Pixar The Good Dinosaur

Published: November 27, 2015

Pixar The Good Dinosaur, Kenneth Turan reviews ‘The Good Dinosaur’ from Disney/Pixar starring Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Jack McGraw, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, A.J. Buckley, and John Ratzenberger. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

Kenneth Turan reviews ‘The Good Dinosaur’ from Disney/Pixar starring Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Jack McGraw, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, A.J. Buckley, and John Ratzenberger. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

In ordinary hands, “The Good Dinosaur” might not be worth your time. It’s got its share of gee-whiz elements and isn’t shy about imparting sweet lessons ideal for improving 5-year-old minds. But this is Pixar we’re talking about, and for those folks doing things the ordinary way is never an option.

Instead, under the direction of Peter Sohn working from a script from Meg LeFauve, “The Good Dinosaur” is antic and unexpected as well as homiletic, rife with subversive elements, wacky critters and some of the most beautiful landscapes ever seen in a computer animated film.

Though those vistas are nominally prehistoric — this is a film about dinosaurs, remember — the animators were inspired by trips they took to the contemporary American Northwest. Visions of raging rivers, an eternity of trees, even a field of fireflies, are reason enough to see the film all by themselves.

Engaging though it is, “The Good Dinosaur” did not come together easily. It’s been in development since 2009, a long time even for animation, and though LeFauve has sole screenplay credit, the fact that she shares story credit with four other writers — Sohn, Erik Benson, Kelsey Mann and Bob Peterson (who also has an original concept and development credit) points up how many cooks were involved in this tasty broth.

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