From the creators of “Inside Out,” “Up,” and “Monsters University,” Pixar Animation Studios produced its second animated motion picture of the year released by Disney: “The Good Dinosaur,” which premiered in the U.S. on Thanksgiving.
This is the first time that two Pixar features opened in the same year, with “Inside Out” debuting on June 19.
“The Good Dinosaur” premise asks the question, “What if the asteroid that changed life on Earth missed the planet completely, and dinosaurs never became extinct?”
Following the life of a cowardly apatosaurus named Arlo, “The Good Dinosaur” seemed to be an intersecting byproduct of the plotlines of “Finding Nemo” and “The Lion King,” with a refreshing message of overcoming fear and creating a legacy of heroism.
When Arlo’s father is tragically killed by a severe storm and drowns in a river, Arlo washes up downstream with home nowhere in sight. He is lost, alone and afraid of almost everything; he wants nothing more than to return home to his siblings and mother.
Arlo keeps his father in mind in every obstacle he faces, particularly during the film’s climax, when Arlo has a vision of his father encouraging him.
Arlo befriends a strange creature who begins to teach him everything about survival, trust and friendship—a human boy that he names “Spot.” Spot does not speak throughout the entire movie, which reverses the set role of animal-human relationships. This is the crux of the movie, where the result of an asteroid missing earth is the co-existence of all creatures.
The two unusual companions form a bond unlike any other made by Pixar. Both lost, isolated and searching for their way home, the two pair up to protect one another from other dinosaurs and critters roaming Earth.
Arlo and Spot’s mysterious and grand adventure reminds us of the importance of encouragement, reassurance and faith, even in the unknown. Spot empowers Arlo to become the dinosaur he is meant to be—a heroic, fierce apatosaurus that would make his father proud.
Though Spot does not have any lines in the movie, his presence in Arlo’s life becomes extremely important to Arlo’s growth as a main character.
Certainly a movie for the entire family, people of all ages will find this movie comically satisfying—along with truthful elements that will certainly inspire thoughts of gratitude concurrent with this time of year.
Though “The Good Dinosaur” possesses all the traits of an extraordinary Pixar film, it does not quite deliver the same anxious anticipation as the studio’s previous hit movies, which earned well over their budget in box office sales. However, it does offer extremely realistic graphics, leaving audience members questioning whether they used real images mixed with computer design. Ultimately, this movie is an example of how advanced technology has become; the movie, in its entirety, was animated.
Overall, this movie gets three out of four Jon Wallace heads. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a story of whimsical humor balanced with a heart-warming message of hope, bravery and bold discovery.