MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “The Good Dinosaur” is the newest Pixar film as it is voiced by Raymond Ochoa (A Christmas Carol , Mars Needs Moms), Jack Bright, Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Source Code), Francis McDormand (Fargo, Blood Simple), Marcus Scribner (Black-ish [TV series], Castle [TV series]), Steve Zahn (Daddy Day Care, Sahara), Sam Elliot (Hulk , Up in the Air), A.J. Buckley (Happy Feet, Disturbing Behavior), Anna Paquin (X-Men , The Piano), Peter Sohn (Ratatouille, Monsters University), and John Ratzenberger (Toy Story, Monsters Inc.). It is directed by Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy [short]) and is written by Bob Peterson (Up, Finding Nemo), Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, Captain Marvel), Erik Benson (Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation), and Kelsey Mann. Millions of years ago, a meteorite supposedly caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. But what if the meteorite never crashed on earth? In the present, Arlo (Ochoa), an Apatosaurus, is growing up on a farm. He is one of three children and all of his life he has been the odd one out of the bunch. While his siblings earn respect from their chores of tending to the farm, Arlo always screws up. In hopes of “making his mark,” on his plantation and in life, Arlo must do a task that he would never do. But, whenever he ends up not doing it, a tragedy happens which then sends Arlo away from his home. In hopes of getting back, Arlo must become friends with a human (Bright) that he has found, for this human seems to be the only one with survival skills.
I didn’t expect to see this movie after watching one Pixar film this year, and judging by the trailer that I saw before this was released, I didn’t think much of it. The idea seemed interesting enough, but with the overload of dinosaur-related movies that have come out as of late, those being “Jurassic World” and many other unknown knockoffs that show up on Redbox, I wasn’t edging to see this. Now having seen it in theaters, I will say that it surprised me. It was actually pretty good. I’ve heard comparisons to “Finding Nemo” with how a dinosaur gets lost and has to find his way home is similar to Nemo getting taken and having his dad find him, but overall this was relatively original. This whole concept was rather odd, especially seeing dinosaurs do a human’s work, with Arlo’s family being farmers. They grow corn, feed chickens, and chop wood. What made it even more creepy was how they treated humans like animals or “critters,” with Arlo being task to capture and kill one of them. It felt like a “Planet of the Apes” kind of thing. Something all Pixar films have in common is how entertaining they are, even their rather disappointing releases (“Cars 2,” “Brave”). This movie was no exception. I had fun watching this movie. All of the elements that made up this film are engaging and fun, the biggest being the animation. It’s Beautiful, stunning, and realistic. Pixar has obtained a new high in this with their photo-realistic landscapes and backgrounds. It was amazing. I enjoyed watching every bit of detail in this release from the rustling trees to the rapid waters. There is a minor problem with this, however. That is the comparison between the realistic landscapes and the cartoon characters. Don’t get me wrong, the detailing on the characters was also intricate, but it was weird to watch. An example would be how a blocky, bold-colored Apatosaurus would dig into the dirty, real life soil to plant seeds. It would have been more seamless if the characters were life-like as well. The pacing with this story was fast, jumping from one conflict to another quickly. This isn’t that bad since the whole movie is focused on Arlo and Spot always on the move to get home, but it makes all of the things they encounter rather scattered and random. I like all of the characters they met, but it felt jumbled. The last thing I have to say about the story is how it caught me off guard in terms of its grit. There were some gross, messed up things in this. One scene between Arlo and Spot eating made me cringe. This was unexpected because of how it is supposed to be a “family” movie. But, the grit is good since it doesn’t make it too kiddy. There were some touching moments in this, and I will admit that one or two of them got me. I didn’t tear up though, it was just sad. That’s what Pixar does best, it pulls at the heart strings. With cons, besides the ones I listed, there were some other minor ones that aren’t really worth mentioning. Although I do want to say that Arlo must have the most strongest bones of any dinosaurs. One perk of this great, realistic animation of the backgrounds is how the terrain acts like it would in real life. Arlo fell off of cliffs, got hit by loads of water, and fell on rocks several times. Every time he did, I locked up because if I did stuff like that, I would be in a cast. But, he’s the main character, so we don’t want him to be down for the count before the adventure begins. Overall, this isn’t one of Pixar’s most finest, but with that in mind, I would say that this was very entertaining. It still has some heart, and I’m always a sucker for a Pixar movie…well, if it’s good that is. And this was good. I’d recommend any Pixar fan to check this out. FINAL SCORE: 87%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
Just like my last Pixar review for “Inside Out,” this is a double review, in which I review the Pixar short that came before the feature presentation. Like the previous short I reviewed, this one will not be entered into a running at the awards or be put into a monthly ranking. I review these simply for my enjoyment and love for shorts.
MOVIE SHORT REVIEW: Pixar’s latest short is entitled “Sanjay’s Super Team,” which is directed by Sanjay Patel. In the short, a young boy named Sanjay is sitting in front of his TV watching superheroes. When his father, a Hindu, goes into the room to pray, Sanjay is prompted to learn a lesson of what is more important in life.
Okay, so after seeing Pixar’s rather disappointing short, “Lava,” when I saw “Inside Out,” I was hoping for something better and a little less cartoonish (the volcano singing wasn’t anything Oscar-worthy). I did think “Lava” was okay though, and after seeing this new short, “Sanjay’s Super Team,” I have to say that “Lava” trumped it. I couldn’t begin to explain how disappointed I was seeing this short. You want to know why? It was not engaging. I couldn’t connect to it whatsoever. What all Pixar shorts try to accomplish in their small runtime is a lesson that people can take from. The lesson of this short? You can blend the modern world and Hinduism at the same time. What? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Now, before I say anything else, I want to say that I respect all cultures. I actually find them all interesting, and for Pixar to reach out to new ways of life makes for original stories. But, this is more of a matter of religion, and I can only agree with one. I’m not a Hindu, nor do I believe in what they do, so seeing the opening shots of this showing a son watching TV next to his dad who pulls a rug out to pray on took me by surprise. They’re bold, I give them that, but I wasn’t interested. This whole thing was focused on a subject that I didn’t want to really watch. What got me through it all would be the animation, which was top-notch like always. I liked the new style of this animation, where there were two different types to see. But the animation is a given, so there wasn’t much of anything new in this that hooked me in. I’m sure those who believe in Hinduism or this lesson would get a kick out of it though, and I can tell that the man who wrote this, Sanjay, was speaking from the heart, so at least it wasn’t a thrown together piece that a company thought would shock people. I don’t know, what’s my opinion in this matter worth anyway? I mean, I’m a Christian and whoever is reading this are either a Christian who agrees with me based on their religion, a “Christian” or a Hindu who doesn’t agree with me, or just random people who don’t care about religion that could find me offensive. Whatever the case is, my point would remain the same: this was a disappointing short that gave me little reason to love it or enjoy it. FINAL SCORE: 46%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is a clip for the short: