My opinion right after watching film
My opinion right after watching the film is that it is a pretty good Pixar film, and I liked the emotions that were carried through in the film. While the film does get boring at points, there is a lot to like about it. Not one of my favorites, but I have no hate for it whatsoever. I am not even going to go into the comparisons with it and Inside Out.
The film started production in 2009, and the first release date was initially November of 2013. The public became aware of this film when it was announced in the 2011 D23 Expo. A change in the release date caused the film to then be postponed to June of 2014, and 9 months before the film was to premiere, the story was completely changed, the director and producer were removed from the project due to issues with the story. This was the reason why Pixar had no film last year. Finding Dory was pushed back, because this film took the date of the former, which we will see next year. A majority of the cast was revised as well.
So the film starts off with the meteor that was to have hit the Earth to wipe out the dinosaurs completely skip over the Earth. Over 60 million years later, we see a farmer dinosaur couple named Henry (Jeffrey Wright) and Ida (Frances McDormand) give birth to three eggs, which soon become Libby (Maleah Padilla), Buck (Marcus Scribner) and Arlo (Raymond Ochoa). It is clear form the very beginning that Arlo is different, and not as good of a farmer as the rest of his family, and a lot of this has to do with him being easily feared.
His father is disappointed by his son’s cowardice, and decides to take him out to the ravine to follow and kill the caveboy. Seeing his son fall, and whine about not being good enough, Henry changes his mind. The water of the ravine fastly approaches, and Arlo manages to be spared, but Henry dies right after saving Arlo; him being taken away with the water. It is clear with that they are trying to do with this deceased father arc.
Arlo sees his mother Ida struggle, and she tells him that he needs to do more to keep their farm running, since his father passed away. the little caveman we come to know as Spot (Jake Bright) is eating their food again, which causes Arlo to chose him off, and they fall in the ravine to be stranded some lengths away from home.
It is the night time, and Arlo teaches Spot what a family is by using sticks and drawing a circle in the sand around the sticks. After that, they run from a storm, only to bump into some Pterodactyls that tell Arlo that they will help take him home, but they only intend on eating him. A pair of Tyrannosaurus’ named Nash (A.J. Buckley) and Ramsey (Anna Paquin) scare off the Pterodactyls, and had to convince their father Butch (Sam Elliot) to let Arlo and Spot join them, since the other dinos are trying to find a herd that they lost. Arlo shows his bravery when he helps some of the T-Rex’s to fight some Velociraptors, and bonds even more with them. Arlo soon learns that you cannot beat fear altogether, but you can get through it, which is a pretty strong message.
They make it to the river, but before they get home, the same Pterodactyls get them, and manage to capture Spot. Arlo luckily ends up falling off a cliff into a bunch of ropes.
So he ends up finding Spud in the ravine, where they are in the same predicament that his father died in. Arlo goes in the water, and saves Spot right before they fall down the waterfall. When Spot wakes up again, they finally make it to their destination, but he hears a howl of another human, which is soon revealed as a family. It is never explicitly stated if it was Spot’s family, or a random family, but either way, he joins them after having an emotional goodbye with Arlo. Not long after, Arlo reunites with his mother, sister and brother, and soon gets his mud imprint on the wall, beside his mother and father’s.
To be honest, there are only 2 characters that gets more than the minimum amount of focus in the film, so I am only going to focus on them. They are not the strongest characters, but good enough for the relationship between the two characters in the film, since the film was more about their relationship than anything else.
I know that people have often complained about the overly cartoony animation in this film. but I did not mind it. I am kind of glad that they deviated away from the overly detailed designs that dinosaurs usually get. I was very impressed with the texture of the backgrounds and the setting of the film more than anything.
The score in the movie is good enough. It has the typical adventure and dinosaur-themed music that is often used for these type of films. Nothing particularly stands out though.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on November 25th, 2015, it made $101 million domestically, and $93 million, with a total of $194.7 million as of December 22nd, 2015. Many are predicting that this will be Pixar’s first financial flop, since it has a ridiculously high budget of budget of $200 million, and really high marketing prices.
Critically, it received positive reviews (what a shock). People liked the story, animation, and all of that, but many kept comparing it to past Pixar films, stating that it is not as good as many of the other films.
EDITED ON DECEMBER 17TH, 2016: The film mas made $123.1 million domestically, and $209.1 million in other areas, with a total of $332.2 million worldwide. It is the lowest-grossing Pixar film to date.
It was nominated for a bunch of awards (though it was completely snubbed at the Academy Awards), though only ended up winning four. An Annie for Outstanding Achievement in Animated Effects, and three in the Visual Effects Society Awards.
Reception Today (as of December 17th, 2017)
Its reception today is honestly not the greatest. Many people call this one of the weakest and dull Pixar films (some say that even Cars 2 is better than this), and that it’s extremely forgettable. The film does have a fanbase, and it seems like a lot of the hate for it is starting to slowly die down.
= 30.5/40 = 76%