FILM REVIEW: The Good Dinosaur


Good Day All:
So like everyone else I've had time to read the reviews of the film The Good Dinosaur, and a lot has been said and a lot has not. My favorites being Charlie Jane Anders synopsized on io9,  Which is why I've decided to do my write up even with the less than stellar second-week numbers landing today. I feel the fact that we can discuss any part of our likes and dislikes; is a plus for the film. Yes, I too see segments where the film could have explored a bit further in the story development. What seems to be the biggest contributor to the conversations that I've had with people about the film itself, is the "what if..." question. I feel the public knowledge that the movie was switching directors in the middle of production has jaded viewers to seek out why such an action happened, and the only method of quantifying our assumptions is visual.

I immediately thought of Brave, when I saw The Good Dinosaur for the first time. In my review of Brave after multiple viewings is that Mark Andrews should have been given 100% creative control in fleshing out his ideas for the film. Instead, we see a disconnect of the sort within the movie segments of Brenda Chapman's. Both directors have different sensibilities, so of course the feel would shift a bit, which I expect. In no way am I saying that he didn't have that freedom, it is just you can see Mark's personality in particular scenes and the lack of it in others? I felt that Brave targeted audience needed to be 13+ age range, similar to how Laika Studios marketed Paranorman, it t would have been an excellent move into attracting older viewers while still staying true the Pixar magic of storytelling coupled with the legacy of the Disney Studios retelling of fantasy. Think of Ridley Scotts Legend with its PG rating. The film is dark and foreboding, whimsical, but obvious the idea was to market it for all ages.

The reason I bring up Legend along with Brave is due to how all three films deal with the dark subject matter. And judging by the numerous reviews online from parents who felt their children may have been scared for life (Google "parent reviews of The Good Dinosaur, to see what I'm talking about), the film has opened a discussion far larger than weekly numbers, in my opinion. The conversation now looks to be shifting towards when is Pixar going to continue to grow, within the stories they tell? Hope may be on the way with Pixar's CoCo, knowing Lee Unkrich's love of Kubrick, and his willingness to push the envelope of emotions (the incinerator in Toy Story 3 that James Robertson storyboarded out for the scene). Either way I pretty sure these are conversations that have been, and will continue to be had during the BrainTrust sessions at the studio.

Viewers need to understand that each film is going to be different based on the director. Pete Sohn has showcased only a portion of his vision in this movie, mainly because like Mark on Brave he had to keep in consideration what creative energy, time and efforts had already been given to the show beforehand. But, as an outsider, we don't have access to the progression of the film through the stages of the pipeline, so we will never actually know where things took a turn for the original director. The BrainTrust consist of Hollywoods best researchers and technicians, so I feel what  I've mentioned beforehand only applies to my vision of the films direction. Pauline Kael, spoke of self-analysis in movies and the reason we watch film and how we should continue to express our love for quality films rather than using loose generalizations of how it doesn't meet some threshold in comparison to other films. When in fact a lot of creative work, effort and time went into giving us something to discuss even after viewing.

After the second, third and now fourth viewing the film begins to read more about the ways in which actions are at times controlled, and not at others. Arlo, in my opinion, appears to be surf urging from a disability, which the audience can label as fear, angst, or for the matter a physical handicap. It's also interesting how the camera moves placing us at times as Arlo's POV or others his caretaker. The reason I say Arlo's is dealing with a physical disability is many to seeing how my stepbrother and his wife treat my nephew, who has an issue with his leg; which restricts his abilities to do the everyday tasks of your typical four-year-old. Rather than aiding him in understanding his disability, they act as if there is no challenge he faces. 

Many Thanks-
Mister Kennedy