Pixar’s painterly panache | Daily News
[Reel Review]

Pixar’s painterly panache


What if you would rather feel like watching the background of the movie rather than what the characters are doing? This is exactly how you would feel when you are watching Pixar’s latest animation ‘The Good Dinosaur’.

What if the asteroid which is believed to have killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago missed earth? The dinosaurs would continue to flourish as the dominant species on earth. Humans too would make it to the picture but falls in second place.

The film zeros in on an Apatosaurus family who had become farmers overtime. Arlo’s father, Henry, tells his children they should strive to ‘make their mark,’ before pressing a mud print onto a silo he’s built to protect their crops. Arlo’s mother, Ida, also makes a print, saying that, one day, the children can do the same. The siblings are instantly able to fulfill their chores, earning their ‘marks’. Arlo’s success is routinely undone by fear.

Comic element

A captivating quality in the movie lies in its simplicity. This is especially evident in the manner in which Arlo is animated. He is an anonymous blob with round, white cartoon eyes, rendered with pointedly little of the painstaking detail that often abounds within even the most fleetingly glimpsed of Pixar’s creations. The other dinosaurs too are basic in design. T-rex has a square shaped head that seems to jut out from his neck. This adds to the comic element of the film.

The film’s landscapes are striking. Director Peter Sohn has put in a lot of effort to bring out the beauty of the surroundings. One fine example is the riverbed which Arlo wakes up in. This is detailed in such a manner that you almost feel like you can reach out and grasp the rocks on the screen! This is Pixar’s painterly panache at its best!

Another strength in ‘The Good Dinosaur’ lies in the bond between Spot and Arlo. Though they get off to a start similar to that found in ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ their relationship strengthens as the story develops.

Effective gestures

There’s one sequence in the movie that is awesomely captured. Here Spot and Arlo communicate about their lost families. Spot doesn’t speak Arlo’s language, or have one of his own, so they have to communicate with symbols and body language.

The gestures they choose are effective, cutting straight to the heart of the profound grief that unites them.

‘The Good Dinosaur’ is interesting in theory than in reality. Though the film gets off to a great start, the story falls back on similar lines of most Disney tales: an eccentric child who matures with the story, learns to act as a grown up and tackles issues with their parents. Lessons in bravery, loyalty and self-sufficiency come to the fore.

The manner in which Arlo needs to prove his salt to his family reminds us of other animations like ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘City Slickers’.

This is a straight forward adventure of a dinosaur lost in the forest with no one for company but a dog-like boy named Spot has a lot of heart.

However it is no match for productions like the recent Disney movie ‘Inside Out’ which carried an out of the box theme. 

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