Saturday 28 November 2015

The Good Dinosaur Review by Carleton Rutter

Directed by: Peter Sohn
Starring: Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn and A.J. Buckley
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

So, in a nutshell?
An epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.

So, what are my thoughts?
Pixar's summer entry Inside Out earned in excess of $850 million dollars worldwide. In fact it only sits behind Jurassic World and Avengers Age of Ultron who occupy the top two spots of the year so far.
With Jurassic World being far and away the summer's most commercially successful movie, it proved that the public still has a healthy appetite for dinosaurs on the big screen. 

So take that subject and marry it with the most successful animation studio in the world, and you've got a sure fire hit?!...
​Er no... Well in actual fact whether it will be a hit is another thing but as for it being a good film, which for me is more important, it certainly is not. 

Trouble for The Good Dinosaur started to brew in 2013 when the studio dumped the director and producer. Then add to that a complete cast overhaul earlier this year, due to a major change in the story's direction, it was obvious things were looking rocky.
The problems with The Good Dinosaur are firstly it has a very weak generic story. Our main protagonist gets lost and has to get home to his family whilst meeting friends and foe, well that's never been done before.

Also the whole tone of the movie is sad from fairly early on and has quite a dark edge for a movie aimed at such young audiences. 

The other issue I have are the characters. With the exception of Arlo and the human Spot, none of the other dinosaurs they meet in their adventure are particularly nice. The best are perhaps some T-Rexes who play friendly Ranchers, a nice change from being constantly lumbered with being a movie's main bad guy or gal. Other animals though, such as the Pterodactyls and raptors are not funny bad guys, they are just horrible.

This is all a great shame as The Good Dinosaur may well be Pixar's most lusciously animated movie ever. The natural vistas are breathtaking. It is stunning to look at. I would say though that Arlo himself at time had too much of a rubbery look, but now I'm just nitpicking! Also, add to that a good score and the movie from a visual and soundtrack point of view deserved a much better movie to support it, rather it being as was the case, the other way round.
The Good Dinosaur has been on my radar since last year and I took my six-year old son. He enjoyed it for the most part but not even he missed that the movie was sad. This movie should have been an uplifting "Fun for all the family" kind of movie for the festive holiday but it's just not.
It's such a shame that coming after Pixar's triumphant summer blockbuster that their year has to end on this note.

My Rating 

The Good Dinosaur has to be chalked up as one of this year's disappointments. With a weak story, unnecessary dark edge with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss, this is Pixar's biggest misfire to date, and yes I'm counting Cars 2. It looks and sounds beautiful though but this is not enough for me to recommend you see it on the big screen. Catch it on stream or Blu-Ray. 

The Good Dinosaur Review by Carleton Rutter