Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Movie with Abe: The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur
Directed by Peter Sohn
Released November 25, 2015

There is a familiar theme to Disney and Pixar films, especially in recent years. A misfit with a good heart is usually the subject, and it is just a matter of time before someone no one ever expected anything from surprises them all and manages to astound with an act of true bravery. That formula works and is ready to go in the second and less talked-about production from Disney and Pixar this year, as one dinosaur who can’t even get out a proper roar has an uphill journey to travel in order to be able to make his literal and figurative mark.

There is often little explanation for how things are as they are in animated family productions, and here the existence of a family of talking dinosaurs is supported by the opening shot of the dinosaur-destroying asteroid that struck the Earth 65 million years ago missing the planet and allowing the prehistoric species to continue to thrive. As is usually the case, other animals talk too, but in an interesting twist, it’s the human whose words sound like gibberish and who has to communicate non-verbally. Though Apatosaurus Arlo hatched from a giant egg, the youngest of three dinosaur siblings has always been the runt of the litter, scared of his own shadow and unable to do anything of his own. Chasing after a peculiar human child one day leads Arlo on an incredible adventure that will surely transform him into what he was always meant to be.

Much of “The Good Dinosaur” feels like it could come from any Disney movie, and the way that the plot resolves itself can be predicted almost from the very start of the film. Yet there’s still something affirming about joining Arlo on his transformation from sheepish farmer to unintended explorer. This film definitely earns its PG rating, as this reviewer, who attended a 5:10pm screening with several talkative children reassuring each other about characters’ fates after destructive weather incidents, can attest to its intense thematic elements that put it on the more severe side of family entertainment.

This film’s title is fitting, though it isn’t to suggest that the other dinosaurs in the film aren’t good. In fact, dinosaurs are the best allies that Arlo can find out in the wild save for his mischievous human friend Spot, and it’s the other animals, particularly pterodactyls, who are villainous and frightening. What defines Arlo more than anything is that he is good, and this film has plenty of strong family and friendship values to impart to its viewers of all ages. It’s not the most resounding or original family film, but it’s a crowdpleasing, enjoyable movie that’s good for some sweet-natured entertainment.


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