The Good Dinosaur Review!

Jondee here at Pangea (the super continent of the prehistoric era),

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The Good Dinosaur is the second Pixar movie this year after Inside Out. Sure, Jurassic World had dinos, but it didn’t have Spot or even the hedgehogs that pop out of their holes. The Good Dinosaur is directed by Peter Sohn who led it through its long development. The film of course moves from its premise that the asteroid missed the Earth and dinos continue to live on the Earth. They have the cartoony designs, the Apatosaurus’ are bright green, like a children’s book. This is set in a landscape beautifully rendered by Pixar in Western plains, mountains, and a river. Short time-out for the short at the beginning of the film, “Sanjay’s Super Team” by animator Sanjay Patel. Little Sanjay wants to play with his superhero figure and watch the animated show. His father wants him to pray. Sanjay joins him and accidentally knocks out the candle. This sends him into a dreamscape where the snuffed candle unleashes a demon. Sanjay sees the three religious figures come to life from statues and battle the demon. Still, it’s Sanjay who saves the day and brings his new interest to his drawing pad showing his father Sanjay’s Super Team. This is a fun mix of superheroes with religious, but not heavy overtones.

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Back to the saurians, there is great respect paid for Westerns with farmers and cowboys, you really want to take a trip out to these probably imaginary sites. It is set with the corn farm of Henry (Jeffrey Wright) and Ida (Frances McDormand) who soon have their three eggs hatch. Buck (Marcus Scribner) who goes around bashing everything with a club, Libby (Maleah Padilla), and finally the big egg which cracks open to reveal a tiny, frightened Arlo (Raymond Ochoa). The voices start out with their younger selves, but soon grow up a little. Libby plays tricks on Buck getting him to spray the fields with water so that her chore is done. Arlo is assigned to feed the chicken coop, but the chickens are vicious. Poppa builds a silo for the corn with Momma and they place their paw prints on some stones. Only Arlo is left without making a mark. Poppa takes him out at night to show him the wonder of the fireflies with a sweep of his tail. The next day, he places Arlo in charge of finding the “critter” who has been stealing the corn. The trap catches the “critter”, Arlo finds that it is a feral human boy (voiced by Jack Bright), and he lets him go.

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Poppa wants to chase after the boy with Arlo as the night rains lash at them. Arlo falls and Poppa changes his mind. The rains have swollen the river. Poppa is lost after saving his son. They chase and both are thrown into the river. He hears the growling of the “critter” up a cliff and climbs up it. Arlo finds out that he is far away from Clawtooth Mountain with the farm at its base. He finds some fallen berries and falls trying to get more, ending up trapped under a boulder. Arlo wakes up the next day to find that the “critter” has dug his trapped foot free. He has to build a shelter of tree from the rain and later the “critter” brings him a lizard, a giant bug, and finally the berries. Arlo gobbles the berries and wants more. The “critter” leads him up the mountain, he climbs in Tarzan boy fashion. There’s a funny scene, where he bites Arlo to form a bridge. Finally, they reach a berry bush and the feral boy starts growling. A massive, red snake creature is there and knocks Arlo down. The “critter” fights off the snake creature and Arlo is met by a hippy Styracosaurus (Peter Sohn’s voice) who carries “critters” as protection. They both get into naming the boy until he responds to Arlo’s name, “Spot.” There is an incredible moment where Arlo uses sticks to represent his family and plows a circle around them with his snout. Spot plants three small sticks and then buries two of them, he has lost his family!

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They run into a group of Pterodactyls led by Thunderclap (Steve Zahn) who believes the storms have provided critters for him to eat. They flee and run into a pair of T-Rexes, Nash (A.J. Buckley) and Ramsey (Anna Paquin). Their father, Butch, the only voice I recognized, is voiced by Sam Elliot. Arlo proves they are helpful with Spot’s sniffing tracking the herd. They share scars over a campfire and then later find the herd of massive bison. There is also Rustlers which Butch has Arlo to get their attention. They are feathered velociraptors. Arlo is able to help Butch drive them off and he is also handy helping to guide the herd. They part ways and get closer to Clawtooth Mountain. Spot howls and Arlo joins him. They are answered by another howl. An older human! Arlo wants them to continue on their way home and he will conquer his fear to reunite with his family. The movie has great heart, incredible animation (some scenes like the storm looked great in 3D), and I prefer these dinos over the one-note Jurassic dinos. Five Howls out of Five!

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