This year, we have been blessed by Disney/Pixar with their comeback film ‘Inside Out’ reclaiming their throne in the animation game. But aside from that unforgettable modern masterpiece that yet again left us an emotional wreck, the popular animation studio has brought another another feature this year with the long-delayed ‘The Good Dinosaur’.
‘Inside Out’ may have unsurprisingly received critical acclaim and because of its’ unconventional plotting, it has been claimed by many as one of the best films of the year. Even if the former indulges in its’ well-deserved success, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ still manages to be compelling with its’ classical structure and a slight hint of boldness. Despite of Pete Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen’s film being a complexity of brilliance, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ chooses to go a much plainer route but it walks on one that seems to bring out the best and for lack of a better term, the weakest of the film. To put it more bluntly, this film is fairly simple even if it seems to be the biggest film Pixar has put out yet due to how “grand” it looks. It may even be too simple that it doesn’t bring anything extraordinary, but on the other hand at times it could still be engaging. While the simplistic nature of the film is worthy of receiving praise, how predictable the plot turns out to be is what makes it a tad bit underwhelming. Sad to say ‘The Good Dinosaur’ doesn’t bring anything groundbreaking to Pixar, for it tells a story that we have heard and seen a thousand times only this time, it’s done with Pixar’s stylishness. Fortunately enough, the narrative is still terrific and poignant even if it at times it feels generic and admittedly like a Pixar-ized retelling of another tale. On the brighter side though, the film becomes captivating at best and it accomplishes that task thanks to the beautiful animation that appeals to the senses.
Moving on the more positive side of the film, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ uses the principle “Simplicity is key”, and the film justifies that notion to the fullest, even if it means batting it over our head for several times during the film. Like what I said, it doesn’t require you to use your brain that much but it isn’t mindless either even if it does indeed have a comprehensible narrative. No it doesn’t hurt your noggin, but it does ask us to open both our heart and minds, and doing so fills ours with different opinions, lessons, and reflections that should leave us enlightened. To be a little bit more straightforward, the film uses “fear” and “love” as its’ main themes and those are ever present as a majority of scenes serve as metaphors for various ideas/lessons regarding said subject matter. Yes, this has been countless times, but still these scenes don’t only bring wonderful moments that entertain, but they also speak to its’ viewers quasi-directly with its’ sheer amount of frankness and sincerity as well as educating us from the heart with the valuable lessons it teaches us just like a classic Pixar film does. Surprisingly for a Pixar film that is not ‘Cars 2′, The Good Dinosaur contains a sizable amount of comedy for good measure. However, the humor thrown in is utilized to teach us a thing or two even if it makes us laugh with its’ cleverness.
Like its’ predecessors, it does require you to use your heart the most and it greatly demands it as we sit along this heartwarming and emotional journey. Granted, we’re watching animated characters onscreen but the film profoundly deceives with the influx of feelings and emotions these fictional creations emanate which causes us to think that this isn’t just another animated tale but also a film that tests our humanity and soul. ‘The Good Dinosaur’ does that in full effect that it becomes highly affecting and it never fails to make us emotional. Predictably so, it brought tears to my eyes and caught me surrounded with its’ heartfelt telling of a tale. With all that being said, it is one of the year’s most beautiful films even if it is flawed. What makes it more bewitching is how alluring it is. The lush environment that surrounds its’ characters make for an immersive experience that arrests with all its’ might. It could be said without a doubt that this is Pixar’s most visually stunning feature yet thanks to its’ picturesque animation and believably real landscapes. However, it could be sensed that the film uses the realistic animation as an excuse for the by-the-numbers narrative it has to offer.
While watching ‘The Good Dinosaur’, I couldn’t help but wonder if the characters I’m seeing are really animated creatures or real human beings. Maybe it’s me but right off the bat, all I see are real human families under all that animation. This is because the movie depicts these characters so well and with the partnering of the actors’ terrific voice-work and their evocative delivery of lines, you could really sense what they are feeling whether it’s fear, love, or something else. It kind of has that realism to it because of that aspect having effectiveness and the utilization of characters, as well as the relatability that these beings deliver. For the film’s entirety, it has always been a self-discovery for our main character. However, a certain instance occurs which allows him to be accompanied by this adorable little creature (or human child) he dubs “Spot”. This produces a wonderful bond between the two, and it charms us delightfully so with the lovely moments they produce. Characters come and go, and they usually don’t overstay their welcome. They are indeed memorable, but never forgettable for the moments they crafted with our main characters leave an impact that is rather small but still quite worth cherishing for the time allotted.
In the end, ‘The Good Dinosaur’ could be both your typical animated film that mistakes being derivative as a strength for the simplistic nature it possesses and also a really beautifully animated tale that never ceases to be captivating despite its’ shortcomings. To be a little bit more frank it is still great, but there are just some aspects looking for improvement that drags it down from being another potential Pixar classic. Particularly, the foreseeable narrative that uses the playbook of the others that came before it.
‘The Good Dinosaur’ is now showing in Philippine cinemas nationwide in 3D. Distributed by Walt Disney Studios.