The Good Dinosaur
While Inside Out was released to box office success and acclaimed reviews, The Good Dinosaur released in the holiday season to little fanfare or attention. It was pretty clear which of Pixar’s 2015 movies was its champion last year. And sure enough, The Good Dinosaur doesn’t reach the storytelling heights of Inside Out, must does that mean this secondary cartoon has no value of its own? Of course not, in fact its quite the charming little movie in its own right.
Here we get a rather commonplace story in animation these days, where Arlo the runt of the litter suffers a family tragedy and has to make his own way in the world. Along the way he meets a human he calls Spot. They look out for each other along their adventures and create a heart-warming bond, which of course will pay off emotionally in the end.
The story of Good Dinosaur isn’t that unique. There are callbacks to classic animation films like The Lion King in one scene, Finding Nemo is the finding family aspect, etc. And the theme of the movie, which revolves around making your mark in the world, isn’t delved in too deeply and is really just on the surface, like the hoofprints on the stone. That’s said, the characters of Arlo and Spot and the relationships in the film, especially Arlo and his father, do a good job of filling the story void and making you care.
One more thing I have to mention is that the computer animation here is exceptional, especially the background scenary. Pay attention to any scene with water in it. There was one scene with light reflecting in river water that looked entirely real. The bark on the trees was also outstanding. And then when they throw in interesting visual cues like a reverse Jaws moment in the clouds, The Good Dinosaur suddenly turns into a visual feast worth watching on that level alone.