Film Review “The Good Dinosaur”

The Good Dinosaur3 The Good Dinosaur2 The Good Dinosaur1


First, the Recap:

Family and friendship.  Two concepts that carry so much weight behind them, both good and bad, though ideally, more good.  Whether it’s the bond of children to their parents or the unexpected and welcome acceptance of a new friend, we as human beings thrive to find those who will become closest to us. But what if these notions, these ideas, got applied to something other than human? What about–a dinosaur?? It is the end of the Cretaceous period, and a certain event is about to unfold–or is it? The mighty reptiles that roam the Earth simply cast a casual, somewhat startled, glance to the sky above as a large fireball whizzes past in the night sky. Extinction avoided.

For one Apatosaurus family–Poppa (Jeffrey Wright), Momma (Frances McDormand), and their three children Libby (Maleah Nipay-Padilla), Buck (Marcus Scribner), and undersized Arlo (Raymond Ochoa)–it is a simple, farming-based existence. The children all take to their chores, making their “mark” on the family’s grain silo when performing exceptionally. But Arlo’s fears and timidness hold him back greatly, despite the efforts of his father to change this. When an unforeseen tragedy strikes, Arlo finds himself alone in a massive prehistoric world he knows nothing of outside of the family he is longing and desperate to return to. Traversing a hostile landscape, an encounter with a human boy, Spot (Jack Bright), leads to adventure, danger, and an unanticipated, surprising bond that carries them home.

Next, my Mind:

There could be far worse jobs to tackle than helming your very first feature film, but when said film is the sixteenth project for Pixar Animation–yeah, daunting might be the word!  But, thankfully, Director Peter Sohn not only takes on this burden, he crushes it, delivering what will now become the sixteenth STRAIGHT hit film for the Disney-owned studio. Gorgeously animated (as if we expect anything LESS) and absolutely stunning in 3D with all the prehistoric landscapes to showcase, the story moves along at a perfect pacing, and also illustrates that Pixar is not afraid to take on some heavy themes in the midst of the more light-hearted and humorous turns within the narrative. Of course, there is a plentiful serving of pathos and tear-inducing moments.

Also as expected, the characters overall are endearing, and no matter how much you might want to try and convince yourself you can NOT accept a family of dinosaurs literally farming and living in a “house” etc, you go along with it all anyway because the story just draws you in and engages you. The interactions between Spot and Arlo are both hilarious and poignant as they trek through an unknown wilderness to find home. A great supporting cast of characters, from a trio of Western T-Rexes (watch the films, folks!) voiced by Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, and A.J. Buckley to some villainous Pterodactyls headed up by Steve Zahn, it all melds together into one incredible, emotional, intrepid, moral-bound escapade. Bravo!

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!




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