Pixar has set
its bar so high that a sweet film like The
Good Dinosaur suffers for not being innovative or unique. But it is entertaining, especially for kids,
and is executed with the seemingly effortless perfection that marks every film
from the studio that brought us Toy
Story, The Incredibles, Up, and
Our hero this
time is a young dinosaur named Arlo, a timid soul who doesn’t have the courage
or command of his Poppa. That doesn’t mean his father and mother don’t believe
in him; they do, but the pluck and bravery Arlo needs to survive can only come
from within, as he learns through his experiences with friends and foes after
being separated from his family.
growing experience occurs when he discovers and befriends a young cave-boy whom
he names Spot. Through their adventures with Mother Nature and a variety of
predators they not only bond but come to rely on one another.
appeal of The Good Dinosaur is
tremendous. It pictures life on earth if dinosaurs never went extinct and came
to inhabit our planet as we know it. The majestic beauty of untouched land,
majestic mountains, rivers, and waterfalls are exquisitely rendered. But it’s
the characters that really matter in a story of this kind, and they come to
life with the same care and attention to detail as the settings.
groan at some of the platitudes uttered by Arlo’s Poppa and other characters
the young Apatosaurus encounters along his journey… but it’s unlikely that
young viewers will regard them as clichés. Director Peter Sohn treats these
moments in Meg LeFauve’s screenplay with complete sincerity, which should win
over the young and young-at-heart. Parents won’t be bored and kids should lap
up The Good Dinosaur; that makes it
ideal family entertainment this holiday season.
The feature is
preceded by a short subject called Sanjay’s
Super Team, based on filmmaker Sanjay Patel’s memories of a boyhood culture
clash with his father. Like most Pixar shorts, it’s a treat.