Disney Pixar’s newest release, The Good Dinosaur, debuts today! I was lucky enough to attend an advance screening in my home town with my brother and some of our friends on November 24th, an incredibly exciting experience for a Disney fan like myself. Keeping up with the latest Disney films is just one way my family and I maintain the spirit of the Disney parks alive at home. A theater near us always has a showing the night before the official release date we like to attend with some equally Disney-oriented friends. Sharing these new stories reminds us of the magic and creativity of Disney. For all those who ran out to see the film today or are looking forward to seeing it soon, here’s a quick, spoiler free review.
I have to admit, a lot of Pixar films leave me feeling unsure about what I think of them. On one hand, being Pixar, they’re automatically of some quality. Yet the incredible thing about Pixar is each story they tell is so very different. This makes it difficult to compare films, especially from different time periods in Pixar’s development. With that in mind, The Good Dinosaur was not my favorite Pixar film, but still a great movie. The plot seemed somewhere between the (somewhat) more traditional story lines of older movies, like Monsters Inc., and the more experimental ones, like Up. Some scenes were more reminiscent of a survival story than a traditional Disney tale. One scene, featuring the triceratops, Forrest Woodbush, seemed completely out of place. Overall, the story follows Arlo the dinosaur’s adventure as a charming friendship blossoms between him and a young human. With no central villain, the film focuses more on Arlo’s goal of proving himself to his family and his growing connection with his human friend.
Hands down the best aspect of the film was the animation. In fact, it seemed as if the story was being used to display the animation rather than the other way around. There was a lot of opportunity to play with the wonders of nature and Pixar did so beautifully. Everything from the fluid movement of the T-Rex to the texture of a dripping leaf captures the imagination. A few shots almost looked like live action! And the cast of characters, an array of interesting creatures, was delightful.
Of course, it’s crucial not to forget the pre-movie short! Sanjay’s Super Team, the cartoon in question, follows the story of a young Hindu boy resisting and then reconciling the divide between his modern western life and the culture of his parents, represented by his father’s religious shrine and his parallel shrine to morning cartoons. The story is compelling and the art work that brings Hindu gods to life as superheroes enchanting. Based on the childhood of its director, Sanjay Patel, the short’s representation of the struggle to combine your own passions with your family’s past is one that will resonate with many viewers.
Wherever and whenever you get a chance to see The Good Dinosaur, enjoy!
c. 2015 Kathryn Blanco