Pixar’s latest offering, The Good Dinosaur, has recently been released to mixed reviews, something that I can definitely understand.
The Good Dinosaur focuses on Arlo, the smallest Apatosaurus in his family, who therefore has extra challenges to overcome. He is stereotyped as the most fearful in the film, and his father help him recover from this. However, he then is swept away (figuratively and literally) into one big adventure in the wilds beyond his home.
The film is quite funny in its portrayal of the world in which the meteor that killed the dinosaurs never even hit the Earth, but just shot on by, and the film imagines what could have been. Humans are now the ‘critters’ that steal food supplies and howl at the moon, and the dinosaurs have been able to become farmers.
"pixar are usually masterful with their subtle morals, but here the message was almost smacking you in the face"
However, I must admit to being slightly disappointed by this film. As a Disney-Pixar film, I had hoped that the storytelling wouldn’t be as basic as it was. The same tried and tested tropes were used yet again – I had to relive another Mufasa death scene and ghostly fatherly apparition, something that’s never as good or as moving as in The Lion King.
Disney films are usually also quite masterful with their subtle morals and warnings, yet this time, the message was almost smacking you in the face. Don’t always trust in appearances and first encounters – the ones that look as if they’d hurt you, could be the ones to save you and things aren’t always as they seem to be. It’s an important message in today’s world, but repeated throughout the film with many different characters until it moves beyond a quiet realisation into humdrum.
However, the film didn’t fail in providing a wonderful cast of characters, and the brilliant story of friendship between the Arlo and his human pet, ‘Spot’ was just as sweet as I expected from the trailer, and very much the film’s redeeming quality.
More like this: The Land Before Time (1988)