The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Director – Peter Sohn
Writer – Pater Sohn and Bob Peterson
Starring – Jeffery Wright, Raymond Ochoa, Steve Zahn, Sam Elliott
Rating – PG
Genre – Adventure / Fantasy
Metascore – 66/100
Rotten Tomatoes – 77%
Before we get started I need to state something about this film: It is beautiful. That cannot be overstated. More than any Pixar movie to date, it is wonderful to look at. The Good Dinosaur brings us a hyper-real vision of deciduous forests in an age of dinosaurs (except not really, but I’ll get to that shortly) that we haven’t seen the likes of before. The first two things that struck me was the way that water behaved in the digital landscape and the way that “natural” light was manufactured and manipulated for some of the sequences. It makes the real world look like trash comparatively.
Now that I’ve thoroughly gushed over what was really good about the movie, here’s what we’re left with: a cookie cutter script that utilizes some voice cameos to make up for its lack of creativity. The opening 60 seconds of screen time, which is also my favorite part, shows us the asteroid famous for destroying the dinosaurs gingerly skipping over the Earth’s atmosphere into oblivion. Thus, explaining the evolutionary conundrum of humans existing in a world alongside dinosaurs. Some millions of years later, we open upon the long-necked dinosaur family that our story follows. In this future where dinosaurs have survived some have also become agrarian, which is the case with our protagonist, Arlo’s family. I’m of the opinion that, while its wanting to be original, a film about dinosaurs doesn’t quite feel right in front of a homesteading and western-feeling backdrop. There is a large sense of adventure about the film, which showcases how well the Pixar crew handled the scale of the environment, but the adventure itself is built upon a predictable and overused plot that is often seen in children’s films. Arlo doesn’t fit into his family, his father is the only one that has faith in him, the family patriarch dies, Arlo sets out onto an adventure that tests him and ultimately “makes him into be” the person that his father always saw him as. Except, that the adventure doesn’t really accomplish anything other than Arlo having seen some stuff, life is still hard for his family and still void of patriarchal grit.
The only thing that marginally stands out in the film as original is the fact that humans do not speak a line. They’re actually referred to as “critters” by the dinosaurs that do speak. Rather than inviting us into the mystery of human silence in this setting, the only thing the mute behavior does is prevent some potentially awkward moments of emotional dialogue between Arlo and his human companion, Spot. As I said, however, there are some decent voice cameos from the likes of Sam Elliott and Steve Zahn that provide some much needed humor to what would have otherwise been a dry and frustrating film. While it is beautiful, the very cartoony characters and script laid over the scenery make for something that your kids might enjoy a little bit more than you.
TLDR – Someone saw Ice Age and said, “I can make it prettier and cuter” but, failed to attempt the original script that we’ve become familiar with from Pixar.
499 Rating – 5.7
Author : Blake Burrough