Pixar provides nostalgia in “The Good Dinosaur”

A scene from "The Good Dinosaur." Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Studios

Adventure, friendship and self-discovery are some of the many elements that make a memorable film. With “The Good Dinosaur,” Pixar has once again tugged at the heartstrings, made you cringe in horror and want to sit up in your chair, almost cheering out loud for the characters.

The Good Dinosaur” was, at times, reminiscent of Disney’s 1994 The Lion King in certain scenes, which may have inspired a flashback or two by adults who know it well. The personal moments couldn’t be avoided by even the most dauntless moviegoer because director Peter Sohn understands how to grab and steadily hold the attention of the audience.

The film stars a young Apatosaurus named Arlo, voiced by Raymond Ochoa, who has a very strong attachment to his parents voiced by Jeffrey Wright and Frances McDormand. Arlo is afraid of the unknown world that lies beyond the fences of his home but wants to overcome his fears to be as brave as his siblings.

After a short series of unsuccessful attempts to convince Arlo to face his fears, he and his father venture too far and Arlo is swept up into a chain of events forcing him to fight for his survival, meet strangers, make friends, encounter enemies and form bonds that allow him to understand that facing your fears doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unafraid.

“The Good Dinosaur” explores friendship in unlikely places with the feral yet lovable, young human named Spot. In a world where dinosaurs and man walk together, Spot and Arlo learn to share their space on Earth although they encounter many challenges. The relationship between Arlo and his father is a strong bond similar to that of The Lion King’s Mufasa and Simba, which a father and son can experience for a night out at the movies.

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The main characters from “The Good Dinosaur” Spot and Arlo overlook the pristine valley created by Pixar animators. Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Studios

 

Sohn, known for his work and influence in other Pixar films such as “Ratatouille,” “Up,” “The Incredibles” and “Monsters University,” to name a few. Sohn’s likeness can even be seen in Russell from “Up” and his voice can be heard in the character Emile from “Ratatouille.”

Earlier this year at Disney’s D23, Sohn explained how his parents never understood why he used to love the movies that he did because his parents didn’t speak English, however, they were able to connect with the emotional content of Disney movies. This film stayed true to Sohn’s life experiences with movies and how captivating an audience is driven by the emotions you feel through the characters.

The film was originally formulated by director Bob Peterson, but was reimagined when Sohn took over directing the film and changed the concept after the entire timeline and structure of the production process was altered.

The film was an original, visually stunning and captivating story with a western feel that Pixar writers and producers made sure to make an intimate experience. The ability to relate to the film, in one aspect or another, was what gave the audience a sense of understanding and emotional connection to Arlo and Spot.