Three years after Brave, Pixar gets around to making a film that’s actually about bravery, aka the right response to fear. The setup: dinosaurs never went extinct; instead, they turned into people. That is, they became farmers who keep chickens and store up crops, and also cowboys who guard their herds from rustlers. Into this world comes knobby-kneed runt Arlo, a scrawny soul who spooks easy. Dad’s well-meaning attempt to get him past his pusillanimity goes disastrously awry, and Arlo ends up far from home with winter coming on and only a feral, largely canine boy for company. As he makes his way back toward his family, Arlo bonds with his human pet, and meets various dinos with various responses to the terrors of the world. Wisdom comes, naturally, from sonorous Sam Elliott (as a battle-scarred T-Rex), and Arlo learns what really conquers cowardice. If the story sounds simple, that’s because it is. The complexity here is tonal — zig-zagging from silly to scary — and visual: a super-realistic depiction of nature red in tooth and claw contrasted with the foam-rubber, glass-eyed vulnerability of our hero. (2015) — Matthew Lickona
This movie is not currently in theaters.