The Good Dinosaur *Review*

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

What if the asteroid missed?

So I just got to see Disney•Pixars newest film The Good Dinosaur. I was actually invited to an advanced screening that was held at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. A dream come true to be on such a magical studio lot! (I will share some of my visit on a separate post so for now back to the movie review)

The Good Dinosaur answers the question “What if the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs missed?”, but at the heart of this is the classic tale of a boy and his “dog”. The main character is Arlo, a young Apatosaurus. He and his family are a simply farming family just living life in the “Old West”. Their lives are changed by an event, which has the biggest impact on Arlo. Arlo’s father has taught his family that in order to earn your “mark” you must do something that is greater than yourself. After a series of mishaps, Arlo is thrust into a journey of growth and self discovery. He is joined on his journey by a foe turned allie, a little human boy named Spot. Arlo must face his fears and learn to put others before himself to make his journey back home. He meets some colorful characters along the way and learns that you cannot judge others by their outward appearance. Through each encounter his strength, friendship and loyalty is tested. And in the end he learns how to truly make his mark and that it’s alright to be afraid but that you can’t let your fears hold you back.

While this is described by Disney•Pixar as a boy and his dog story, I have to disagree a little. The relationship between Arlo and Spot is so much more, it’s like a bond of best friends who are more like soul mates. Even with a language barrier they are able to understand each other completely, they would even risk everything for the other. There are so many powerful messages in this film, I have to admit my daughter and I (and possibly the whole theater) were left in tears at the end. But that is because this film touches on some very emotional and deep subjects. I would suggest this film for older children since some scenes can be pretty intense and may be frightening for younger children. *Update November 28th – My 4 year old just viewed this movie and had no issues and enjoyed the film but digression is up to parents, you know what your child can handle and what they cannot. I would suggest viewing with older children first then judging whether your younger child should view this film.* But over all this was a wonderful film. It touches on the bond between father and son, the bond between best friends and finding inner strength. The imagery of the landscapes are just gorgeous, they seemed so real. Making me want to take a trip out to Yosemite right now. And the lightning bug scenes are so magical, reminding me of the lantern scene in Tangled. My daughter and I truly enjoyed this film and cannot wait to see it again with her brother and dad.

Disney•Pixars The Good Dinosaur

Parental Advisory

*Spoiler Alert*

Like I stated above I would definitely suggest this film for older children and to use disgression with younger children. The film is rated PG, so there is some intense imagery and there are a few deaths; one from a main character and a couple nature being nature ones (i.e. a pterodactyl eating a small creature) that may not be suitable for little ones. There is middle violence, a few I guess you could call them fight scenes. They are no more intense than good and evil struggles in other Disney•Pixar films but they can put you on the edge of your seat for a little bit. My 9 year old had nothing but positive things to say about this movie. Though she shed a few tears, but what Pixar film now and days doesn’t make you. She and I had a wonderful advance viewing.

Have a great Thanksgiving and be sure to catch The Good Dinosaur in theaters this Thursday!

Cruzin Mama

The Peanuts Movie *Review*

The Peanuts Movie

Since a local theater by me has a great special for first of the day showings, it was a nice opportunity to take the kids out for a movie treat. So why not take our peanuts to check out the new Peanuts Movie.

I grew up watching the holiday specials every Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. And even remember watching many other movies of the Peanut Gang. I have been sharing these such films with my own children. So I will say I was a little apprehensive to see this new more modern take. But I was able to go into this new film with an open mind and it was great!

The new film’s animation takes nothing away from the originals, it still has the charm and recognizability to the original style. It was nice to see how the new characterization was going to come across, I really liked how they captured many of the characters iconic features. The new animation style was able to translate Charlie Brown’s extremely unique hair very well.

The movies theme is to Dream Big but more than that message can be taken from this film. The central theme of being the best version of yourself is something not just aimed towards children. Charlie Brown is fairly known as the lovable loser, he always seems to have a bit of bad luck. I feel that this is a great thing for kids to see. Not everything will be perfect or go exactly their way but you can always try to maintain a positive attitude and look on the bright side. The lessons that come from this film were easy to understand and came off in an enjoyable and sometimes amusing fashion.

What the new Peanuts film really hit on the head was Snoopy’s personality and charm. He’s the same loyal and unique beagle that we know from the original films. And his sub-adventure with the Red Barron was a wonderful addition to the film. It reminded me so much of his battle in The Great Pumpkin.

Many children’s films now and days are coming across as annoying to parents or leaving them with disdane when their children ask to watch them on repeat. I truly enjoyed this film with my kiddos and I did not get the feeling that this film would fall into that category. I can see us picking this a family movie night choice.

Enjoy the show!

Cruzin Mama

Inside Out *Movie Review*

Inside Out Movie Review

Image courtesy of Disney•Pixar

Insider Access to Inside Out

So I was given the amazing opportunity to attend an advanced screening of Inside Out. I was even able to bring my 8 year-old daughter along for the fun. This wasn’t just any ordinary screening this was an all access inside Inside Out event. Before the film even began all attendees were taken on a video tour of Pixar Animation Studios by Director Pete Docter and Producer Jonas Rivera.

Touring Pixar was absolutely incredible! Yes it was only a pre-recorded video tour, but it was still a wonderful experience. Pete and Jonas walked through how signing in as a guest works to even where employees take a break and grab coffee. They pointed out many staff members during the tour who worked on many beloved Pixar films. We were given a little sneak peek at what working on a film looks like by going in a review room with everyone working on The Good Dinosaur, Pixar’s next up coming film. One of my daughters favorite parts was the Animators offices. Each office was decorated by the Animators in a very unique way, like a boardwalk of offices all lined up just like a boardwalk at the pier , there was a taco shop styled one that even locked up like one and my favorite was the crashed plane one. That one looked like the mid-section of a plane crashed into a jungle and inside the animator had many items inspired by the movie Up! The tour continued around the building to show previous films storyboards on the storyboard wall and then into the offices of Pete and Jonas. But the real cherry on top of the tour was bumping into John Lasseter who was wearing his infamous Hawaiian shirt, this time it was a special Inside Out edition. He was in the room working on Toy Story 4. He wouldn’t give any details or let us get a glimpse of the room but he did say the work is going great. I don’t know how they are going to top the last Toy Story film but Pixar has a way of working magic.

After the film was a live Q&A with Director Pete Docter and Amy Poelher who voices Joy. I don’t want to go too indetail about that since it would giveaway a lot of spoilers. But listening to them talk and answer questions about the film made this movie experience even more incredible.

Like all Disney•Pixar films Inside Out featured an animated short film just before the movie. The new short is Lava and it is just perfect! Inspired by Hawaii and volcanoes this short is a great kick off to the film. It’s funny, warm and has a very catchy tune to it. My daughter is still singing the tune! Be sure to arrive early to the movie so you don’t miss this delightful short.

Insider Access Review

Thoughts on Inside Out

First things first I have to say that we loved it! There’s no denying that this is going to be a hit. A film about emotions definitely had viewers getting in touch with theirs. And I promise not to give away any spoilers.

Inside Out takes you inside 11 year-old Riley to see her inner emotions; Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust, and Sadness. Her emotions help guide Riley. So she is a generally happy child and is mostly guided by her emotion Joy. Her core memories, which are the memories that help make up Riley’s personality, are all joyous ones. Riley lives with her mom and dad in Minnesota, but when the family moves to San Francisco you really see her emotions go to work. After the big move Joy and Sadness inadvertently go on their own journey into the deeper parts of Riley’s mind. Working together they must find their way back to Headquarters and help Riley get back to her happy self.

My daughter was glued to the film and so was I. It was an entirely relatable experience. There were a lot of laughs and some very heartfelt moments. Riley is just is a great character who kids and even adults can relate to. To quote Amy Poelher from the live Q&A,

“Riley is an extraordinary character in that she is ordinary”

I could see my 11 year-old self in Riley and could most definitely see my daughter in her. And Joy is positively infectious. Director Pete said that Joy was the hardest character to write but I think they did an awesome job on her in the film. The animation is just superb and the whole world inside Riley’s mind was just spectacular and so detailed. One character to watch for is Bing Bong, his presence in the film brings an array of emotions and is a key part of Joy and Sadnesses journey. I would say this movie is on par with Toy Story 3, which was an outstanding film itself.

Inside Out hits theaters on June 19th. Be sure to check out this marvelous film!

Get in touch with your emotions and have a joyous time!

Cruzin Mama

Paddington Movie *Review*

Paddington Bear The Movie

My family was recently treated to movie tickets as a reward for my daughter receiving straight A’s on her report card (thank you Noni!). So we decided to see the new Paddington Movie. I grew up watching the old show at my grandparents house and was pretty excited to see this new version of Paddington. My son is fairly familiar with the marmalade loving bear as well. Last summer he chose the story book as his reward for completing the Pottery Barn Kids summer reading program. He also has his own mini Paddington that was giving to him by a family member who had traveled to Europe (I don’t believe they actually got the little bear at Paddington Station but he’s still a very special gift). We were all eager to see the accident probe bear brought to the big screen.

Paddington Movie *Review*

I have to say my family really enjoyed Paddington. This was a fresh new take on the classic. The stylization of the movie was very well done. Even though Paddington was a CGI bear it was in no way distracting and flowed so well. Like I said this was a modern take but Paddington was still the same marmalade loving, clumsy, and curious bear we all know. I really liked that he was given more of an origin. Like the explanations for his love of marmalade. The adding of a villain was actually fun. Nicole Kidman is great as the villain in Paddington. She was recognizable as the “bad guy” but not overwhelming which kept with the whole lighthearted flow of the movie. My three year old son hugged his little bear throughout the whole movie, there was only a few times where he played seat hopping. For the most part he stayed seated and attentive to the screen. I would defiantly recommend taking your little ones to see Paddington. This was a very cute family comedy.

You can check out the movies trailer below. Have fun at the movies!

Cruzin Mama

The Book of Life *Movie Review*


I had a great opportunity last night to see an advance screening of the new Book of Life movie that will be in theaters on October 17th. I took my daughter with me to the screening, yes I took her on a school night but it’s ok it was a special treat ;). I promise not to give away any spoilers with this review.


I have to just come out and say it, we loved the movie! My daughter was completely captivated by it. We viewed the movie in IMAX 3D. If you really want to see the beauty of this movie I suggest seeing it in 3D. The movie is just so visually stunning, especially when it takes place in the Land of the Remembered. The 3D was not overwhelming at all it truly enhanced the movie. I especially liked the music used throughout the film. Book of Life used many popular songs but were re-recorded in a way that flowed so well with the movie. The story line is easy to follow and has many subplots that intertwine seamlessly. And you really enjoy all the main characters. The moral of the movie for kids is to be true to yourself and not be ashamed or embarrassed of things that you are passionate about.


I am highly recommending this movie to everyone I know. I would love to go see it again! This is a great movie for the whole family, I would even take my toddler to see it just probably not in 3D since I know he wouldn’t keep the glasses on. There is no real scenes in the movie that I worried about for my kids and even though there are a few little adult puns that are easily missed by little ones. I will say keep an eye out for the witty Abuela, she’s got some great one-liners. Check out the movie trailer below and again be sure to see The Book of Life when it comes out on October 17.

I hope you enjoyed my review as much as I enjoyed The Book of Life!

Cruzin Mama