Another reason to thank the good lord for Pixar…
So the story goes 65 million years ago… DINOSAURS! Then something something, a big rock from the sky, a huge freeze, and then no more dinosaurs.
But – like Han and Greedo and a confrontation with Keyser Soze – what if it missed?
With no ice age dinosaurs roam free for millions more years. In this reality a small and incredibly large family of five aptosaursus’ are not only herbivores but corn farmers. Each has a role and the three kids Buck, Libby and the youngest and smallest Arlo are urged to do their own thing and make their own mark.
It is while inadvertently flubbing this task that Arlo learns of the dangers of the river, which proves extremely relevant once he falls into it and loses touch with his family.
Already awkward, knobbly kneed and gangly, Arlo is already ill equipped to deal with the harsh realities imposed in a kill or be killed land, and seemingly powerless to fend for himself. This changes with the arrival of a small scruffy Neanderthal child who is eventually dubbed ‘Spot’ by a hoarder-clothesline triceratops, and indeed the small companion does act like a faithful and loyal pet to Arlo, defending, guiding and attempting to feed him.
Through the long and arduous – and occasionally perilous in a PG way – the two forge a strong connection, Arlo the cautious but larger mouthpiece and Spot the grunting instinctive beast that throws himself headlong into any situation. They encounter animals of various sizes and intentions, alternately running with or away from or toward danger.
Unfortunately unlike Finding Nemo – the other Pixar film where a small creature must reunite with loved ones – The Good Dinosaur lacks in both memorable encounters and characters. It’s all too… good. Pixar has had missteps before, Cars 2 springs to mind, but this is the first film where I wondered what benefit the company of the leaping lamp actually added to the enjoyment levels. Hopefully with Finding Dory they also find their mojo…
Final Rating – 7 / 10. Perfectly entertaining but equally forgettable, with scenes a bit too scary for the little ‘uns and not a great deal for us oldies.
As an aside; my wife took the boy to see the Chipmunks anyway. When they returned I met him at the door. Without him telling me anything about the film at all I asked “was it funny when the guy farted?”… He said yes. Yes it was.