Have you ever wondered what the Earth would be like if the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs had actually missed? Well if you have, the guys and girls over at Disney-Pixar have got you covered with their latest, The Good Dinosaur.
The opening scene provides the notion that the chunk of rock destined for Earth all those millions of years ago does actually miss. The dino’s barely looking up from their eating.
The story starts with the introduction to a corn-farming dinosaur family, just as their three new-borns hatch. We have Buck who’s the big strong son, voiced by Ryan Teeple (Big Sur) and Marcus Scribner (Castle, Black-ish), then Libby who’s the clever daughter, voiced by Maleah Nipay-Padilla (Fruitvale Station, American Brawler) and finally Arlo, voiced by Jack McGraw (Workaholics, Caesar and Otto’s Paranormal Halloween) and Raymond Ochoa (Monsters University, A Christmas Carol) (young voice and older voice respectively).
Arlo is, well, I’d guess you’d say he’s the runt of the litter. Not as big as his brother or sister and certainly not as big as his momma, voiced by Frances McDormand (Fargo, Mississippi Burning), or poppa, voiced by Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Source Code) and scared of pretty much everything.
As Arlo’s momma, poppa, brother and sister make their mark (putting their print on the store house), Arlo is left frustrated that he doesn’t seem to be able to do the same. His poppa decides to set his son a task of killing a critter that’s been eating their corn. This critter turns out to be an early human, a little boy who acts more like a wolf. Arlo doesn’t kill him and instead ends up going on an epic journey with the young boy.
Firstly, special mention has to go to the animation. It is simply breath-taking. In fact, so much so that I’m still not sure if what I saw was animated or actual video shot somewhere with animation over the top. The trees, the skyline, the water, the mountains everything was just simply stunning.
The characters, as you’d expect from a Disney-Pixar film, are brilliant. As well as the dinosaurs and the human, Spot – who doesn’t actually speak – you meet some evil birds, voiced by Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club, Sahara), Mandy Freund (Brave, Inside Out) and Steven Clay Hunter (The Incredibles, WALL-E). There’s some T-Rex’s, voiced by A.J. Buckley (Happy Feet, Disturbing Behaviour), Anna Paquin (The Piano, True Blood) and Sam Elliot (Hulk, Tombstone) with perennial Pixar favourite John Ratzenberger (Toy Story, WALL-E) making an appearance too.
Director Peter Sohn (who directed the short Partly Cloudy) worked on the story along with Erik Benson (Toy Story 3), Meg LeFauve – who also wrote the screenplay – (Inside Out, Captain Marvel), Kelsey Mann (Megas XLR, The Amazing Screw-On Head) and Bob Peterson (Up, Finding Nemo). This was after some fairly drastic changes to the original planned story for the movie.
This has everything you’d want from a Disney-Pixar movie. Fantastic animation, great characters, my personal favourite being Spot the human, funny moments, very sad/poignant moments and a nice heart-warming message to go along with it all. It’s perhaps the most Disney of Pixar films I’ve seen in a while but still very, very good.