Pixar’s newest release has premiered for the holiday week. This movie had a delay of release where it was supposed to be released last year. But, so far there has been a lot of good things to say about the film.
Let’s dive into a hopefully not to controversial topic to review. Sound and music play a huge part in films whether we realize it or not. For this film to take place in not just a prehistoric setting, but if the prehistoric setting stayed closer to our time, it takes some creativity to make the right sound effects. Sound design was great and not distracting from any of the movie.
Music was done well. There aren’t any songs to sing from this, but I think that works out for the better. The Danna brothers did a fine job of having something unique for Good Dinosaur, but not being too unique that we concentrate very hard on it. I liked the tribal percussion that was intermixed with symphonic melodies. It’s a soundtrack I would listen to outside of the film. But, wasn’t the most memorable. Just enjoyable.
I thought the voice actors did a wonderful job with their characters. There was so much characterization to the voice acting that it did a better job of making great characters maybe more than the actual visuals. Even Spot, the human, had voice work that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own for this pet-like boy. It was different from the jungle orphan voices we can hear in other films. I enjoyed the acting quite a bit.
Here’s where the movie shines the most. The environments are so realistic I thought for sure it was very high tech photos made to become a 3D environment, or something like that. But, they’re really cgi. They’ve made the setting gorgeous. Then there’s the characters. Yes, the dinosaurs have a fairly cartoony look to them. But, they end up fitting well with the background. Besides this, the amount of detail and subtle animation to each figure is amazing! There is so much realism, so much animation, that this is one of the most visually stunning films ever. I was also amazed to see the realistic background react to the characters, showing that they are all computer generated.
Here’s where I have some issues, but am forgiving. The story has a good plot going for it. I like the message that it brings, and some of the main points that help it along. But, I feel it falls short at being a great plot and a great story. There are some superfluous elements to it. Sadly, Spot is one of them. The movie originated as telling a tale of the world if dinosaurs never became extinct. So, Spot feels like a leftover of this type of story. He doesn’t have to be human, but it’s nice. Does the whole story need to take place in this alternate timeline of dinosaurs still roaming the earth? Not really. The main problem and solution could happen even if it took place in the known history of dinos we have.
The story is unique and new to Pixar films, and even Disney ones. It’s refreshing. A lot of elements, like the characters, help the plot along nicely. There are some great surprises of plot points that I couldn’t believe were in a kids film, but reinforced the main thesis of the film. And there were the emotional elements of it. Animation, sound, music all helped these moments bring tears to many in the audience.
But, it doesn’t help fully get the point across to overcome fear for the greater good. However, I do view it as a good execution considering this film had a complete overhaul mid-production. They did as much as they could with the time they had. And, that time was so short.
So, is “The Good Dinosaur” worth the theater viewing? Yes! Visually stunning. Unique story. Fun characters. It’s worth it. Is it the best Pixar film? In my opinion, no. Is it the worst? No. Story execution may not be the best, but it still is a great development of plot. The more I’ve thought about the film post viewing, the more I think I enjoy it. That may sound like a bad thing, but I think it’s a strength of good Pixar films. I’ve had that with Monsters, Inc. for example. It was enjoyable, but it stuck with me after viewing that I wanted to see it again. Good Dino seems to be doing that for me. So, perhaps it will end up being higher on the list of favorite Pixar films. For now, I think it was good, but not something I was super excited about after. Am I glad I watched it? Yes! Very much. But, also warning it may not be up to par with what you think is a great Pixar film. Feel free to let me know if you think differently by leaving comments. I’d love to hear what you think!