Imagine a new earth where the asteroid “missed” its mark and the dinosaurs never went extinct. Intrigued? Hell yeah, me too. The Good Dinosaur tells the story of a green Apotosaurus, Arlo, who was born without his siblings’ height nor built. He is a weak and small dinosaur born into a farmer’s family. As Arlo grew up, his day-to-day job includes to feed the chickens that scare him silly. During his day job, Arlo meets a cave boy (who later goes by the name of Spot) who is caught stealing their corn stock. Arlo’s father instructed to kill him, as the boy is a critter to them, but instead Arlo sets him free. Little did he know that the cave boy will be his guide, and later a friend, during his journey to the wild world.
I am not going to spoil you on why Arlo has to go to the outside world, because well… you will see it coming when you watch the movie. The Good Dinosaur’s plot doesn’t offer anything new to be honest, hence why I am not surprised by how standard the script played out. I called it standard because it’s like a mashed up between The Jungle Book and Land Before Time – we have heard of the story before. However, what was lacking in the story department was made up for in the visual presentation by the film’s artistic team, led by director Peter Sohn.
Let me start by stating that the dinosaurs, even the cave boy’s facial details, were outstanding – it looks so real, it’s surreal. Second, the nature was also portrayed in great details of vibrant colours and realistic graphic. My favourite scene was when Arlo and Spot walked on a steep mountain path to get to the berries. The many supporting characters – from evil dinosaur birds to Southern T-Rex – are also enjoyable, since it made the movie less boring.
For the main character, I love how adorable and genuine Arlo is. Kid actor Raymond Ochoa made me root for the “little” dinosaur throughout the movie. Sure, he is timid and an underdog, but the character doesn’t force you to over sympathize with him. The friendship between Arlo and Spot, as the reverse human and pet roles, were also fun to watch. I remember this one scene that made my stomach churn: Spot is chasing a gigantic bug mid-air, he caught it and bring him down for Arlo who turned pale for a moment. Not knowing what to do, Spot then bit the bug’s head off and had it for lunch. Ouch!
While Sam Elliott excel in voice-portraying the cowboy T-Rex, I was more impressed with Anna Paquin’s Southern twang as Ramsey, the female counterpart that herd ancient Longhorns.
The Good Dinosaur is a little bit predictable in my book, but it’s far from your run-of-the-mill animations we usually get from year to year. Also, I noticed most of the kids in my cinema were very keen and engaging during the 93 minutes show. Perhaps the movie scored higher in their books?