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The Good Dinosaur

Or How We Are All Arlo – Pixar’s latest venture may not be as grandiose as its previous outing (see Inside Out), but the struggle of the main character is real and relatable in what seems to be more of a children’s story. Arlo is a cautious dinosaur that fears a lot of things; he is a weakling compared to his quick-witted sister and his strong brother. One day, due to a storm and his encounter with a critter, he manages to get swept away from his home and into the wild. Along with his new friend Spot, he tries to get back home to his family. 

The movie deals with so many familial tones – a loss of a loved one, the act of being alone in the world and finding a place to call home, as well as individual fears that people experience when they are thrown out of the ordinary. On the road, one can meet friend or foe, and that was how Arlo has developed as a character; from his relationship with Spot, and the experiences he encounters along the way. 

Though the movie is not sub-par to other Pixar classics, Arlo spoke to me as a child and an adult. Everyday we are facing our fears, whether they are subliminal or evident – no person goes through life without any fear. It’s how we face these fears that strengthen us. Arlo is relatable in an everyday sense – we are pushed to go further when an obstacle is driving us crazy, there are moments in life when we feel like giving up but we stand back up. 

While the message of the movie was very much implied, I thought that Pixar has crossed a road with this one. Unlike most of its films where it’s ‘adult-friendly’, this one was very much for younger children. I sat through it once, but I don’t think this is something I would see for a long time. I think it’s because Arlo is a young child, and the voice work is somewhat calming that it will only appeal to little children. Spot was a great character; even without a speaking role, he is able to impart emotion and bond with Arlo. 

Regardless of the message and reflection of the character, this isn’t one of Pixar’s best works. It’s a good, well-rounded movie that might have missed a few marks to make it extraordinary.

Final Word: It's visually good, but a weak addition to the Pixar canon.

Cast: Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Maleah Nipay-Padilla
Director: Peter Sohn
Year: 2015

Comments

  1. You've summed it up really well here - Pixar is usually great at pleasing both kids and adults, but The Good Dinosaur definitely leans towards a younger audience. Great review :)

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  2. I don't think anything could top Inside Out but I had doubts about The Good Dinosaur anyway. I'm definitely still going to watch it at some point though. Great review!
    - Allie

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    1. It's an 'okay' effort but it's really for a much younger audience. Hope you enjoy your viewing though!

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  3. I kind of, sadly, hated this...even more so upon reflection. Nicely constructed review though, even if you were kinder that I would have been.

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    1. I found Arlo annoying, but I saw my unsure self in him. I think it's why I gave it a higher grade than I would. The movie isn't really Pixar's best efforts; it's disappointing considering that they came out with one of their best works on the same year.

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  4. I liked this better than Inside Out. You can tell they definitely had re-writes in the story along the way, but it was good enough. Sadly, I still think Hotel Transylvania 2 is my favorite animated film of the year.

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  5. This one is pretty generic, but when talking about the visual. I'm definitely on The Good Dinosaur's side. It might not be the same level as Inside Out, but by far, it's the most enticing visual spectacle Pixar ever made.

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