Friday, November 27, 2015

The Good Dinosaur (2015)

IMDb plot summary: An epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend.
Directed by Peter Sohn. Starring Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, and Steve Zahn.

(Spoilers ahead.)

Let me get this out of the way first: This movie looks gorgeous. It's incredible animation. The scenery is stunning, and the characters themselves always look so great against it. There are so many beautiful shots in this movie, so if you like animation or visuals, it's probably worth seeing just because of that.

That being said though... this is lower-tier Pixar. Still pretty good, but it's not a very original story, and it was incredibly easy to pinpoint major plot points early on. (At the opening shot of Arlo's parents waiting for the eggs to hatch, my husband leaned over and whispered to me, "Well, now we know that one of them is going to die." It took another 15 minutes for that to happen, but it got there.)

On top of that, though, the tone of this movie is... odd. It gets unusually dark and surreal for Pixar. Everything just feels a little unsettling, from the cult pterodactyls to the dinosaur stashing birds on his head to the 10-second drug trip. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, where we see elements of things we recognize but everything is just a little... off. The vibe is different than it is with most Pixar flicks, and I couldn't shake the sense of "wrong"ness I felt from it.

The best parts of this movie are those without words. Pixar really excels in creating emotional scenes with barely any dialogue, and those are the moments that stand out here. The scene where Arlo teaches Spot the concept of family is one of the most hauntingly beautiful scenes Pixar's ever done, and returning Spot to his new family at the end was equally moving. If there had been more of those moments and less bizarre cattle rustling and eerie pterodactyl fleeing, this movie would have been a lot higher on my list.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
The Good Dinosaur > Melinda and Melinda
The Good Dinosaur < Pretty Woman
The Good Dinosaur > A Separation
The Good Dinosaur < The Green Mile
The Good Dinosaur < Duck Soup
The Good Dinosaur < Grosse Pointe Blank
The Good Dinosaur > The Time Traveler's Wife
The Good Dinosaur < Men in Black III
The Good Dinosaur > Identity
The Good Dinosaur < A Bug's Life
Final spot: #873 out of 2393.

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