The Good Dinosaur (2015) Movie Review: Very Good Indeed, and PIXAR Good (No Matter What Anyone Says)

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Arlo falls down.

Take a Drink: for every death.

Take a Drink: every time Spot howls.

Take a Drink: for every new dinosaur that is introduced.

Do a Shot: when you cry (it’s okay).

Take a Drink: at the Jaws tribute. 

Chug: during the (drug- yes, drug) tripping scene.

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: BabyRuth (Two Beers) –

You know the asteroid that hit Earth 65 million years ago and took out the dinosaurs? In the world of Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, that never happened. Instead that asteroid just breezed right on by and dinosaurs went on to evolve into a species so intelligent, they not only communicate by speaking, but also farm.

We’re introduced to an Apatosaurus family: Poppa (Jeffrey Wright), Momma (Frances McDormand), and their newborns Libby, Buck, and shy runt, Arlo (Raymond Ochoa). Libby and Buck quickly grow into their assigned roles on the family farm and “earn their marks” (a muddy footprint on the family’s silo), while Arlo struggles to conquer his fear of chickens (yup, the farm also has a coop full of prehistoric chickens). Poppa sympathizes with Arlo’s difficulties, but also wants to toughen him up.

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He sees the perfect opportunity one day when a pesky critter invades the farm and steals some of the corn harvest. Turns out this trespasser is a feral human boy (in this reality humans are dog-like –crawling around on all fours, their language consisting of grunts and howls while the dinosaurs speak perfect English), but Arlo just can’t bring himself to kill the intruder as instructed by Poppa.  This sets off a chain of events that leads to devastating consequences including an untimely death and Arlo stranded far from home. His only companion? That damn little human that caused it all.

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Eventually the two develop a mutual understanding that turns into a friendship with Arlo and his sort-of pet, later named Spot (voiced by Jack Bright), trying to not only find their way back home but also survive predators, the most threatening of all being nature itself.

A Toast

You’ve likely heard by now that The Good Dinosaur has some of the most amazing visuals ever put to screen in an animated film. That is no exaggeration. The landscapes, water, rocks, and clouds must be seen to be believed, all the more in 3D, which is utilized brilliantly. It is absolutely stunning. The photo-realistic imagery stands out even more contrasted with the cartoonish style of the characters, a risky choice that paid off. The beauty and danger make nature a multi-faceted character all its own.

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You can’t really tell from this picture, but trust me, it’s incredible.

Despite the film’s infamous reputation for its numerous production delays, rewrites, and crew/casting changes, the end result is a satisfying one, if a little unusual. That’s not a bad thing; it’s just an interesting mix of ideas with the story taking some odd turns including an extended sequence of a Tyrannosaurus Rex family herding longhorns (featuring Sam Elliot, who turns in the most entertaining vocal performance of the film) that feels right out of a Western, and a few instances that are more violent and dark than anything Pixar has done before (heads up to parents: there’s some brutal stuff).

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But at its core, the narrative is a simple one. Yes, one that’s been told several times before with the familiar themes of growing up, conquering fears, and letting go, but that in no way diminishes the film and its clever twist on the ol’ boy and his dog story. There are several funny moments and Arlo and Spot meet some amusing characters along the way. It’s a fun, wacky, and gorgeous ride that draws the viewer in and doesn’t let go.

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Pixar is of-course known for those magic moments that can turn even the coldest-hearted grouch into a pile of mush and not to worry, we get a few of those here. The most moving are between Arlo and Spot, one in particular so heart-wrenching beautiful and perfectly executed it deserves to stand alongside Pixar’s most memorable. What I’m saying is, you will cry.

A lot.

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Always appropriate.

I should also note the pre-film short Sanjay’s Super Team is worth getting to the theater early for.

Beer Two

Somewhere during the numerous rewrites, the pages of the revised screenplay must have inadvertently gotten stuck together with one for a Seth Rogen movie (a la Rachel’s trifle recipe on Friends). That’s the only possible explanation for how a scene of Arlo and Spot tripping balls on fermented fruit came to be.

sethrogan

We really only need one of these this holiday season.

While the film has several moments throughout the unlikely pair’s journey that initially feel out of place, they still end up working for the most part. This is not one of them. It’s just plain weird. And kind of terrifying.  And I’m a grown adult.

Verdict

It’s really too bad that many are calling The Good Dinosaur an inferior Pixar movie or comparing it unfavorably to this year’s earlier Inside Out, because if anyone allows that to affect their decision to see this sweet, touching, and visually breathtaking, if generically titled film, they are seriously missing out.

insideout

And if you do compare the two films, just don’t use the term “derivative” when talking about The Good Dinosaur.

2beers

About BabyRuth

Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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