The Good Dinosaur

 

Half

 

 

Pixar’s second cartoon of 2015, featuring a young Apatosaurus who adopts a rather savage human boy, is a disappointingly conventional affair.

Of course, dinosaurs are nothing new to animation. Gertie the Dinosaur made her inaugural appearance in 1914 and is often considered to be the first cartoon character (although she isn’t). Since then, we’ve had everything from The Land Before Time to Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. So what’s new about The Good Dinosaur? Not a lot. Following the startling invention and imagination of Pixar’s Inside Out, the studio’s second animated foray of 2015 is bit of a let-down. There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just rather conventional. The twist is that the human protagonist – Spot – is a sort of pet to Arlo, a young Apatosaurus. Besides that, there’s the usual homilies about the value of family, standing on one’s own four feet and the selflessness of true love, but not a lot more.
 
Good Dinosaur
 
The central characters themselves are rendered in the traditional plastic mode of animation, while the background imagery is photo-realistic, with terrific foliage and water effects. There’s even a special credit for the ‘volumetric clouds supervisor’ and, yes, the cloud work is impressive, particularly when a series of shark-like fins appear in the cumulonimbus to signal an attack by a wake of pterodactyls. Talking of the pterodactyls, these are vicious, predatory creatures, and they don’t have Liverpudlian accents. They may largely account for the PG certificate, although the advocacy of evil featured in the U-rated Minions is far more disturbing.

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

Voices of Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, Steve Zahn, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand.

 

Dir Peter Sohn, Pro Denise Ream, Screenplay Meg LeFauve, Pro Des Harley Jessup, Ed Stephen Schaffer, Music Mychael Danna and Jeff Dana.

 

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios-Walt Disney.

100 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 27 November 2015. Cert. PG.