Monday, January 23, 2017

The Good Dinosaur

Pixar Studios (2015) 93 minutes

This is bound to become a forgotten film in Pixar’s history but not for lack of trying or because it’s a bad film. It is actually quite good. A decent, well told story and characters with the studio's typically great animation. It shines most brightly in is backgrounds and environments - they are beyond stunning. In fact it’s very easy to confuse them for real world locations and think the animated characters, which are very cartoon-y, were just composted into them.

The basic story is one of a fearful, maladroit dinosaur child gets separated from his family farm (in this universe, the asteroid that knocked out many of the dinosaurs misses and they go on for millions of more years, eventually sharing the earth with early man) and has to make his way back through a series of adventures with a human child. Of course a parent dies, this is a Disney produced animation afterall. The man-cub is all but a puppy dog in intelligence and behaviour and fun to watch. The cartoon style of the creatures might be a little jarring fro some against the photo-real environments but I found it charming. It reminded me of the super simple people in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty against that films very detailed background paintings. I wish they spent more time with the stegosaurus than the tyrannosaurus castle ranchers but that is a minor quibble.

Why will this film be forgotten? For one it didn’t make much money in release and came out the same year as their blockbuster Inside/Out . It didn’t get much promotion or fanfare and while its settings were amazing, the rest of the movie, though entertaining didn’t catch on with the public even though critical response was very good overall. I personally liked this more than Inside/Out but since I actually work doing animation, I think my reaction was probably a little different than the 5-10 year olds the film aimed at.

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