‘The Good Dinosaur’ touches moviegoers’ hearts

By Ivan Mateo

This marks the first time Pixar has released two of its films in the same year. The resoundingly successful “Inside Out” being the first Pixar film released in May this year. In “Inside Out,” Pixar chose to focus on the multitudinous range of emotions people experience on a daily basis, such as joy and sadness.

However, “The Good Dinosaur” poses an interesting question: what if the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs missed?

When I was a kid, and even to this day, I always imagined a world in which humans walked and lived among the dinosaurs. Would humans ride around on dinosaurs like they do on horses? I smile at the thought.

“The Good Dinosaur” focuses on the importance of family, the way we view fear and the way it affects us. Do we charge forward with courage or hesitate in fear?

Pixar tweaks the formula a bit with humans acting as the companion and not the main protagonists.

The film centers on Arlo, the youngest of three Apatosaurus children. His brother and sister, Buck and Libby, excel at anything they take on, while Arlo struggles. Their mother and father, Momma and Poppa, are Apatosaurus farmers who run their own small farm.

Arlo means well, but he always seems to trip on his own feet by making mistakes; however, Poppa, his biggest supporter, never ceases to believe in him.

Destiny causes Arlo and Spot, a wild cave boy, to cross paths. He does not speak, but Pixar wonderfully maximizes his range of emotions through his different facial expressions.

When Arlo and Spot travel on their adventure, they encounter bountiful characters ranging from interesting to downright strange.

I cannot stress how beautiful the animation in “The Good Dinosaur” looks. The idyllic landscapes and the vibrant wildlife blur the lines between animation and reality.

While “The Good Dinosaur” utilizes a simplistic nature of telling a coming of age tale, it left me wanting more. Generally, I love simplicity because movies often try to be too complex for their own good, but with “The Good Dinosaur,” I wanted Pixar to expand on such a creative “what if” question.

One of the most surprising lines came from Butch, a Tyrannosaurus rex, saying, “If you ain’t scared, you ain’t alive.” A majority of the time, we try to eliminate or avoid fear entirely, but fear necessitates our appreciation of the journey. Fear makes us stronger, if we do not let its vicious nature paralyze us. Earlier in the film, Poppa tells Arlo, “You have to get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side.”

Throughout Pixar’s run of successful films, it easily set and raised the bar time and time again with emotional resonance, colorful characters and picturesque animations. Each time a new film releases, audiences have come to expect the quality of Pixar’s past cinematic successes, and much more often than not, Pixar delivers in spades. However, Pixar cannot deliver top tier quality all the time, which is perfectly ok. The company’s solid and good movies are still light years ahead of other films.

“The Good Dinosaur” imagines a world many others, and myself, always dreamed of as kids: a world where humans and dinosaurs coexist and where “a single kindness can change everything.” You may never know what a person or a dinosaur is going through, so treat him or her with kindness.

Also, don’t forget to show up to theaters early to catch the Pixar short, “Sanjay’s Super Team,” which is about a child’s vivid imagination of Hindu gods as superheroes.

“The Good Dinosaur” is rated PG for peril, action and thematic elements.

“The Good Dinosaur” is playing in theaters now.

Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

‘The Good Dinosaur’

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