The Good Dinosaur (2015)

gooddinosaur_2015_poster
The Good Dinosaur (2015)
  • Time: 100 min
  • Genre: Animation | Adventure | Comedy
  • Director: Peter Sohn
  • Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, Bill Hader, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Maleah Nipay-Padilla

Storyline:

“The Good Dinosaur” asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? In this epic journey into the world of dinosaurs, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

2 reviews

  • Quickie Review:

    In an alternate world where Earth is not catastrophically hit by an asteroid, dinosaurs have evolved and are thriving. Arlo, a young Apatosaurus is accidentally separated from his family. He must overcome his fears with the help of his unlikely human friend Spot, and survive the journey to find his family. The Good Dinosaur, is a great family friendly animation that lives up to the Pixar reputation of innocent humour and emotional beats that tug at your heart. On a technical side, this is a marvellous looking animation, perhaps their most advanced movie yet. On the story front however, the creativity is lacking. Nevertheless the movie is executed well, sure to be an entertaining time with friends and family.

    Full Review:

    Pixar, as I’ve said in the past is arguably one of the best studios in the business, and will always attract an audience no matter what they release. So loved are their films that perhaps we get too upset at even the small flaws of the movie. Now, by no means is The Good Dinosaur one of Pixar’s best, but it certainly has the charm we’ve come to know from their previous work.

    The interesting twist here is that the dinosaurs and humans have switched the roles of animals and “civilised” beings. We see dinosaurs that farm or herd livestock or equivalent to a crazy cat lady a dinosaur that obsessively collects pets. There are plenty of colourful characters, and the ways in which human behaviour is blended into each of them is quite clever. The focus and true gem of the movie is the growing relationship between Arlo and Spot. Of the two only Arlo has dialogue but it’s in the quiet moments that the movie is most impactful. Both share a tragedy in their lives and they are depending on each other. So when we see the lengths they will go to for each other, it is genuine and heartfelt that does not need to be put into words. As for the animation itself, it is absolutely gorgeous. The landscapes are so photo-realistic that you might wonder at times if you are watching an animation or actual footage. The animals are more cartoon-ish but it is a contrast that actually works, and perhaps helps soften the negatives I’m about to explain.

    All Pixar animations try to cater to audiences of all ages. Humour wise I think this movie strikes that balance well. However, I must give a small warning to parents with very young children about the violence. Now it is not graphic, it’s still given a cartoon treatment, but as a full grown adult even I must admit there were some scenes that caught me by surprise that it’s in a kid’s movie. This may be a concern for some parents so  that’s why I bring it up, otherwise don’t worry about it. On the other hand the lack of creativity in the plot is something that everyone will notice. Compared to Inside Out the bare-bones story here has been seen time and time again. So don’t expect to be blown away by something new.

    All in all, The Good Dinosaur is well… a good movie. Sure the story is unoriginal, but it is one that resonates with the audience because of the relationship of Arlo and Spot. With the holiday season coming up, this a great option for the family to enjoy together. And prepare yourself to get emotional over a cartoon dino.

    P.S. If you are of Indian descent like me, with Hindu parents. You will love the short shown before the movie. It instantly transported me back to my childhood Saturday mornings.

    Check out more on my blog: thestubcollector.wordpress.com

  • (Rating: ☆☆☆ out of 4)

    This film is recommended.

    In brief: A mammoth undertaking that entertains even if it is woolly at times.

    GRADE: B

    The new animated film from Pixar, The Good Dinosaur, bases its existence on a what if theory: What if that deadly asteroid missed the earth millions of years ago and dinosaurs went on to rule the world? Granted, it is an interesting enough premise that stirred the imaginations of its filmmakers. But perhaps a better what if question would have been: What if we would have taken more time to rewrite the screenplay? The film does suffer from some script issues and plot contrivances, but the animation still impresses and the film has its share of poignant moments that are emotionally attuned for adults and children alike. Solidly directed by Peter Sohn (who took over for Bob Peterson), the film is always entertaining and engaging.

    We follow the adventures of Arlo, the runt of the litter who fears everything in his world. To him, and many of the young audience members, this world (and film) is a real scary place. Forced to fend for himself due to the inexplicable forces of nature, our hero learns to survive the deadly food chain with the help of a wild child that he befriends and names Spot. Their friendship becomes the crux and guiding force of the film.

    This boy / dog theme is a major plot device that works very well, as does the idea of the importance of family in one’s life, even if the script by Meg Lefauve makes some bad choices by adding some scenes that do little to advance the plot (a hallucination-induced bout of poisonous berries, a western-themed sequence involving rustlers, a dream episode involving father and son). These detours seem like filler and veer away from the central storyline and its impact.

    The main character, Arlo, is also in need of some revision, as it is renders. It comes across as too cute in a clumsy Gumby sort of way. In fact, most of the characters lacked refinement and are too simple and cartoony. (An exception to this complaint is the pterodactyls that are slight exaggerated to maximum effect and filled with glorious menace and the facial reactions and movements of Spot the Boy Wonder.)

    But Arlo and the other creatures lack the necessary details to be memorable characters, especially when viewed against the photo-realistic backdrops that are truly astounding. The vista and panoramic scenery are the film’s most stunning accomplishment. The lighting and textures are remarkable in their state-of-the-art visual expertise (more so than their character counterparts). The layered backgrounds continually capture the beauty of nature that is awe-inspiring. (The firefly sequence is memorable for its lyrical splendor.) These surrounding landscapes are handled with pure artistry even if they completely upstage the characters and story.

    That said, The Good Dinosaur, has much to recommend. The reviews have been overly unkind to this film and undeservedly so. While it may not be one of Pixar’s best, it certainly was a noble effort that is worthwhile viewing for the epic vibe alone. Go see it.

    Visit my blog at: http://www.dearmoviegoer.com

    ANY COMMENTS: Please contact me at: jadepietro@rcn.com

Write your review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *