Tuesday, 1 December 2015

REVIEW - THE GOOD DINOSAUR (PETER SOHN)


Pixar expands its repertoire with another solid animation, destined to be treasured by audiences for many years to come. The Good Dinosaur, though on balance one of the studio's lower quality features, is better analysed within the context of the Pixar canon than that of the industry as a whole; its individuality accentuated against a run of typically verbose, contemporary cartoons. This is a more plaintive and contemplative film, and the attention to detail has been most pointedly placed upon landscape design - no doubt about it, the natural and background animation in The Good Dinosaur must rank among the most accomplished in the history of film to date. Character animation is considerably more cartoonish, a wise choice that supplies a pleasant distinction between the two styles, and furthers Pixar's tradition of creating more believable characters the less realistic they're drawn. As a film about a journey home, The Good Dinosaur is structurally episodic, comprised of short segments, some with self-contained narratives within the larger one, all connected by the purpose of furthering the emotional development of Arlo, the good dinosaur of the title. It's a gentle little message movie, one whose message is less important than the particulars that inform it, and one whose finest moments occur when it forgets that message altogether: stylistic sojourns like a beautiful, bittersweet moment atop a cloud-covered mountain, a central passage where the film turns into a Western - one of Pixar's trademark genre tips - and surely the first scene you can recall where an apatosaurus goes on an accidental drug bender. Talk about expanding your repertoire!