The Good Dinosaur Movie Review

Earlier this year, I watched Disney and Pixar’s film Inside Out. “[It] is one of the best movies of 2015 and one of greatest animated films ever made. It brought me joy, sadness, and fear, making it the emotional roller-coaster of a lifetime,” I wrote. The film struck me very strongly and in the back of my head I doubted that Pixar would ever be able to top it. That is until I sat down with a directing animator on The Good Dinosaur, named Rob Thompson. I landed the interview because Thompson visited the University of Nevada Las Vegas and gave a behind the scenes presentation of the movie. It was there that I got a sneak peek of the latest animated film, and for a second, I wondered, “Could this movie be better than Inside Out?”

Arlo & Spot in The Good Dinosaur

Arlo & Spot in The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur asks the great question, what if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs missed Earth? But more specifically, it follows the story of a young Apatosaurus named Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), who is accidentally separated from his family. In order to make it home, Arlo goes on an epic journey, meeting an unlikely, human friend named Spot (Jack Bright), along the way. The movie was originally supposed to be directed by Bob Peterson, but in October of 2014, Pete Sohn took control of the film. Sohn had been working with Peterson on the movie since 2009 until Peterson was removed from the project in 2013. The cast and story were nearly changed in its entirety. During my interview with Thompson, he was sure to mention it the huge change of story and how it was reimagined, “When that happened, the whole movie changed.”

I must say, since lead this review on the comparison of Pixar’s two new films, that after watching The Good Dinosaur in full, it does fall short of Inside Out. That being said, The Good Dinosaur is an extraordinary film. It not only gives off beautiful themes and messages, but it is also gorgeous to look at. The characters of the film are quite cartoony and not aiming for realism. However, the environment and the world these characters live in, at times seem quite real. There are moments in the picture that my jaw hit the floor because the line between reality and animation blurred. For example, as Arlo climbs a mountain early on in the film, the mountain range behind him looks tangible. It makes me wonder what Pixar films will look like in a few years, let alone a decade.

The adventure our heroes embark on is filled with both funny moments and touching segments, but I must admit that the sophistication that Pixar has delivered in the past seemed to be missing a bit. Inside Out was such emotionally rich and offered a story with such depth and meaning, were as The Good Dinosaur hits the same marks Disney hit with its animation in the nineties. In other words, it’s a much simpler film. But, that doesn’t make it a bad or unworthy movie. It’s just coming off the full-bodied, complex Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur seems like a bit of a step back.

With that being said, I laughed and cried in the hundred-minute-movie. There are plenty of great laughs with our main characters, as well as the unusual creatures we meet along the way. However, the best moment in The Good Dinosaur involves a “conversation” between Spot and Arlo about family. It will break your heart, and then fill you with the warmth only Disney movies can provide. I guess what I’m trying to say is, The Good Dinosaur is good, really good, just not as amazing as I had hoped.

3.5 out of 4 stars

-By Jacob Tiranno

For my interview with directing animator Rob Thompson:

For the article about the Pixar presentation:

Here are our reviews of the other movies that came out this week: Creed & Trumbo

In case you missed our video review for this week, check it out below:


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