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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Movie Review - The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Featuring the vocal talents of Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Raymond Ochoa, Steve Zahn, Anna Paquin, and Sam Elliott 
Directed by Peter Sohn

As much as I say Pixar is without faults, churning out one hit after another, that's perhaps being overly generous, overlooking the fact that films that some people love -- Finding Dory, Up -- just don't hit the mark with me.  Unfortunately, The Good Dinosaur joins that lukewarm bunch.  While the scenic animation is gorgeous and incredibly photo-realistic, the character design is the most basic we've seen from Pixar yet and the story feels like a retread of better animated films of the past.  All in all, The Good Dinosaur is one of Pixar's biggest disappointments.

The story has some strong similarities to The Lion King, although it obviously pales in comparison.  A young dinosaur named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) is the runt of his family with a brother and sister bigger and more capable than he.  His father (Jeffrey Wright) decides to take Arlo on a journey to try and make him braver and more confident in himself.  However, on this journey, a horrible flood rushes down a riverbed and carries Arlo's father away.  Pushed to safety in his father's final courageous act, Arlo finds himself on a journey home where he meets several unique creatures including a dog-like four or five-year-old human he names Spot who he befriends on his trek.

Yes, humans and dinosaurs co-exist here and I just couldn't help but think that the potential for this premise could've been more fully realized.  While it's true that Spot is the most engaging character in The Good Dinosaur despite the character not speaking a word, the co-mingling of these two species is disappointingly developed.  Obviously, it doesn't help that the film's main character - Arlo - is bland, paling in comparison to the amusing Spot.  Sure, Simba in The Lion King may not have been the funniest or most unique character, but we cared about his plight.  Arlo's plight lacks a captivating thread for some reason.

Although there are certain aspects of the film that are stellar - a great score by Jeff and Mychael Danna and some beautiful environmental imagery, the story (by a slew of people) and the design of the dinosaurs feel pre-schoolish which doesn't allow for anyone older than the age of ten to really connect with the proceedings.  The Good Dinosaur is a big disappointment and quite possibly my least favorite Pixar film to date.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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