Written by: Bob Peterson, Peter Sohn, Meg LeFauve, Kelsey Mann, Erik Banson.
Directed by: Peter Sohn.
Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Raymond Ochoa, Frances McDormand.
Run Time: 100 Minutes.
Check out our The Good Dinosaur Review below!
In a world where the doomed asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs misses Earth altogether, young Apatosaurus named Arlo gets separated from his family in a tragedy, only to share the journey back home with the most unlikely of allies – a human boy.
A TAIL OF VALOR
Dinosaurs now live in a world where they dominate the intelligence scale. They have developed an Agrarian society, and in it we find a family of lime green Apatosaurus’s harvesting corn for the winter. Poppa Henry (Jeffrey Wright) and Momma Ida (Frances McDormand) are raising their three children to take care of their farm with crops and chickens. While the foolhardy Buck (Marcus Scribner) and deceitfully joyful Libby (Maleah Padilla) find their feet quite easily, Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) struggles to overcome his fears of virtually all things that move or sound.
Feeling futile, Arlo decides to exterminate the critter that has been stealing their corn, to prove his worth. In a classic Disney tragedy that ensues, Arlo is separated from his family. He wakes up to a territory alien to him and confronts the ‘critter’ with every negative emotion conceivable. This ‘critter’ happens to be a mute human boy, albeit still somewhere in the middle of evolution.
The boy (Jack Bright) who comes to be known as Spot, starts looking out for Arlo, much to his bewilderment. The boy only communicates with gestures and a piercing howl, somewhat classifying himself as a lone wolf. A few pleasing encounters later sees their relationship transform from frenemies to one another’s life support. The movie gives us a distinctive boy-and-dog story, but in this case the human is the pet. This comes as a welcome alteration as they share an epic journey filled with lethal predators and unpredictable allies.
‘SOHN’ OF A GUN
The Good Dinosaur provides us with a timeline in which the dinosaurs avoided extinction 65 million years ago. But ironically, the script looks as if it’s from that era. Director Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy) ventures out with his first feature film, and achieves something admirable with such a script. The release date was pushed by a year or so, coupled with a director change. So when it does come out, you would expect groundbreaking stuff. But it is far from it. And a major contributing factor is that it was released in the same year as Pixar’s nifty hit – Inside Out.
Written primarily by Bob Peterson, Peter Sohn & Meg LeFauve, this movie does not contain any of the abstract brilliance that Inside Out did. Where Inside Out managed to be ingenious, The Good Dinosaur delivers traditionally captivating cartoony intensity.
The character design, including that of Arlo, leaves you questioning how strong the end result could have been. The protagonist is not very lovable and sometimes can be aggravating. The rest of the characters appear to be spin-offs from Disney movies of yester. For a movie highlighting a dinosaur, not as many of them are featured as you would like.
All this is vindicated by the animation, which is breathtaking to say the least. The visuals are so realistic and captivating that you will instantly fall in love with mother-nature. Easy on the eyes, especially with stunningly gorgeous imagery of the water and thunderstorms, Pixar yet again proves why they are technically superior. The sound department and DOP deserve special mentions.
YOU HAVE JEFFREY WRIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
The strongest name in this flick is the highly underrated Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games, Source Code) whose character Poppa Henry is virtually Mufasa from The Lion King in a dinosaur avatar. With that in mind, it felt like he tried too hard to be like the latter. That really isn’t his fault, as no one can really replicate James Earl Jones as Mufasa 😉
Raymond Ochoa (A Christmas Carol, Monsters University) does a delightful job as Arlo. Certain influential names such as Frances McDormand (Fargo, Burn After Reading) and Anna Paquin (X-Men, True Blood) also feature in the cast, but their roles were limited. This is mainly because the movie emphasizes a lot on a bond that is created with unspoken methods, which will leave you smiling and tearing up simultaneously. Watch out for the celebrated cowboy Sam Elliot (Hulk, Up In The Air), who has a short but brawny role as Butch the T-Rex.
All in all:
People will glimpse the name Pixar on top of the title and go in expecting another hyped work of art like Inside Out, but the two movies are thankfully worlds apart. It isn’t thematically rich, therefore offering us a script that is virtually the love child of The Lion King and Jungle Book. But, The Good Dinosaur excels in its own terms, and will likely skew to younger, Dino-loving audiences. It takes you back to a characteristic Disney tale, where it speaks to children with valuable and relatable messages combined with jokes that cater to all ages.
It is safe to say that this is best Dinosaur movie to come out this year *wink-wink*.
Watch it if you’re: In the mood to share a few laughs and aww-inspiring moments with your family.