Before ‘The Good Dinosaur’: 5 of the Greatest Dinosaur Movies

What if dinosaurs hadn’t all been wiped out in a catastrophic event? That’s the question that Pixar’s new animated film will seek to answer in its next animated film, The Good Dinosaur, coming out Thanksgiving of this year. It is one of two major new films with our favorite prehistoric beasts stealing the show, the other obviously being the recently released Jurassic World.

Dinosaurs and humans mixing is one of those concepts that never fails to enchant audiences, perhaps because it’s as close to a realistic fairy tale/horror story as we can get. Knowing that monsters in the films were once real has a way of driving home the action and magic of our favorite giant antiquated lizards. Still, we have a while to wait for both films to come out, and in the mean time there is a long history of film about dinosaurs worth digging into. So preheat yourself a nice steak, slip into your favorite excavating trowel, and sit back on your achycephalosaurus skeleton and consider watching one of these classics.

1. Dinotopia

Similar in ways to both The Good Dinosaur and Jurassic World, Dinotopia was a short mini-series about two brothers who crash landed on an island full of — you guessed it — dinosaurs. They eventually come to find, however, that the dinosaurs and humans actually live in harmony, with close bonds built between citizens and their dinosaur companions. The series stars Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) and Tyron Leitso (House of the Dead) as the two brothers.

2. Jurassic Park (I, II, III)

Just as many people went back and re-watched old Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter films to prepare for the newest addition, many will likely want to do the same for the next Jurassic Park. Of course, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment, given that the old films were so well loved, and re-watching them right before the newest one might prove to be a let down — as was the case arguably for many with Indiana Jones. On the other hand, any references and storyline loopholes put into the newest film by writers will be fresher in the mind for someone who’s just watched the old films.

3. Land Before Time

There’s no question that this film belongs among the greats when we consider animated films, and among animated films with dinosaurs in them its pure gold. There’s a reason it’s a well loved children’s movie, and the basis for much of early broccoli eating encouragement. After his mother dies at the beginning of the film (spoiler alert), in a scene way more heartbreaking than the dead mom scene in Bambi (since dinosaurs are a thousand times cooler than deer), Littlefoot must begin a long journey to find food and family in the Great Valley. He and his fellow dinosaur friends begin a trip across a hazard-filled landscape, braving all sorts of difficulties, inducing the classic T-Rex nemesis.

4. Dinosaur

This 2010 animated film was sort of like if the Lion King and Land Before Time had a baby, and that baby was a Brontosaurus, and it was brought up by lemurs. Which, by the way, is the plot of this movie. As children’s movies go, it wasn’t terribly original, but the animation was well done and the story was entertaining enough.

5. Dinosaur 13

The fate of some very old bones may not sound like compelling cinema, but when they compose the 65-million-year-old skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that was 41 feet long and 18 feet high back in the day, all bets are off,” write Los Angeles Times critic, Kenneth Turan.

There are many excellent documentaries about dinosaurs, some visual works of art with realistic depictions of reconstructed fossils shown as they were during life. Dinosaur 13 is more of a narrative, going into the team that found the biggest T-Rex fossil ever seen. It gives an interesting insight into how land divisions, government regulation, and dig theft can occur, not to mention plenty of dinosaur talk.

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