HOLLYWOOD—Well “Jurassic World” created the notion of a world where dinosaurs and humans could possibly co-exist, we all know that is a stretch. However, “The Good Dinosaur” presents that ideology in an animated foray in a pre-historic era.
The movie which is directed by Peter Sohn revolves around a group of dinosaurs and humans who attempt to co-exist in a world where many would say could never happen. Our protagonist Arlo (voice of Raymond Ochoa) is tasked by his father Henry (voice of Jeffrey Wright) to burst out of his comfort zone. A prominent theme throughout the film is the bond of family and how parents sometimes set the bar a bit high for their kids to achieve. In this case, we’re talking about dinosaurs.
There is indeed a shocking moment in the movie that occurs early in the plot ala “The Lion King,” “Bambi” and many other prominent animated flicks where death strikes a youngster far too young. That does raise the question of whether “The Good Dinosaur” is a movie for kids of all ages. I mean while death is indeed part of everyday life, it’s not a subject matter that many kids respond to so easily. So as a parent, one will have to decide whether “The Good Dinosaur” is something you would like to expose your child to. In my personal opinion, the movie is not warranted for any child under the age of 7.
The rest of the narrative involves Arlo and Spot (voice of Jack Bright) whose bond grows after Arlo finds himself far away from home. It’s a fascinating treat to see the film examine the relationship between Arlo and Spot who both have experienced extreme losses in their lives and they bond through that grief. The friendship grows as the two begin to depend on one another for survival, over time they bond like family; Arlo looks out for Spot and vice versa.
However, the movie becomes more of a journey piece where the focus is placed on Arlo as he ventures to find his way back home. Beyond the bond between Arlo and Spot, there is not much else that transpires to fully keep the spectator’s interest, in my opinion. Frances McDormand, Anna Paquin, A.J. Buckley and Steve Zahn lend their voices to the film, but the characters are no standouts in my opinion.
“The Good Dinosaur” is a movie that while one suspects to be a mixed bag of emotions is quite depressing at times. It is not the happy go lucky flick from start to finish. It takes a bit of time to get going and then once it does it sort of has a stand still narrative in my opinion. While the film might be slightly entertaining for some kids, many might be lost with what is taking place.
The movie does its best to put the spotlight on the importance of family, those you are connected to by blood and those who are not. Unfortunately, “The Good Dinosaur” doesn’t achieve that feat to leave the viewer mesmerized.