What if 65 million years ago the asteroid that hit the earth and killed off the dinosaurs whizzed harmlessly by? The Good Dinosaur from Pixar works on this hypothesis to come up with a beautifully-animated, family-friendly film. Ret con is the name of the game!
In the altered time line, dinosaurs continue to be the dominant species. Apatosaurus have evolved into farmers while Tyrannosaurus are ranchers herding prehistoric bison. Arlo is a timid Apatosaurus who finds it difficult to execute the tasks assigned to him. Arlo gets lost in a storm and forms an unlikely partnership with a feral cave-boy, Spot, to return home. True to archetypes, the journey home is a journey of discovery, love, loss, grief and healing fraught with laughter, tears, danger and excitement.
Peter Sohn, a Pixar veteran, makes directorial debut in this film which is on the right side of twee. Spot (Jack Bright), the dog-like cave boy, is as endearing as a smart, friendly Labrador while the rancher Tyrannosaurus Butch (Sam Elliott) and his children Ramsey (Anna Paquin) and Nash (A.J. Buckley) sound like cool cowboys with a dash of Clint Eastwood. Jeffrey Wright gives voice to Henry, Arlo’s dad who follows in the tradition of Mufasa ( The Lion King ) while Frances McDormand voices Ida, Arlo’s mum. Director Sohn gives voice to Forrest Woodbush, a paranoid Styracosaurus. The villains of the piece apart from Nature herself, are a bunch of pterodactyls led by Thunderclap (Steve Zahn) who is prone to having “relevations.” There are also a velociraptors rustlers who attack Butch’s herd.
The visualisation is outstanding as is the animation. For all who moan about Indians only doing backend work in Hollywood, the short before the main feature, was Sanjay Patel’s trippy Sanjay’s Super Team.
THE GOOD DINOSAUR
Genre : Animation
Director : Peter Sohn
Voice cast : Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, A. J. Buckley, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand
Plot : A timid Apatosaurus finds his destiny with a little help from a cave boy named Spot
Bottomline : Awwww