Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Most movie fans around the world should be familiar with Pixar Animation Studios. In fact, I think all movie fans MUST get to know the company if they have not yet do so. Here’s a little brief. The animation company had its roots from two giants of the entertainment and media industry. It started in the 1970s as a small department in George Lucas’s company, Lucasfilm. As Pixar grew into a corporation, former Apple co-founder Steve Jobs became a majority shareholder. In 2006, The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar and the animation studio has made its home there ever since. This year, marks the 20th year anniversary of Pixar since its first animated feature film Toy Story in 1995. This year also marks the first time Pixar is releasing two films in a year rather than one film every two to three years. Technically, this is quite an extraordinary feat as animation is not easy to do and one animated feature film usually takes three to four years to develop. The majority of their films have received critical acclaim. I will be reviewing the second film released by Pixar this year.

The film’s title is The Good Dinosaur. It marks the directorial debut of Peter Sohn who has worked as a story artist on other Pixar films. The film features the voice talents of Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, Steve Zahn, and John Ratzenberger. The film is written by Meg LeFauve who also wrote Inside Out, the other Pixar film released this year.

How will Pixar’s latest animated feature film fare up to the other films? Do read on…

Meet Arlo and his 'surprise' companion
The film begins with the idea of what if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago did not make an impact on our planet Earth. Naturally, the dinosaurs today will be roaming Earth freely as the dominant species. In this alternate reality, we meet a young dinosaur named Arlo who lives with his parents and two brothers on a farm. Being the youngest, Arlo is regularly given lighter chores and constantly seeking approval from his parents. On a trip in the jungle one day with his father, a fierce storm caused Arlo to separate and resulted in the unfortunate death of his father. Now, young Arlo is lost in the wilderness and desperately trying to find his way home. Together with a little ‘surprise’ friend, he ventures on his journey.

Human: Category cuteness

Decently appealing and quite nice. It is obvious that animated feature films in general are usually geared towards children. However, Pixar films usually mixes in adult themes so the parents can enjoy too. The storyline is pretty much straight-forward in which the ending is predictable. The interesting elements in the script are the various types of discoveries in which the protagonist (hero) encounters along the way to a destination. There were interesting things in which Arlo discovers but I felt there wasn’t enough and needed more. The dialogue was okay. What I liked about the story is the many positive underlying themes such as courage, determination, teamwork, and many more. I would have loved to have more humour in the script.

Adventure in the wilderness...

The voice acting performance of the entire cast was not too bad. An exceptional good performance was provided by young actor Raymond Ochoa who voiced the protagonist Arlo. Another voice that I enjoyed listening was Sam Elliot's deep vocals. He just has one of those voices that is instantly recognizable and love hearing to. He plays the adult Tyrannosaurus Rex.

And more adventure in the wilderness...

I have worked professionally as a director and producer in television for 15 years. I am have dealt with many types of production and animation is one of them. Although my knowledge is not as great as seasoned veterans in the field but I am a fan of its techniques. From a technical standpoint, this film is one of the better of Pixar films when it comes to animation. The greenery (grass, trees) and liquid (water, tears) are some of the best I have seen. They look quite photo-realistic as if they were filmed with an actual film camera. However, I felt the editing could have been improved more to make the action scenes tighter and edgier.

Along the way they meet more dinosaurs and became friends...

Good start, but the middle part became a little draggy but picked up pace towards the end.

And friends taking some time to get more acquainted...

Just a little draggy when it comes to the story. That is about the only downside I can think of.

A movie is incomplete if there aren't any antagonists (villains)...

There were many and really good underlying positive themes which can be beneficial for the younger audience.

And not forgetting surprise appearances here. This character is voiced by the film's director Peter Sohn.

It is quite a good film. In essence it is a family-oriented film, told somewhat like a cowboy Western film from yesteryears, which I think is creative. A good family film for all to enjoy.

An angle reminiscent of old cowboy Western films which became somewhat a trademark

8 out of 10.




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