Review | Film review: The Good Dinosaur shows importance of living with fear
Pixar’s latest is a touching what-if tale about overcoming fear, set to the tone of a classic Hollywood western
The Good Dinosaur is an dramatic film, and a very different kind of family animation. Although it stars friendly dinosaurs, the theme of overcoming fear – or, in fact, learning to live with fear – is handled in a more mature way than many live-action features. Refreshingly, Disney-style cuteness is kept to a bare minimum.
The story is slim but effective. Arlo is a weak young dinosaur who’s scared of everything. When he’s swept away from the family farm by a flood, he’s faced with a dangerous journey home. He befriends a primitive human boy, who he names Spot, and they pool their resources to keep each other safe as they travel though the wilds.
Although it sounds like a fantasy film, The Good Dinosaur actually resemebles a Western, which makes use of all the tropes from that once-dominant genre. The filmmakers have noticeably done their homework and studied classics like The Searchers and River of No Return. This influence is laid bare in a visually splendid scene which features dinosaurs herding bison on the plains. The animation is fantastic throughout.
The Good Dinosaur opens on February 4