Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Film Review No. 2 The Good Dinosaur (PG)

Strong Points:
Stunning set pieces, amazing animation and (really) great graphics
The old Pixar emotion
Humorous
Good voice performances
Touching story
Powerful music
Fully fleshed out main characters

Weak Points:
The first act seems to just be a transition from set piece to set piece
Side characters seem to be there just for the sake of a joke sometimes
The violence is sometimes a bit too in your face for a children's movie
The main dinosaur's colour scheme seems a bit out of place with the rest of the designs

In-depth Review:

Another week, another Disney movie (I actually counted and the last 6 movies I have seen in the cinema, if you include seeing Age of Ultron twice, were Disney - I should probably branch out more, if Disney doesn't buy the other companies that is). This time, the (e)motion machine that is Pixar tries its hand at completely destroying my feelings with this roller-coaster of a film.

Hot off the heels of the critically and commercially successful Inside Out, Pixar tries once again to give another stereotype feelings. It succeeds in the most part with The Good Dinosaur, a loveable romp through an alternate reality where dinosaurs are at the top of the food/evolutionary chain and humans are just 'critters'. Meet the clumsy Arlo, a green dinosaur who has a scream that can break people's ears and Spot, a cave boy who has more emotion in his right eye than most people do in their entire family. Together, they learn what courage really is, how to swim, how to bite something's head off... And other important life lessons.

The film opens with a chance for Pixar to show off with their technical prowess and prove, once and for all, that they are the undisputed kings of computer generated animation. Backdrops of gorgeous mountains, dynamic lighting, individual flakes of flakes of skin and water so realistic it makes your brain hurt. It stands to reason then, that the characters should follow this ultra-realism and for the most part they do. Everyone, that is, except for the main family of dinosaurs. The cartoony green colour palette contrasts with the realistic and detailed visuals of the rest of the film and while it does take some getting used to, the film actually benefits from it as you are able to follow the action easily by looking for something bright green. Something that I failed to notice at first and was told by Harry was that the characters actually get more battered and bruised over the course of the film after performing death defying feats.

There are plenty of laughs throughout the film and the voice acting is good for the most part, although some of the side characters and sequences seem to be put in just for the sake of a laugh. This seems to be where Pixar is heading, with movies based on ideas instead of on an unbroken story. We'll have to see if that benefits them in the end.

The story (without going into spoilers) is touching and full of the emotion that we all know Pixar is great at. While some bits may have been done before, never with this amount of polish with facial expressions and details I would never have thought of. However, sometimes the themes are a bit too in your face for a Pixar film. While there has been violence in Pixar before none quite this gory. Heads being ripped off, wings being chewed and a helpless critter... Well, you get the idea. Pixar excels in giving the younger audience and adults a fun film to watch in equal measure through the use of subtle innuendos. This film could probably use some more of that subtlety.

Conclusion: when you start drawing comparisons with a supposedly kiddy film and The Last of Us, then you know you have a winner on your hands, albeit a slightly uneven one.

Rating: 80%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.
 

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