The Good Dinosaur Peter Sohn
Published Nov 26, 2015Awards season may still be three months away, but at least one film already has a few trophies locked down: Inside Out, Pixar's critically and commercially acclaimed animated feature. Sucks to be the team behind The Good Dinosaur, the company's second full-length feature of the year, because, as good as it is, it's always hard to stand in the shadow of giants.
The part Homeward Bound, part The Lion King, part The Land Before Time-esque feature is classic Disney, making this movie, at times, a bit of a tough watch when compared to the more nuanced Pixar picture. The good dinosaur in question is Arlo, the requisite runt from a family of anthropomorphic dinosaurs who lacks the strength of his big brother, Buck, and smarts of his older sister, Libby.
His pastoral but unsatisfying life is thrown into disarray when tragedy strikes and he finds himself transported thousands of miles downstream from his family's farm, all alone save for a barbaric pest (who, of course, is a prehistoric human) he previously chased away from his family's crops, and must work with to find his way back.
It's a fairly straightforward story, and therefore quite a bit of a departure from Pixar's more progressive pictures. Still, The Good Dinosaur provides plenty of laughs for adults and their offspring (few children's films capture the lunacy and lucid feelings of a psychedelic trip in the countryside as this movie does in one brief but jarring scene, and some of the characters the pair encounter on their journey seem more suitable for an Adult Swim audience).
But what it lacks in originality and inventiveness, The Good Dinosaur makes up for with consistent, charming and heart-warming comedy. Considering the sorry state of most kids films, don't be surprised if this one frequently pops up on TV sets in family rec rooms for years to come.