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The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur: A Simpler Approach by Disney & Pixar

  • Anna PaquinFrances McDormand...
  • Family
  • Peter Sohn
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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The Good Dinosaur: A Simpler Approach by Disney & Pixar

Even though it lacks the subtle sophistication and refinement of other Disney-Pixar animations, there’s still something rather special about simplistic, yet heartfelt approach, to The Good Dinosaur. Directed by long-time animator-turned-director, Peter Sohn, stunning visuals and the endearing relationship between the two leads will keep audiences engaged and seemingly distracted from the story’s otherwise sweet but familiar premise.

The Good Dinosaur is set in an alternate world, where the deadly and massive asteroid that eventually led to the complete extinction of dinosaurs some sixty five million years ago missed its collision with Earth, leaving the dinosaur population very much intact. Millions of years later, we meet a family of corn harvesting Apatosauruses; Poppa Henry (voiced by Wright), Momma Ida (McDormand) and their three children, Buck (Scribner), Libby (Padilla) and the youngest member of the family, the always-fearful, Arlo (Ochoa).

The family is a hardworking unit, but Arlo strugges to keep up with chores. When a tragic event leads Arlo to be swept up by the river and into the dangers of the open wilderness, the young dinosaur is soon forced to face his fears. Befriending a young and extremely feral little human whom he soon names, Spot (Bright), Arlo and his new buddy set out to get Arlo back to where he belongs, whilst also finding the courage to battle and fight off the dangers along the way.

Marking Pixar’s sixteenth feature film and the second one to be released in 2015 after Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur boasts mesmerising visuals and photorealistic backdrops of raging rivers, picturesque mountaintops and colourful landscapes. It’s a survivor story and an unlikely-friendship story all rolled into one which is at its most beautiful and heartfelt self when it focuses on the main relationship between Arlo and Spot. The time spent with the two leads, as they share quiet and unspoken moments of true friendship and genuine kindness, is where The Good Dinosaur shines, drawing its audience into the story with a great amount of ease.

The performances on all fronts are vibrant and thoroughly engaging, while the story – which was stuck in a troubled six-year long production– is unexpectedly simplistic, the overall result still works in its favour.  Fun, simple and beautiful to look at, it’s aimed at a much younger crowd, but that doesn’t mean us so-called adults won’t be able to enjoy it either.

Like This? Try

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), Up (2009), Dinosaur (2000)

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The original cast was said to include John Lithgow, Judy Greer, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris and Lucas Neff, but they were replaced following major script changes. The only original cast member to still be a part of the film is Frances McDormand.

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