The Good Dinosaur

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I am a Pixar nut. Not quite a fanboy, but a nut. I love all of their films except one since they started making feature length films, and even that one looked damned fantastic, just didn’t nail it for me. So, with 2015 bringing us not one but two Pixar films for the first time, I was utterly ecstatic, and now, after having seen them both, I would say they got one near perfect but also one that left me wanting a little more.

As good as ‘Inside Out’ was earlier this year, and with a great message to boot, I feel like ‘The Good Dinosaur’ was a step back. What begins with a simply amazing idea of what would have happened had the great extinction meteor of 65 million years passed us by, led to a story  that ended up feeling like it was a mishmash combination of unused story elements laying around the animation office at Disney.

‘The Good Dinosaur’ is probably the best looking animated film, visuals wise, we have ever seen. The glimpses of what the animators could do at the end of ‘Monsters University’ when it ventures into the human world are fully visualized here in the background scenery. Be it a close up of a lizard, a crashing river or the acres of trees on a mountainside, we have never seen anything like this from an animated film before. Sadly, this is what the film may end up being known for.

With a great premise and the best animation we have ever seen, `The Good Dinosaur` could have been the next big groundbreaking film from Disney and Pixar, but what it winds up being is an above average cross of `The Lion King` and `Homeward Bound`, and one that never truly finds it`s own footing.

Kids will love it however, as it does try as hard as possible to tell a heartwarming story, one with some good laughs and some moments where the feels get a little too much, but one that truly never gets to that level the `Toy Story` franchise or the `Shrek` franchise that transcends being just a kiddy movie into one that is truly for the whole family.

In the end, my biggest takeaway from `The Good Dinosaur` is one of caution. Pixar and Disney are looking to release two films a year, and if it is going to be a success, they need to get closer to films like ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Toy Story 3’ for that to work, instead of films like ‘Cars’. That being said, ‘Cars 3’ scares me…

As always, for all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. I promise to review more films and get back into the swing of things. Should be easy with the next trip to the theater coming in a couple of weeks with another film being released by Disney. Cheers everyone.

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Inside Out

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For those that truly know me, they know just how much I love the majority of films from Pixar. From all the way back to ‘Toy Story’ to recent films like ‘ Monsters University’, I am a fan of thirteen of the fourteen feature length films that Pixar have released to date. The downside to how they produce films is we can wind up with a year like 2014 where we don’t get a film from Pixar, but we do get two this year, and the first of those is ‘Inside Out’.

‘Inside Out’ spoke to me quite possibly like no film ever has before, and that is truly saying something. After we see films, my fiancée and I always ask each other if we enjoyed what we just saw, and when I was asked today, I looked at her with a tear in my eye and related how I’ve never really seen a film directed at me emotionally before.

Telling a story of how it is okay to be sad at times and now happy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week was interesting enough, but a story of how our emotions are actually individualized characters in our brains which work as a team to get us through our daily interactions in life is truly something to see.

After watching ‘Inside Out’ you will start to picture some of these emotions acting out during your day-to-day dealings which is quite humourous when you start to picture a red-faced Lewis Black yelling in your head. And this is what Pixar does best, that after you watch one of their films you will start to wonder if this is actually how things are.

Getting back to how ‘Inside Out’ actually spoke to me on a personal, emotional level, I will lead with this: at the age of seven, my family moved across Canada, from Calgary to Belleville, Ontario, in the process setting myself up for years of self-inflicted issues that I have never, ever truly dealt with. In ‘Inside Out’, Pixar sets up an eleven year old girl for a cross-U.S.A trip as her father moves for employment reasons.

Our emotions, which are our main characters, reactions to this and how it impacts the pre-teen girl they reside in is the main plot of this film but fully reached out to someone like myself who has gone through such a transition in life. The trick here though is that Pixar finally gives those of us who have never fully come to terms with this due to bottling things up to have a moment of self-reflection, and that is exactly what happened for me through the climax of the film and the subsequent car trip afterwards.

I have to thank Pixar for finally allowing me all of these years later to maybe finally coming to grips with one of the worst experiences of my life and realizing that, without it, I would not be here talking to each of you while having just enjoyed ‘Inside Out’ with my amazing fiancee and three wonderful sons. And I guess that is the whole point of this film.

I will end by saying this, ‘Inside Out’ is a bright, vibrant film that explores our societies recent change of outlook into emotions and even our mental health. It, as always with Pixar, is great for both children and adults, and I 100% recommend it to each and every single one of you.

As always, thanks for reading, and for more insights into not just film but life as well, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.