Struggling with a review of The Good Dinosaur – just keep saying “cute” and “old school” and “incredible graphics”.
Ultimately while it is a sweet tale, we’ve seen it before from Homeward Bound to Bolt; a character has to find his way home and learns who he is on the journey.
Disney, you expect this from. Pixar, who massively push boundaries in making their family films transcend age boundaries, misstepped here by having a film aimed squarely at kids with little else to bring to the table. That’s not to say that this film is bad; many parts were reminiscent of The Lion King, especially its family pragmatics. This feels like it needed an infusion of harshness – the dark wit of Woody wanting to sacrifice Buzz to be the main toy in Andy’s life In Toy Story, the Auto pilot who let humans grow into obese monstrosities who couldn’t survive on their own until the robot revolution showed them it was possible in WALL-E. It sounds churlish, but The Good Dinosaur is too sweet, cosy and safe.
The effects work is phenomenal – when Arlo, the prodigal dinosaur, falls into water, you forget that you are watching an animation. The natural movement of the wind affects the leaves, clouds and nature. From the studio’s previous works, animation has come along in massive stages and this is the reason why the film should stand out.
However, out of the two Pixar releases this year, I understand why Inside Out had the more attentive doting on it. It’s cerebral nature coupled with saturated colours meant that it would engage with a broad audience.