Posted Dec 08 2015
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The Good Dinosaur - This Pixar Rocks

Dir: Peter Sohn

Starring the voices of Raymond Ochoa, Frances McDormand, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Elliot, Steve Zahn, Peter Sohn, Anna Paquin, John Ratzenberger (obviously!)

Releasing two movies in the same year, for the first time, can’t help but invite comparison. And to get this out of the way – The Good Dinosaur is very simply not on par with Inside Out, which may well be the studio’s finest work to date.

That said, this is still Pixar and The Good Dinosaur is still remarkably good in its own right.

Wisely, after the – literally – more cerebral approach of Inside Out, Dinosaur plays a lot simpler. And a lot younger. This is one that eschews the clever gags for the parents bit and runs with a very straight forward, very sweet story, a tale of a boy and his dog. Only in this case the “boy” is a young Apatasaurus and the “dog” is in fact a boy. 65 million years ago that meteorite that took down the Jurassic world, actually missed earth completely, allowing dinos to survive and man to slowly emerge alongside them. Thus when young Arlo (Ochoa) gets separated from his family, he teams up with a primitive orphan boy he names Spot and they begin their incredible journey back home.

And we say that advisedly – as Disney’s classic cross-country animal trek The Incredible Journey (the 1963 one especially) is a definite influence here. There’s also a fair tip of the hat to The Lion King as well. In fact, it would be easy to view this as one of Pixar’s least adventurous and most conventional of movies, in terms of story. But in terms of animation, it is as breath-taking as anything they have ever done, presenting an at times almost photo-realistic vision of this world, combined with their - as ever – beautifully realised characters. And if you expect to nearly always shed a justified tear or two at a Pixar movie – there’s a farewell scene here for the ages.

 

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