The Good Dinosaur (2015)

3:15 PM

The Pixar Underdog?
 The Good Dinosaur is the feature length directorial debut from Peter Sohn. The film features the voices of Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, The Hunger Games 2-4) and Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club, Joy Ride). "An epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend". So The Good Dinosaur has kind of become Pixar's 'other film' this year and everyone is finding it hard to believe it can compete with Inside Out - So, is The Good Dinosaur towards the end of the Pixar scale or is it one of the best?

I was not looking forward to The Good Dinosaur at all until the final trailer for the film was released - before that, the trailers made the film look not that great and the animation of the dinosaurs looked way too cartoony. I have to say, this film is an extremely pleasant surprise and was very enjoyable. Even though the issue of the 'too cartoony' dinosaurs is still there, when you are looking at them for around 100 minutes, the issue fades and you get used to it. It may not live up to the heights of Inside Out (which was near the peak of Pixar) but it certainly is a solid release for the unstoppable studio. 

As I just mentioned, what I thought would be my biggest issue with the film was the animation of the dinosaurs and that kind of was one of the two things that annoyed me the most. However, after seeing how beautifully the scenes and locations are animated within the film, it makes me think that there is some hidden meaning and explanation for why this juxtaposition has been created. Speaking of the locations and scenes - they were fascinatingly beautiful and broke the line between real and animation as some looked directly like the real thing - for example, rivers, mountains etc. The film was also very pleasing to the eye with the scene where the fireflies surround Arlo and Spot - this was a very nice moment. Despite having dinosaurs that look a little too childish and cartoony, the rest of the film is so lifelike which makes you think that Pixar must have done this for a reason - maybe an artistic choice?

The second thing that I had a minor problem with was how frequently Arlo screamed - I thought the actor who voiced him was probably the worst screamer I've heard in animation - it was also very childlike and belonged on child TV rather than on the big screen. However, the actor was good when speaking dialogue - it was only the screams that I did not like. The rest of the voice cast all did a really good job. What I liked about this film is that there was very little two-way dialogue as Spot isn't able to speak. The film was still able to be effective and entertaining without as much dialogue as your average film. 

I really liked the story for The Good Dinosaur - it kind of had a 'You'll always find your way back home' kind of plot. Even though this plot line has been done a million times before, Pixar has found a way to make it feel fresh and original. I like the whole concept of the film which poses the question 'what would life be like if Dinosaurs still lived on?'. I liked how the story kept moving and the characters were able to meet new characters along the way who each added something to the plot. The funnest new entry was definitely the crazy triceratops and his crazy friends - the names were so dark and would probably make older audiences laugh more than the younger ones. However, my favourite of his accomplices was definitely Debbie who had the most 'normal' name out of the bunch which made her even more hilarious. I also liked the pterodactyl villains that were introduced as they were kind of the sharks of the sky - I really liked when they circled the main characters from above the clouds with their beaks looking like shark fins. The T-Rex's were also a fun addition and were probably the most valuable characters to the main duo. There was a random and odd scene in the film which involved dodgy peaches which was hilarious but kind of just ended randomly and was never referred to again - I think it was just included for comedic merit. I would have also liked to of had an epilogue to have seen dinosaurs in todays world - that would have been very interesting!

Pixar have done it again and made another tear-jerking movie. The first moment is very Lion King-esque and can be seen coming as soon as one of the characters is introduced. However, that doesn't stop it from still being moving - the way the film just cuts to black and silence made it even more powerful. The second emotional moment occurs towards the end of the film and actually brought tears to my eyes - even though it wasn't a fully sad moment (it was kind of a win/lose situation), it was just really upsetting to see the duo separate. However, both characters got what they were after and it was just really heart-warming and nice to see. I really liked how they referred back to a previous scene with the circling around your family which was really nice. When Arlo returned home, it was also very nice. However, the film kind of just ended from there - I would have liked to have seen the Dino-family get their farm back on track before it finished! 

The soundtrack for the film was also very good - it had a kind of 'Western' vibe to it and was quite enjoyable to listen to. It definitely isn't as memorable as Inside Out but it is still a pretty good soundtrack that I would listen to in my spare time. 

The Good Dinosaur is a truly pleasant surprise and is a really heart-warming but emotional adventure. The voice acting is good - except for those screams from Arlo. However, that doesn't stop the film from being extremely visually appealing and just beautiful to look at. Most missteps can be forgiven with a solid plot, likeable characters and great, realistic animation. The Good Dinosaur was never going to be as good as Inside Out but it definitely doesn't embarrass Pixar. The Good Dinosaur is a very good movie. 


What did you think of THE GOOD DINOSAUR? How does it compare to INSIDE OUT? - COMMENT BELOW

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