Movies / Reviews

MOVIE REVIEW: The Good Dinosaur is a Visually Stunning & Heartwarming Example of Pixar at Its Best

TGD MAIN

Like good dinosaurs, good outlaws are all but extinct.

 

As a 37 year-old with the maturity of a 7 year-old, cartoons (or animation as more sophisticated grownups call it) continue to be a staple of my media diet. Having grown up on the hand-drawn format, a big part of me still enjoys entertainment of the non-reality kind. Some might argue my love of animated works has little to do with my stunted maturity as the massive quantity of adult-geared cartoons have made the art form more mainstream than anytime in history. However, if you’ve read even two sentences of my blog writings, you’ll know that calling me a 7 year-old is probably giving me too much credit.

Another tidbit of information readers of Geek Outlaw have – for better or for worse – come to realize, is I have a somewhat ravenous obsession with the over-sized lizards known as dinosaurs. This extreme fascination has presented itself most recently when talking about my profuse enjoyment of the Jurassic Park franchise and the fact I sleep with my Dinobot collection every night should give insight into my mindset… and why I’m probably still single.

 

The Good World

Indominus who? Presenting a true Jurassic showdown worthy of pay per view.

 

Just when the excitement of receiving my Jurassic World Blu-Ray collector’s set was waning, along comes Disney Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. I first caught wind of the film several years ago, and was immediately drawn to the premise of what might happen if the Texas-sized asteroid hadn’t hit earth and dinosaurs went on living for millions years, intermingling with none other than human. Initially slated for a Summer 2014 release, the film was pushed back by Pixar as they felt the original concept (and director Bob Peterson) needed some changes.

 

TheGoodDinosaur Original

The Not-So-Good Dinosaur v1.0

 

While no one outside the axed director and top Pixar insiders will ever know how the project may have looked had nothing been tweaked, the final product released this past Thanksgiving weekend is nothing short of incredible. Calling it good would be the understatement of the last paleontological era. Here is my top four reasons The Good Dinosaur is one of Pixar’s best films to date.

 

1) A Prehistoric Masterpiece for the Eyes

If there’s one thing about this flick most will agree on, it’s absolutely a sight to behold. Mother Outlaw – whom I went to see the film with – and I sat through the entire end credits with the specific goal of finding out if Pixar had intertwined real outdoor videography with the character animations overlaid. We we’re flabbergasted (I love that word) to find out the film was completely computer generated. Yeah, it was that good. Suffice it to say, the 3D provided additional depth that only added to the realism.

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Someone’s eyes are bigger than their stomach…

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Unfortunately, Pepto is still a few years off…

 

2) Heart as big as an Apatosaurus

Pulling on the proverbial heart strings is not new territory for Pixar. If anything, it’s as prominent as plastic surgery in Hollywood. Instead of the mish-mash of emotions within their last effort, Pixar stuck with one this time around with the emphasis put on overcoming fear. In addition, the importance of friendship and family were themes heavily woven into the film with tear-inducing success. Without spoiling too much, make sure to have plenty of Kleenex or sleeves on hand, especially for the final scene.

Friendship TGD

If you want to see the Outlaw sob like a 4-month old, watch a Pixar movie with him.

 

3) Funny Bones, Not Fossils

Along with the water-works, Pixar is also adept at bringing the laughter. It’s not that integrating laughs with tears into a body of work is a new concept; more so it’s the way the studio is able to incorporate different levels of humor into the mix that keep the kids eyes glued to the screen and the parents eyes from rolling into the back of their heads. Nevertheless, Pixar has never failed to disappoint (with the exception of Inside Out in which I laughed a total of once very quietly). That said, this is no Toy Story where hilarity comes a mile a minute. The Good Dinosaur has plenty of humor, but it’s rightfully more subdued and fits the mood of the film to great effect.

Humor TGD

Well don’t look at me, I just work here.

 

4) Yippe-Kay-Ay Little Dino

One of the most out-of-left-field surprises for me revolved around something many people might not even realize upon first viewing; The Good Dinosaur is a western! Well, it has an infusion of the old west via the way in which the dinosaurs live their daily lives. The plant eaters farm while the meat eaters heard their food like cattle. The revelation of the old west twist was a welcome addition for this Outlaw. (And there were even some outlaws thrown in the film for good measure as well.)

Western TGD

How the west was fossilized.

 

5) Sam Elliot as a T-Rex

Sam Elliot lends his unmistakably iconic voice to Butch the T-Rex. Nuff said.

Butch TGD

I don’t know why, but I have the sudden urge to buy a fully loaded Dodge Ram.

 

When I walked out of the theater, I couldn’t put my finger on any one thing I disliked about this movie. Even the score was beautifully done. It was emotional when apt while also fitting into the frontier spin on the film. Truth be told, I haven’t been impressed with any of Pixar’s releases since Toy Story 3, especially this summer’s release of Inside Out. (And yes, I’m in the minority but this Outlaw likes what he likes and dislikes what he dislikes.)

Based on my dino-obsession-confession earlier, there is obviously going to be some bias in what I’m about to say, however The Good Dinosaur officially ranks as one of my favorite Pixar films of all-time, if not my favorite. At minimum it ranks in the top three with Toy Story 3 and A Bug’s Life. Those two films definitely had more laughs and creativity, but the challenge of overcoming fear and the importance of family have become important themes in my own life recently. Dino-biases aside, I think most Disney and Pixar fans will find this film entertaining on one level or another.

 

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I’d take credit for this diorama but you all already know my artistic talent lies somewhere between a fruit fly and a gnat.

 

The Good Dinosaur may have been pushed back from its original release date for well over a year, but even without knowing how the first version would have turned out, I can unequivocally say without a shadow of a doubt, it was well worth the wait. Hell, after waiting more than 65 million years, what’s another year or so between inter-species friends.

 

6 Spurs

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