Peer Review by Chew Kia Hwee (Singapore)

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Not So Prehistoric Story in a Not So Prehistoric Era

By: Nadia Huang

Who would have expected the story of a lost Apatosaurus’ struggles to make his mark to be so heart-wrenching? The Good Dinosaur is set in an alternate existence where the asteroid that wiped out the entire dinosaur population 65 million years ago, passes safely over the earth instead. The main protagonist is a young Apatosaurus by the name of Arlo. Young Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) is easily scared and is much weaker compared to his family which is the reason behind his nickname “The Runt” which is a term usually used for the smaller or weaker animal in a group. While his siblings were play fighting and doing hard labour, he could barely brave himself long enough to feed the chickens. As a result, he was always the butt of his siblings’ pranks.
The Good Dinosaur is the second animated PIXAR movie to have been released in 2015, the other being Inside Out. Unlike most, this movie isn’t as predictable as one might think. The suspenseful and emotional moments in this movie are enough to keep you at the edge of your seat, trying to anticipate what would come next. As the movie progressed on, I found myself unable to predict anything that was to come next and every scene was the complete opposite of what I had been expecting. In the first place, the movie is unnatural seeing as the dinosaurs conversed and acted like civilised beings while the humans howled like wolves and were like wild animals.
The story really brings on the waterworks, especially when Spot, the human boy and Arlo connect about the loss of their families. Most of us who have watched the movie were probably saddened when both Arlo and Spot were put in the same situation that Arlo’s father, Henry, had been in before he died. I had thought they were both going to die as well and was truly upset that Arlo would not have been able to place his mark on the family silo which had been his goal in the beginning. However, the whole theatre was filled with shouts of joy when Arlo and Spot both sprung out of the water after falling down the waterfall. Everyone was happy they had survived.
Animation-wise, I am no critic. I have barely any knowledge on animation and find most animated movies aesthetically appealing. One particular animation fault that I intend to point out however is the lack of nipples on the male humans. I remember really clearly how my friends and I were laughing at this specific anatomy fault that we had identified on Spot. The voice actors brought the characters to life with the correct intonation and varying tones of voice which were able to make me feel the characters’ emotion. Jack Bright, who voiced Spot, was able to bring out the 6-year-old caveboy’s animalistic character to life with his lively and well-produced noises which resembled that of a dog. I only hope that he had been the one to produce those sounds and did not just bring an instrument of some sort into the studio instead.
Director Peter Sohn has been a part of many PIXAR productions as both a crew member and a cast member in popular ones such as Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and The Incredibles. In this particular movie, he was both the director and also the voice of the delusional Styracosaurus whom was camouflaged as a Forrest Woodbush. The voice he provided for his character brought out its funny and deluded demeanour and it was really fascinating to hear how well the lines were read and how well the character was portrayed.
While some state that the entire movie is disappointing as PIXAR had “completely ignored how evolution works”, seeing as the targeted audience is children, that does not seem the case as the movie is simply for youth entertainment with a more younger perspective.
Be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster ride as you witness 104 minutes full of heart-warming intimate moments as well as the funny and frightening situations that the characters encounter. One valuable takeaway from this is movie is to be perseverant because eventually, you will reach your goal despite the many obstacles and sacrifices you have to make to get there.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Initially, I had been extremely reluctant to watch the movie. It seemed childish and not the type of movie I would generally watch. However, I was forced into the theatre anyway by some close friends. Although the storyline seemed slightly rushed, the modern twist on the prehistoric era was well-enjoyed. Watching a Disney Pixar movie really brought me back to my days of childhood and I enjoyed every minute of the movie. It is a must watch for all!

Peer Review

A standard opening often comes with a package of questions and hooks, mostly used to interest the readers and to encourage them to continue reading to gain more insight into the writer's perspective. In this instance, I find that the piece delivers fairly well in this aspect, and adding in the summary was a nice touch too, though one can do more with minor edits, and generally another round of revision.

Personal opinion was very evident from the tone and the approach that the writer took, and that was pretty sweet.

For the most part, yes. It was clear what the writer enjoyed from the movie, though one problem is that there is no written example of flaws, and that certain aspects can be further detailed on. (Character Development, How did you feel about Spot? Telling the story without revealing too much)

Probably isn't relevant any more, but best of luck to you too!

Reviewer Comments

None at the moment.