Follow Us on Twitter

The Good Dinosaur - DVD Review

The Good Dinosaur

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

PIXAR’S second release of 2015 may not boast the invention of Inside Out but The Good Dinosaur nevertheless remains a hugely enjoyable experience.

By turns breath-taking to look at and emotionally engaging, the film has to rate as a triumph for the way in which it can appeal to audiences of every age while perhaps relying more on classic storytelling elements rather than anything subversive or pioneering.

The story focuses on a young Apatosaurus named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa), who tragically loses his father (Jeffrey Wright) in a rain-storm and becomes separated from his family in a flood, as he attempts to make it back home to his mother (Frances McDormand) with an unlikely ally in a scrappy Neanderthal boy named Spot (Jack Bright) for companionship.

The friendship that ensues will help both dinosaur and boy face off against seemingly insurmountable odds, whether in the form of perilous landscapes and weather, or the fellow creatures that roam their world.

Directed by Peter Sohn, who made his directorial debut with the Pixar short film Partly Cloudy, The Good Dinosaur borrows heavily from the same coming-of-age dynamic as classic Disney tales such as The Lion King or even Pixar’s own Finding Nemo but – thanks in no small part to its stunning visuals – still manages to retain an identity of its own.

The film is a work of art to behold, whether it’s watching Arlo and his father roam through a night-time field of fire-flies or Arlo and Spot charge through a stampeding field of buffalo with three T-Rex in tow.

Hence, no matter how generic certain plot beats become, Sohn always has another arresting image to put on the screen… and it’s undoubtedly here that The Good Dinosaur yields its greatest rewards.

But the characterisation is strong too, with Arlo and Spot forging a partnership that genuinely endears, whether making you laugh along with their mis-adventures or tugging at the heart-strings given the sadness that both have to endure. The climactic moments of the film, in particular, are genuinely poignant.

The set pieces, on the other hand, are often thrilling and delivered with an intensity that may leave younger viewers searching for the comforting embrace of their parent. But like Disney classics such as Bambi and The Lion King before it, such emotional highs and lows come with the territory for this kind of tale – and this is a world inhabited by some fierce creatures after all!

Hence, while fans of Pixar’s most creatively adventurous work (Inside Out/Wall-E, etc) may lament the more straight-forward approach of The Good Dinosaur, that still shouldn’t detract from its accomplishments. Sohn’s film is a visual masterpiece that warms the heart and captivates viewers of every age.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 101mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: March 21, 2016