By Darren Chan Keng Leong (Singapore)


Disney and Pixar have done it again with The Good Dinosaur as the film which is great for family goers and of all ages as the animation and compelling storyline made the film something that I would re-watch again. The film borrows elements from The Lion King and it makes the film magical because it is simple to understand but yet so moving and emotional. The film stars Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, A. J. Buckley, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand and Steve Zahn. The short film before the film Sanjay’s Super Team is also a nice touch by the studio.

The Good Dinosaur opens in an alternate earth timeline where the asteroid would have caused the mass extinction of all dinosaurs does not hit earth. The film chronicles the lives of two Apatosaurus dinosaurs, Henry who is portrayed by Jeffery Wright and Ida who is portrayed by Frances McDormand who are farming the land in growing their own food source which is corn. They also give birth to three children named Libby who is portrayed by Maleah Padilla, Buck who is portrayed by Marcus Scribner and Arlo who is portrayed by Raymond Ochoa.

The film explores many relatable themes such as family, sibling rivalry, friendship and survival. Arlo the dinosaur is the black sheep in the family as he struggles with his timid nature meaning that he is afraid of everything and anything. Arlo’s father Henry shows the family the corn silo where they store their corn that everyone can put their mud print on the silo wall once they have accomplished something bigger than themselves.

Henry puts Arlo in charge of guarding the silo from pests so that they have enough to eat for the coming winter. However things go wrong when Arlo captures a feral cave boy who he later names Spot and forms a close friendship with. Henry who is disappointed that Arlo let Spot go and refuses to kill him takes Arlo on a dangerous mission to find Spot at a ravine. Due to a heavy thunderstorm, Henry manages to save Arlo in the nick of time as he is washed away by the incoming flood.

The film has many instances of raw emotion that will move anyone to tears as the animation studios and film director, Peter Sohn manages to bring out through the characters in the film. There was never a dull moment in the film as it tells so many emotions through Arlo and Spot that it adds to the storyline that manages to captivate the audience.

The Good Dinosaur has surpassed my expectations as a film that is simple but mature in storytelling which is shown in Arlo where he is weak and fearful which makes him an outcast in society. However, he never gives up and knows that even though he might be unworthy, he has in himself to become worthy in the eyes of his family. The soundtrack adds depth to the characters but does not need much work as the animation is top-notch. The film has also added renewed interest in the area of dinosaurs which will interest children even after the film is over.

I will be looking out for more films from Disney and Pixar as they still have managed to come up with a good film that will teach film-goers of any age the importance of family and relational ties with others. The scenes also left me emotional and at the same time with a bittersweet ending that even though Spot had to go back to his family, Arlo is able to find his family and also himself in the process. It is a must-watch Thanksgiving film as the cast and studio have outdone themselves yet again as the film has received positive reception.



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