The Good Dinosaur DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
"The Good Dinosaur" asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? In this epic journey into the world of dinosaurs, an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

The Review
Okay so Pixar has a huge history of success when it comes to animated family films and of course with the massive marketing machine that is Disney now working behind it, you have to imagine that this is a huge recipe for greatness. Now we see the new release from the Disney Pixar collective, The Good Dinosaur. This is another well-formed story that demonstrates the whole adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover and what you see is not always what you get.

The film helps us understand loss and death and then the need to trust in each other when dealing with this pain. As with all Pixar films, these are stories of life lessons and the encouragement to our children to be the best versions of themselves possible. Plus, the understanding that we all face hard times and feelings and need to learn how to deal with them. For some people this well-doing focus tends to draw away from the entertainment value, however you don’t hear that from kids or their parents. Bearing in mind that this is Pixar Animation Studios' sixteenth feature film.

This film marks the first time Pixar has released two films in one year, following the release of Inside Out in June. While Inside Out deals with the inside issues, The Good Dinosaur deals with the outer struggles. Nice that it means that over two films we get to see quite the range of issues and adventures.

Visually this is a stunning film that has been beautifully put together in order to help tell this tale. The animation styles that they have used in the portrayal of the natural landscapes are something rather amazing. The Good Dinosaur certainly went through a lot in order to make it on to our screens.

The film was in production for six years and it suffered from creative differences, story problems, Pixar multitasking between film productions, and a quality slump Pixar suffered from Cars 2 to Monsters University. Director Bob Peterson, was removed from the project in the summer of 2013, just under a year before the film's original release date in May 2014. Peterson moved on to another project, while John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Mark Andrews, and Peter Sohn stepped in temporarily to work on various sections of the film. In November 2013, due to further delays, Pixar laid off 67 employees of its 1,200-person workforce, following the closure of its satellite studio in Canada a month before, when about 80 employees had been laid off, officially to refocus Pixar's efforts at its main headquarters. "For Pixar it was a dramatic event", said Jim Morris, the studio's general manager and executive vice president of production. "It was tough on the company. Most studios would have said, 'The movie's fine. It's not bad.' And it wasn't bad; it just wasn't great. We wanted to have a great movie." On October 21, 2014, Peter Sohn was officially named the new director. The story was then reworked, and some major changes included lowering the age of the protagonist and adding the concept of nature itself being the main antagonist. While John Lithgow still remained cast as Poppa in the film (he would later be replaced), he acknowledged the fantastic changes in the script and said that "The film's gonna be better than I ever imagined".

Overall I get the feeling that the wait and struggle has been worth it. This is a solid film with a compelling storyline and amazing animation. I really loved the personification of the dinosaurs juxtaposed against the animalisation of the humans.This helped the story to come to life as well as showing the bond growing between the main characters.

The Verdict
Although not the best film from Pixar, this is still a very solid kids animated film with lots for everyone… Laughs, tears and a little suspense.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 6th April 2016
Rating: G
Duration: 101 minutes 
Genre:  Family
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Greer, Bill Hader, Frances McDormand, John Lithgow
Director: Peter Sohn (Debut Feature Film)

The Extras

The original cast was to include John Lithgow, Judy Greer, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, and Lucas Neff, but they were replaced following major story changes. The only original cast member to still be a part of the film is Frances McDormand.

Thomas Newman was originally assigned to compose music for The Good Dinosaur (2015), but complications with Newman's schedule and further delays with the film's productions prompted him to leave. Newman was later replaced by the Academy Award-winning composer Mychael Danna (Life of Pi (2012)).

The song featured in the first official trailer is Crystals by Of Monsters And Men.

The dinosaur statues in Inside Out (2015), were used as real dinosaurs in this movie.