Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Good Dinosaur is good, not great

Movie:    The Good Dinosaur

Rating:    PG

Grade:   B

In a Nutshell:    This is Pixar’s second release this year after the huge hit “Inside Out”.   It’s not their best film, but it's still very sweet. Don’t get me wrong, though…there are some great things about it.  

It’s pretty tough to top Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo.    What it DOES top is animation genius when it comes to the impressive landscapes and backgrounds that almost look like cinematography.  Truly impressive.  I sat next to my son who is an animation artist for Blizzard Entertainment and we just kept saying “Wow!” with every new scene.

This film asks the question: “What would happen if the meteor that was supposed to hit planet Earth and destroy the dinosaurs, didn’t?”   The result is a movie that feels like an odd western, a coming-of-age movie, as well as a spiritual journey that the kids will love.

Uplifting Theme:
·         “You have to earn your mark by doing something big or something bigger than yourself.” – Poppa
·         “Sometimes you gotta get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side.” – Poppa
·         “You can’t get rid of fear.  It’s like Mother Nature, but you can get through it and find out what you’re made of.” - Poppa

Things I liked:
·         The beach scene at night is very touching and will break your heart.  The circle imagery at the end made me drop a tear or two.
·         Sanjay Patell created a film short before the feature film begins, which is sweet and interesting.
·         The cast includes the voice talents of Academy Award winners Frances McDormand (Momma) and Anna Paquin (Ramsey). 
·         What’s a Pixar movie without the voice of John Ratzenberger?  He voices the character of Earl.
·         Magical fireflies!
·         The story is touching and simple.
      I love the moment when Arlo is "born" and clings to his dinosaur shell with big eyes.  So cute.
      The body movements and facial expressions of all the creatures are absolutely fantastic.
      The dinosaur with the "protectors" made me laugh out loud and the groundhogs made the kids in the audience squeal with laughter.

Things I didn’t like:
·         While the landscape animation is unbelievably gorgeous, the design of the dinosaurs seems too simple in comparison.  In fact, the two elements don’t seem to go well together at all.  Fortunately for Pixar, kids won’t care.
·         This movie was supposed to come out in 2014, but there were so many delays and job losses from this production that it made its late 2015 release.  Somehow, you can feel the unevenness in the final product.
·         Don’t overthink this movie too much.  I mean, we’re supposed to believe that these dinosaurs created devices and tools and built homes, all without fingers.
·         It’s somewhat jolting to see the human in the film acting like an animal, almost like a pet dog.  He is pretty doggone cute though.
·         The “driving the herd” scenes made me think of the adorable movie "City Slickers".   
·         I got tired of hearing so many country hick accents and was surprised that Pixar didn’t create more diversity.




Funny lines:  
·         “Nash, get out of your sister’s bubble.” – Poppa
·         “If you’re pulling my leg, I’m going to eat yours.” - T-Rex


      Sweet line:
      *  "I'm not like you!"  - Arlo
          "You're me and more." - Poppa    His father is very loving and encouraging.

Tips for Parents:
·         This is a charming movie, perfect for family entertainment.
·         There is some adult humor that parents can appreciate.
·         There’s a disgusting, large insect scene that will surprise you.
      No bad language or inappropriate behavior.
      There's a strange hallucinogenic moment you might need to explain to your kids.
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