Monday, March 14, 2016
The Good Dinosaur 
The Good Dinosaur gets a lot of flak, and I think that this is because it was unfortunate enough to come right after a masterpiece like Inside Out. Inside Out was, in my opinion, a better film, but that doesn't mean that The Good Dinosaur isn't still an above-average movie!
First off, the animation is beautiful. Nothing short of amazing. Inside Out looked amazing, but it was mostly set in a metaphysical realm that is pretty alien to us viewers. Here, the setting is much more familiar- nature! It looked really amazing, almost photo-realistic. To offset the photorealism though, the characters are classic Pixar stylized. A lot of people thought that the cartoony characters looked silly in the midst of all the intricately animated backgrounds, but I wouldn't sacrifice the gorgeous backgrounds.
Most computer animated films have 'that one scene' that shows off the movie's aesthetic in a showstopping way. Let it Go from Frozen, I See the Light from Tanged, Wall-E and EVE dancing, etc. Here, there is a gloriously beautiful, but also very, very simple scene of a father and son playing with fireflies.
The characters were nice. The supporting characters were a little one note, but they were likeable one note. And besides, this really is Arlo's story. Arlo is the titular 'Good Dinosaur', and he's about preteen aged, and has some serious problems with fear. The story is all about how he is forced by circumstance not only to grow up, but also to face his fears and break free from anxiety and grief. It was very moving, and it's treatment of sadness and anxiety reminded me of Inside Out.
I love to see a movie that treats these kinds of things thoughtfully and seriously, not just some flaw that gets fixed in the last ten minutes of the movie without any real resolution.
The music gave the film a very Appalachian or Frontier flavor (there are even cow-herding Dinos at some point!), and I really liked it!
The Verdict: A-
Though the parent-dies-tragically-and-child-must-grow-up thing is getting a little old on kids movies, this was still a very moving film. There was a brilliantly bittersweet scene that resolved a storyline without even having any dialogue! True Pixar magic, that.
Content Advisory: Some bloodless violence and intense scenes. Fine for kids who don't freak out easily.