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The Good Dinosaur review: Monster fun from Pixar

Published 27/11/2015

Cute concept: The Good Dinosaur
Cute concept: The Good Dinosaur

Four instalments of monster mashing in Jurassic Park have taught us to be thankful that an asteroid supposedly impacted Earth around 66 million years ago and wiped out the various prehistoric predators. Pixar Animation Studios begs to differ.

Director Peter Sohn and his animation wizards conjure an alternate version of events: the ill-fated asteroid bypassed our third rock from the sun, allowing Tyrannosaurus Rex and other hulking beasts to thrive.

Consequently, the evolutionary food chain is reversed: dinosaurs learn to talk, build homes, raise dysfunctional families and expand their horizons while humans are an untamed species that roam the wilderness on all-fours and communicate in crude howls and growls.

It's a cute concept that provides a solid foundation for Sohn's life-affirming tale of friendship and loyalty, inverting the touching central relationship of How To Train Your Dragon with similarly teary-eyed results.

At the heart of the film is a family of Apatosaurus comprising patriarch Henry (voiced by Jeffrey Wright), his wife Ida (Frances McDormand) and three children Buck (Marcus Scribner), Libby (Maleah Padilla) and Arlo (Raymond Ochoa). The pay-off is an emotional gut punch that has become the studio's trademark.

The Good Dinosaur screens with the charming short Sanjay's Super Team in which an Indian boy daydreams about three Hindu gods becoming superheroes.

Four stars

The Good Dinosaur (PG, 101 mins)

Belfast Telegraph

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