Hey guys – I’ve been off the radar for AGES and I have soooo many tales to tell you!!!! I will truly endeavour to blog on a more regular basis. But first, as we enter the Christmas season, I thought I’d kick off with a movie review – Disney is the first to go under the Tellerscope!
Last week I accompanied my big little sister and six-year-old niece to the UK premiere of The Good Dinosaur in the West End (thank you so much, Great Ormond Street – my niece had the time of her life!!!).
Disney booked out the entire cinema for the occasion, and threw in a bunch of illustrators, photo booths, arts and crafts and face painters for extra measure, so by the time the lights went down, we were totally hyped and looking forward to another hour or so of mirth and merriment. Turns out this movie is no laughing matter – especially for little ones.
PLOT: Set in the present day, The Good Dinosaur tells the story of a young, fearful Apotasaurus called Arlo, who is separated from his family after being swept hundreds of miles downstream during a terrible storm. Having survived this ordeal, Arlo must overcome his fears in order to make the treacherous journey home. Along the way, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a feral orphan boy called Spot, who helps him realise he is far braver than he thought.
GOOD STUFF: As you’d expect coming from the Disney-Pixar stable, the movie is a handsome offering, by anyone’s standards. I’m not really into these animations and at first I was a little unsure of the pairing of the photo-realistic scenery with the cartoony characters, but I soon got over this reservation. The protagonists are instantly likeable and enjoyable to watch, and we were all thoroughly engrossed by their trials and tribulations – 100 minutes flew by.
BAD STUFF: This ridonculous narrative is shoehorned into being with a throwaway opener that reveals the giant asteroid that hurtled towards the Earth 66 million years ago actually missed. And hey presto – the dinosaurs are all in fact alive and well and living in the North American hills. For some strange reason, Arlo and his dino family are farmers, tilling the land and growing corn. But whatevs – this is a cartoon, after all.
There is also the small matter of this movie being incredibly reminiscent of a bunch of other (better) animations we’ve already seen – The Land Before Time, Bambi and the Lion King instantly spring to mind. This coming-of-age tale of loss and redemption brings absolutely nothing new to the table.
However, the sad parts really are gut-wrenchingly sad – Arlo and Spot’s heart to heart about losing their loved ones will literally crush your soul and spit on its dust.
In fact, the whole thing was a bit of a shock to the system – I mean it’s supposed to be a kids’ movie, and a Disney one at that. But it’s quite possibly the least child-friendly animation since Watership Down (I was subjected to this bunny bloodbath masquerading as a ‘cartoon’ at school when I was about five years old. I’m still receiving counselling).
The storm was genuinely terrifying, and killing off Arlo’s dad in the flood seemed a rather harsh and unnecessary step. The fight between the T-Rexes and the Velociraptors is really rather violent (although admittedly not gory), and the evil Pterodactyls are equally menacing. There is even a reference to DRUGS for goodness sake, with a whole psychedelic scene in which Arlo and Spot trip out (and crash hard) after eating spoiled fruit. And without any musical numbers to lighten the load, it’s all a bit intense.
When the lights finally came back up, everyone looked a little stunned. My poor niece was in tears (although she said she loved the film) and my sister and I were emotional wrecks – she’d completely ruined her eye make-up and there was Kleenex and soggy popcorn EVERYWHERE.
VERDICT: If being put through the wringer is your idea of a fun afternoon, then go for it (don’t say I didn’t warn you!). However, if you are dragging anyone else along for the ride, make sure they are over the age of seven – this is NOT that kind of Disney movie. : 0