearted, family comedy that is easy to enjoy.
However, The Good Dinosaur is the exact opposite. It is one of the few Pixar films to be a drama instead of a comedy. The story follows young dinosaur Arlo as he tries to find his way back home after getting lost in a storm. The story is more complex and very emotional, which is typical for Pixar. Atypically, there is not a lot of dialogue and the film relies heavily on the actions of the characters to tell the story. The Good Dinosaur is quite similar to The Lion King, but The Peanuts Movie has the edge on an easily understood story.
Finally, the messages in each film have similarities. Charlie Brown’s personal journey is meant to show both adults and children that they should accept everyone for who they are and that everyone is special in their own way. The message is transparent and should easily be received by children.
Arlo’s journey has the same message, but the story is more about survival and not giving up. The real message is that everyone can overcome their fears to find their inner courage. This message is more than likely lost on any child watching the film. The message is complex and is harder for children to identify with due to the lack of dialogue. The weird part is that it felt like the message was supposed to enlighten children, but film is more adult-friendly.
Overall, the better family film is definitely The Peanuts Movie. It has something for all ages to enjoy and is slightly more entertaining. The Good Dinosaur is certainly not the best Pixar film, but if you enjoy an animated feature with a bit more depth, then this is the film for you. Both films are very good in their own ways, which makes both very recommendable.
The Good Dinasour
Opening Date: November 25th 2015
Domestic Total as of Dec. 1, 2015:
The Peanuts Movie
Opening Date: November 6th 2015
Domestic Total as of Dec. 1, 2015: