The Good Dinosaur (2015) – reviewed by George

This is the type of film I expect from Pixar: beautifully animated characters and special effects, beautifully rendered backgrounds, and a story that touches your heart as well as your brain.
In this story, 66 million years ago the comet (or asteroid) missed Earth completely. So – the Apatosaurs are farmers, the Tyrannosaurs are herders, and the Pterodactyls and other flyers are hunters (no change there). The family of Apatosaurs (according to this assigned species comes from promotional materials, not the movie; I thought they were brontosaurs) that forms the heart of the film consists of Poppa and Momma (Jeffrey Wright and Frances McDormand) and Libby (Maleah Padilla), Buck (Ryan Teeple, later Marcus Scribner), and Arlo (Jack McGraw, later Raymond Ochoa). The three children were all hatched at the same time, and though Arlo was in the biggest egg, he is the runt. He is accident-prone, afraid of everything, and not terribly smart. But his poppa assures him he will grow and be okay… IF he can force himself to be brave.
When Arlo is separated from his family and in great danger he finds a companion. It should be noted that while the dinosaurs in the film talk, communication for other species is at a lower level. Thus the boy he finds runs on all fours, scratches himself with his hind paw (foot), and sounds like a dog, growling and howling (voiced by Jack Bright). Arlo names him Spot.
Spot is smart, hip to the wilderness and its pitfalls. The adventures Arlo and Spot share as they trek upriver to get back to Arlo’s family make up the bulk of the movie, and Arlo learns as he goes, largely by Spot’s example.
Some of the featured voice actors: Sam Elliott plays Butch, the tyrannosaurus father, Anna Paquin plays his daughter Ramsey, and Steve Zahn plays Thuderclap, a pterodactyl.
Directed by Peter Sohn, with a Story by Peter Sohn, Erik Benson, Meg LeFauve, Kelsey Mann, and Bob Peterson, and with a Screenplay by Meg LeFauve, and Music by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna. I really enjoyed it.

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