Unfortunately, new popular films still focus on celebrating the nuclear family.

** Spoiler alert ** 

Only read this post if you have seen The Good Dinosaur movie or are confident you will never need to. 

We live in a rural setting, and we’re outdoors a lot. Movies are a treat. We are one of the few communities that still have a well-loved, heavily-relied-upon video store (as well as slow rural Internet and Canadian Netflix).

So don’t judge me: we spent a Monday night having dinner in front of a movie with our pre-schooler. We usually don’t eat supper in front of the TV, but our Superbowl Snackadium night was such a big hit my eldest has been urging us to recreate the experience.

And I know, I know, I know: you should pre-watch every movie you ever show your kids. Especially when you’re an LGBTIQ parent, you feel responsible for screening all texts that come into your house more than other parents. But the last thing you want to do after the kids are tucked in is to check out an episode of Peppa Pig.

It still surprises me how many movies I thought were excellent (as a kid watching them), which now, as a parent, I’d rather my children not see. (REALLY?! You’re going to kill another set of parents off Lion King, Finding NemoFrozen!)

The movie revolves around one juxtaposition: Good Dinosaur and Bad Movie. And it is The Lion King, except: they are dinosaurs (and this movie is horrible).

As soon as we saw the glow worms in the night sky, my wife said, “Papa’s gonna die.” (And afterwards: an exile and a stampede. I know—they mixed up the Lion King sequence there. Crazy!)

Most parents have a hard time leaving their kids to go for dinner and a movie, and the story these animations want to tell is about parents dying. (Did Frozen have to mimic the same laws of succession? Did Elsa’s parents retiring to a cozy cottage exceed their imaginations?)

LGBTIQ families will feel queer—and not in a good way—in the first few minutes of The Good Dinosaur. The opening scene is of two parents celebrating triplets emerging from their eggs—not because of the gift of life, but because it’s the beginning of their Mama-Papa roles and their Mama-Papa names.

It is disappointing that heterosexuals lead the family by no means; there is so much dialogue and time spent setting up the nuclear family that it seems like a plan was being pushed.

Fortunately, that scene eventually ended. Good humour still intact, I chose to get past the dinosaurs that also were farmers. And besides, these dinosaurs were agriculturally advanced and only grew corn; their central plot conflict was neither the dust bowl nor extinction.

I am guilty of overthinking things. But I was hoping that this film would be an update to my leftover grade six dinosaur knowledge, an answer to something like why the Brontosaurus is now called a Brachiosaurus.

I was hopeful that the movie intended to eliminate historical inaccuracies in our interpretations of prehistoric life. The people crept around in downward dog pose; still giving this movie the benefit of the doubt, I mused that in isolation, it made sense that the tiny human protagonist, oh so cleverly nick-named Spot, would communicate like a dog. But WHY did the fellow children have the same white-streaked hair as their aged parents???

And what was the point of the hallucinating berries scene? (The dog kid and dinosaur “do berries” together and then have the best nap of their lives. Drugs are where best friends are made!).

I never found out why he was called the good dinosaur. (But I have a nagging suspicion it was because he inadvertently showed mercy when he was afraid but grew into a beast capable of bullying.)

I slowly let go of my hopes for any Teachable Moments.

In the final scene: despite the fact they just schlepped across the globe together, and now they only live 500m from each other, the dinosaur and tiny human have to say goodbye to their best, only friend forever. At which point every four-year-old bursts into tears…)

Did I miss something critical in the first 5 minutes while cutting up my youngest’s food that puts this movie alright?

Parents: be forewarned. Expect that new popular films will still focus on celebrating the nuclear family and still have pro-drug messages you’d rather hide from your kids.

My predictions for the sequel:

The raptor family that saved the delicious-looking dinosaur (even I was like, wow, got any hoisin sauce?) stalked him to his farm so they could eat the whole family. The dog-like boy harnesses a mammoth to ride back into the future to save him. Three chickens trot across the screen, lift a T-Rex and throw him into the sky—the end.