The Good Dinosaur – 4 out of 5
For the most part, I’m all about Pixar’s movies. Heck, in my review of Inside Out I mentioned that I bought the Blu-ray without seeing it first in the theaters (something I rarely do) and, without any real shock from me, I ended up loving it. However, despite my desire to see it when it hit the cinemas, I didn’t do the same thing with The Good Dinosaur. For some reason, my spider-sense didn’t tingle the way it did when I decided to buy Inside Out sight unseen and I decided that the risk would be lower (and cheaper) if I just rented it from RedBox. Of course, if RedBox sent me checks for all the name-dropping I did, I could afford to buy it. Thanks, RedBox.
|Don't you give me that look. I just had a better feeling for Inside Out than|
I did about this one.
In an alternate reality where dinosaurs weren’t wiped out by an asteroid, a family of Apatosaurus lives on their farm and are blessed with three children. The father (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) tries to instill in the kids about responsibility and making their mark on the world but the runt of the group; Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), is having a hard time overcoming his edginess and constant fear of everything. After failing a job his father assigns him, tragedy strikes the family and Arlo is swept down a mighty river, separated from his pack. Now, after befriending a feral human child lovingly named Spot (Jack Bright), the two must work together to get back home.
|The idea of the dinosaurs not dying out is fiction to us but, to some crazier viewers,|
the whole dinosaur thing is fiction to them.
The first thing that struck me about The Good Dinosaur was the absolutely breathtaking animation the film had. Yes, the characters all have that trademark Pixar cartoon feel but the backgrounds and landscapes were darn near photorealistic and they were just incredible to take in. Add in some of the most amazing looking water effects I’ve seen in an animated film and what I got visually was a very appeal, incredible gorgeous and amazingly outrageous looking animated feature.
|There were many times that I was awestruck by the backgrounds and then I would catch|
myself and say, "How dorky am I that I am enamored with backgrounds?"
Additionally, like most features from Disney and Pixar, the voice acting is great. Right off the bat, I was incredibly impressed with the level of emotion that Raymond Ochoa brought to the role of Arlo. The kid really made the dino a deep and sympathetic character and really brought the writing and the lines of dialogue to life. Ochoa is backed up by a great cast of actors that include Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Steve Zahn, A.J. Buckley, Anna Paquin, Sam Elliot and, the Pixar go-to cameo man, John Ratzenberger. Everyone did a fantastic job of making their characters fun and loveable but, despite this and the animation, there was something that made this film feel very generic when compared to other Pixar films (with the exception of the most generic of all their films; Cars and its sequel).
|I don't know...they look trustworthy.|
I did enjoy The Good Dinosaur and it had that trademark heart that is always prevalent in Pixar films (yes, it made me cry a few times) but the story didn’t feel as creative, unique or as deep as Pixar has done in the past. Much of Arlo’s journey feels way too by-the-numbers for a Pixar film and the main obstacle of the story (Arlo trying to get home) takes far too long to get established and, in doing so, it makes the characters he meets and the moments he has while trying to return to his family feel short and, occasionally, rushed. The story is functionally but it lacks the charm that is usually so saturated in Pixar features and it ends up feeling like something a lesser studio would churn out.
|Sam Elliot does the voice of this T-Rex and he fits stupidly well in the role.|
The Good Dinosaur is cute, sweet and, at times, funny. The animation and voice acting is top notch stuff but the film does falter greatly in the writing department. It’s never bad enough where the film was unwatchable for me or made me feel like I wasted my time but it was noticeably un-Pixar enough that I’m glad I didn’t take the gamble and buy this one on Blu-ray sight unseen.