The Good Dinosaur 

  
When Inside Out came out this Summer I ranked all of the Pixar films. Here is that list modified to factor in The Good Dinosaur:

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1. Toy Story 3

2. Ratatouille 

3. The Incredibles

4. Monsters Inc

5. Finding Nemo

6. Inside Out

7. Toy Story

8. Up

9. Toy Story 2

10. Wall.E

11. Brave

12. The Good Dinosaur 

13. Cars

14. A Bug’s Life

15. Monsters University 

16. Cars 2

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As you can see I’ve not placed this new film very high but don’t forget how strong the competition is. Weaker Pixar films are still stronger than most other animated movies and it was always going to struggle when compared to its sublime predecessor. (Having seen it a couple more times now I think I would push Inside Out further up.) The Good Dinosaur is still a sweet little film but save for one thing which I will come to later it is fairly incidental. 

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At their best Pixar have appealed to adults and children alike, not through knowing asides as with Dreamworks Animation’s output (Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar etc etc etc sequel sequel sequel) but with intelligent storytelling. The Good Dinosaur is a simpler tale and as such pitches younger which obviously gives it a narrower audience. That said it is rated PG which is rare for the studio. The story centres around Arlo, a little brontosaurus (probably, the breed is never specified), who gets separated from his family and embarks on a quest to get home. Along the way he is assisted by a feral child (this is a reality where the fateful meteor missed the earth and dinosaurs have evolved alongside and above humans) and they do get into some peril. Not all dinosaurs, you see, are good. My six year old daughter watched it quite happily though. In fact, allow me briefly to hand over to her. She is the target audience after all. Be warned this next bit contains spoilers:

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My favourite bit is when he found his family. I liked the bit when he found the little boy who pretended to be a dog as well. The boy protected him. I’m wondering if the dinosaur and the boy will ever meet up again.

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The flying dinosaurs were really terrible and I hated them because they wanted to eat him. They ate the lovely lovely little animal that was cute.

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I like him [Arlo] because he’s funny. Remember that bit when there was a cliff and he made a bridge with his body by being knocked over? That was funny. He didn’t give up. Not giving up is really really hard but he did not give up to get back to his family. He was in the woods and he remembered what his father said; ‘if you can follow the river you can find your way home’.

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Everyone should go and see it because it’s a really good film.

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Thanks Tilly. I’ll almost leave that as the final word but to mention that the one aspect of The Good Dinosaur that does put it above every CGI film there’s ever been is the animation. The backgrounds in this film are stunning. Rivers, trees, sunsets, skies, mountains, they all look incredible. So much so that the cartoony characters jar with their environment a little. It is almost a shame that the story and characterisations don’t match the sophistication of the visuals but if this is what they can do now then there is no doubt that with several new films in production, including Toy Story 4, Cars 3, Finding Dory and The Incredibles 2, the studio has more treats to come.

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Well, maybe not Cars 3.

  

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