Welcome!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Best and Worst of 2015 - Worst Five Films


In 2014 I had the blessing of not seeing many awful films, and so compiling a list of the worst was not possible; making 2013 the last time I did such a thing - until now. Sadly, 2015 was home to several stinkers which tortured me with awful storytelling and terrible execution in the dark cinemas...so, allow me to vent more of my angst in this list of the very worst movies to grace the past 12 months.

#5 - Minions


The iconic yellow Minions are some of the most treasured animated characters in recent years after their debut in 2010's Despicable Me, a charming film with a unique premise, and it's sequel Despicable Me 2, a lazier effort than relied more on the yellow things than telling an interesting story. Of course, as soon as the fanbase was formed, a movie of their own was inevitable - it has gone on to become one of the highest grossing animated films to date, with over $1.1 billion in revenue.

You can tell from the get go that the filmmakers really struggled to derive a plot for the film, as the premise seems like a brief episodic idea that's been awkwardly strength to feature length. The main human star is Sandra Bullock as Scarlett Overkill, who admittedly does give a charming and funny performance, in what is easily the most likeable character in the film. The Minions often feel bereft of purpose as they wander around making idiotic noises and performing generic slapstick gags that are tired and equally dated. The animation is full of spirit as ever, but due to an inevitably shallow plot and an attempt at humour that dwindles into annoyance, Minions fails to justify why these yellow sidekicks should have a movie of their own outside of obvious monetary gain.

#4 - Tomorrowland


A highly pretentious and confusing film from director Brad Bird, Tomorrowland strives to be an original and unique sci-fi family experience, but ultimately ends up being too messy and poorly realised for it's own good. Bird derived a story from the Disneyland themed area of the same name, which sees protagonists Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) and Frank Walker (George Clooney) in their adventures within another dimension that directly influences the events of our own. It's a real shame that such a promising setup went to waste, but the further the story goes on, the more vague and ridiculous it becomes. Nothing makes sense, and towards the climax, any attempt to develop things further is tossed aside to focus on generic action in a desperate attempt to inject some excitement into our bored mindsets.

Bird wanted to tell a unique story, but it seems like the film would only make sense to himself - he fails to convey the complexities within his tale to us, so the final result is a film that's visually dazzling yet narratively nonsensical.

#3 - Avengers: Age of Ultron


This is likely a choice that will offend many...but I'm sorry, this film really sucked. Poor pacing, a weak villain, and a narrative that's overstuffed and poorly drafted.

Here is my review and here is my feedback in my 2015 retrospect for more insight. Otherwise I'll repeat myself till the ends of the Earth...

Forgive me, MCU fans.

#2 - Fantastic Four


I actually liked the sound of this film initially, thanks to an interesting cast and Josh Trank as director, who seemed apt for the job after his indie superhero flick Chronicle impressed audiences globally back in 2011. However, upon release, negative reviews poured their way in faster than light itself, and box office results were awful to say the least. Fantastic Four faced numerous struggles during it's lengthy production, namely Trank communicating poorly with the cast and crew and causing serious damages to the studio rented property. Who knows if this is legit, but as I've said before, we can easily see that something went horribly wrong.

Fantastic Four is a dull, depressing, and unnecessarily dark addition to the superhero genre, with a distinct lack of excitement and almost no development of it's main characters. It takes ages for them to gain their powers, and then things rush along afterward at a pace so brutal that we get no time to acknowledge the changes in their lives and the world around them. Time jumps allow filmmakers to bypass any meaningful development and exposition, and while Toby Kebbell gives it his all as villain Doctor Doom, who does have a cool design, the character is so weak that his talent ultimately goes to waste. Outside of a great cast and impressive visual effects, there are simply no redeeming factors in this dramatically missed opportunity. Guess it's time for another reboot...try again guys.

#1 - Poltergeist


I didn't expect much from this remake of the 1982 classic - perhaps just a dull horror flick, which I had the blessing of having free tickets for. However, after less than an hour of viewing, it becomes apparent that this is one of the worst horror movies to grace the film industry in decades.

Sam Rockwell stars as Eric Bowen, whose family have moved house after facing financial struggles. Of course, the house is haunted by mysterious spirits of an eerie background, which puts the family's future at stake. A horror movie needs to be scary for a start and, to put it lightly, this film simply isn't. Not one scene in this miserable pile of rubbish induces any sort of fear, and in fact unintentional laughs are far more common. Even the characters give up taking this nonsense seriously towards the end, not caring about situations that should really traumatise them emotionally, and acting out the cheesy climax as if the film is a parody of the genre. It's certainly one of the worst films I've seen in a long time, and perhaps the worst "horror" I've ever seen in my life.

We'll go along with more positivity with my favourites of 2015 and most anticipated for 2016 very soon!

Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!

Monday, 28 December 2015

RETROSPECT - Most Anticipated Films of 2015

When the year commenced, I posted my five most anticipated films as I usually do.

Here is that list.

Now, after seeing Star Wars just last week, every film on the list has been seen. So, traditionally, here is my retrospect, rearranging each film in terms of actual quality and how it compared to my original expectations. Let's commence...

#5 - Avengers: Age of Ultron


Marked as one of my most anticipated movies of the year, Age of Ultron was nothing but a miserable disappointment upon arrival. Despite being enjoyed by most, things just didn't quite click with me as I watched the narrative struggle along from the get go into a messy sequence of poorly timed gags, pointless sub plots, and almost no scaled down focus. Plot threads are tossed everywhere, jokes are made at even the most inappropriate of times, and theres simply no emotional connection between any of these characters. Performances are generally less interesting than in previous MCU films, and while James Spader does a great job with the fantastically animated Ultron, he's such a bland villain that all this talent ultimately goes to waste.

The action is exciting as always, but even that drags on; and as everything is so poorly drafted, the actual reason as to why the Avengers are undergoing another epic fight is seldom explored. I can see why others enjoyed it, but for me, it's another beyond mediocre entry to this recently mixed franchise.

#4 - Spectre


Spectre comes off the heels of 2012's Skyfall - heralded by many critics as the best Bond film in recent times, and also the highest grossing one with over $1 billion in box office receipts. In this sequel, the titular organisation comes to the big screen for the first time in over forty years, with acclaimed actor Christoph Waltz starring as the new villain.

With plenty of pulse pounding action scenes and another strong performance from Daniel Craig, Spectre manages to transcend it's occasionally thinly written narrative and lack of character development. The disappointment from critics seems similar to that of Quantum of Solace, which gained similarly mixed reception after failing to rival the standards of it's predecessor, Casino Royale, back in 2008. Here, although Spectre can't match the enormous heights set by Skyfall, there's no denying that this is still a thoroughly entertaining modern action flick, with an interesting, if again thinly scripted narrative, thrilling set pieces, and a lineup of fine performances from a well chosen cast.

#3 - Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Could The Force Awakens be on it's way to being the highest grossing film of all time? Who knows. Topping $2.7 billion worldwide to surpass Avatar will not be an easy feat, but with $544 million in domestic earnings just over a week after release, rivalling Avatar's $760 million US haul seems more and more achievable. The first Star Wars flick released in a decade has got fans and non diehards alike overloading theatres to catch one of the biggest movie events of all time, and there's no sign of any disappointment for most.

The Force Awakens is a tale that unites the classic Star Wars trademarks, and characters including Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, alongside fresh ideas and characters into a narrative that's stocked with thrilling action scenes, plenty of dazzling effects, and a blistering sense of fun and scale. It's epic to say the least, with an impressive villain and a lineup of superb performances from a loveable cast of newcomers. Humour is occasionally poorly timed, given the context of certain scenes, but thankfully this doesn't adopt any traits of "dark and gritty" blockbusters; so, at the end of the day, it's not only surprisingly complex, but also great fun for audiences of most age groups.

Also, BB8 is a legend.

#2 - Jurassic World


There was no denying that Jurassic World was going to be a success - but the amount of records it broke was bombastic to say the least, and now it sits proudly as the fourth highest grossing film of all time. The first entry to the franchise in 15 years, Jurassic World sees John Hammond's dream come to life at last as a fully operational dinosaur theme park is constructed at Isla Sorna as he had originally envisioned. However, not to give anything away, but a decision made by the park staff to reignite visitor interest gravely backfires, putting everyone in danger.

Chris Pratt stars this time round, and only B. D. Wong returns from the original films as Doctor Henry Wu, so everything's freshened up for a new audience. It treads over the same plot points as the original classic, and may not impress some people as a piece of original storytelling, but an interesting insight to the behaviour of the creatures in the park, as well as important (if a bit generic) themes of excessive consumerism help to build upon the ideas that it's predecessors expressed. Couple that with a well rounded cast, excellent visual effects, and some tense, thrilling action sequences, and Jurassic World is finally the sequel that does the original justice.

#1 - Inside Out


Inside Out is Pixar's latest original tale based on the lives of emotions that dwell inside our head, and how they operate our daily lives. The main character is Riley Anderson, whose five emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear try to guide her through the struggles of moving to a new home across the country. Things take a turn for the worst when Joy and Sadness are whisked away into the depths of Riley's mind, leading to a breakdown within Riley herself that must be fixed before things worsen beyond measure.

It's a beautifully animated, smartly written, and breathlessly constructed narrative that's full of passion and heart, with a host of loveable characters that are flawlessly voiced by a lineup of fine actors, including Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith, and an impressive performance from young newcomer Kaitlyn Dias as Riley herself, as well as Richard Kind as imaginary friend Bing Bong. The story is penned in a way that can be followed in a simple manner but also in a way that has so much complexity deep down, delivering a touching message about growing up and accepting changes in life; ideal for the younger audience and one thats surprisingly nostalgic for adult viewers. This film was actually number five on my anticipated list, and now here it is at the very top; I hoped it would be Pixar's major return to form, and it certainly did not disappoint whatsoever.

Thanks for reading! Have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Movie Review - Star Wars: The Force Awakens


It's been a decade since the last Star Wars movie, and three years since Disney acquired Lucasfilm and spearheaded their plans for a new sequel trilogy. In what is officially one of the biggest releases of all time, The Force Awakens has finally arrived in cinemas - greeted with record breaking ticket sales and acclaim from fans and critics alike. Safe to say, it meets most expectations.

Taking place thirty years after Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens sets up a new story where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has fled into exile when his attempts to rebuild new Jedi order only lead to the eventual revival of the dark side, now dubbed The First Order. Under the command of the ruthless Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the First Order seeks out a map that will lead them to Luke in order to destroy the Jedi for good; their efforts are combated by scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and redeemed Storm Trooper Finn (John Boyega), as well as a few familiar faces of the past, and the freedom fighters known as the Resistance.


J.J. Abrams has done a masterful work with the Star Trek franchise's resurgence - so he was evidently the perfect man to helm this project. The Force Awakens is full of the trademark features that we expect from the series, notably the classic scrolling credits intro with John Williams' iconic music, as well as plenty of new ideas to inject fresh energy into the overall narrative. It admittedly gets off to quite a bumpy start, mainly due to some vague exploration of backstory and unexplored character motivations, but this is quickly redeemed by some thrilling set pieces and a welcome sense of fun. Whilst there are times when humour is poorly timed, given the context of the scene, there's still no moments of it veering into dull, gritty territory - which is the best way to go.

The cast is generally spot on, especially Harrison Ford in his return as Han Solo, as well as Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. However, let's focus on those new arrivals - John Boyega helps Finn to become a likeable and charming character, but admittedly of his initial motivations aren't explored in the level of depth they really deserve. As a result, some of his behaviour is strangely segue given his apparent inner struggles; while he is entertaining to watch, his development isn't perfected in the way it should've been. The same goes for Daisy Ridley as Rey in a sense, as while the character is likeable, fun, charming, and definitely entertaining in the film's numerous battle scenes, she's just not quite as refined in terms of her backstory and general motivations.


But rest assured each of these characters, no matter how much room for improvement there always is, are worthy assets to the film that each have their own loveable perks and characteristics. A worthy antagonist rests with Adam Driver as Kylo Ren who, while again having some moments of unaddressed development, proves to be a disturbing yet epic foe, complimented by a suitably sinister design and some fantastic emotional acting provided by Driver when truths are revealed towards the films climax. For me personally, another scene stealing role was interestingly all in the hands of an ingenious effects team - that of BB8, a droid who plays a crucial role in the overall storyline. Loveable, cute, and often quite funny, BB8 is a thoroughly entertaining sidekick with a design (built and used for the film, no CGI) that is both innovative and unique, and makes for one of the most endearing robotic characters in the entire franchise alongside the ever amazing R2D2 and C3PO.

The Force Awakens is well penned by all those involved, with a story that unites age old concepts that the franchise was renowned for and injects them with a fresh feel and some new revelations. In hindsight, when watching for the first time, you begin to see just how bad George Lucas was at writing dialogue in his screenplays for the prequels - overly cheesy, borderline laughable dialogue is seldom present, and it's much easier to engage with emotionally stirring scenes, moments of genuine humour, and epic exchanges during battle sequences. More effort could've been made when it comes to character development of the new arrivals and some abrupt tonal shifts, which seems to be a common blockbuster problem nowadays, but The Force Awakens remains a stellar and exciting sequel that is more than a promising start to the next stage of this franchise.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Disneyland Paris - My Review


Another year, another trip to Disneyland Paris for myself - on the past two occasions, I posted a list of some of the best rides at the resort, from thrill rides aimed at the older crowd to family friendly experiences for all to embrace.

Now, I've surely ran out of rides to smack on a new list - so, as a new approach, I'm gonna give my overall thoughts on the resort, including all the entertainment it offers outside theme park rides. Let's begin...

Rides


Well, first, we'll start with a general consensus regarding the attractions on offer at both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. You can find my best of lists here and here, showing off some of the most notable and enjoyable rides the resort has to offer. 

There's thrilling coasters such as Space Mountain: Mission 2, Thunder Mountain, as well as Rock N Roller Coaster and Crush's Coaster in the Studios park. Each one provides it's own unique experience with fantastic effects and track design - Space Mountain has you hurdling through deep space, surrounded by effects that simulate meteors, supernovas, and nearby galaxies, while the classic Thunder Mountain speeds around the eponymous mountain region in a cursed mine train, enduring sharp turns and sudden drops beside the Rivers of America and racing through dark caverns in a loud and intense set piece. In most rides, cast members are extremely enthusiastic, becoming engrossed in their roles and giving genuine performances to suit the ride's atmosphere instead of being uninterested hosts directing you to a seat.

That's not all the place has to offer; as I've established in those aforementioned posts, we have other classic rides such as the haunting Phantom Manor, stomach dropping Tower of Terror, addictive shooting gallery Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast, and the renowned water ride, Pirates of the Caribbean. Truly, the resort offers attractions for a variety of age groups, with remarkable attention to detail and scenic design both in the queue areas and on the actual rides themselves. It adds up to a family friendly experience that Disney fans of any age can embrace.

Merchandise


Disneyland Paris is home to dozens and dozens of shops, many of them based at the exits of the most famous rides. All sorts of products can be purchased across each of them - from Disney themed clothing (hoodies, shirts, even underwear...) to a plethora of toys, mugs, badges, keyrings, and countless other products. Being a holiday resort, you'd expect some hefty prices - a hoodie can set you back around €50, and a shirt could be around €25. It's not something that everyone will be pleased about - but, without trying to sound like a suckup, the material of them and the overall design does not disappoint. You can find all kinds of amusing clothes, from Buzz Lightyear suit hoodies to classic items with traditional Disney icons and logos. Soft toys of classic Disney characters are littered across every shop, and all are utterly adorable in every way. You'll also find more Marvel and Star Wars products in recent times after Disney's acquisition of both franchises.

The shops themselves are all beautifully designed, particularly Constellations (just beside Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast) and the gargantuan World of Disney at the Disney Village complex. Across the Disney Village and in all the parks, the shops on offer provide plenty of things for Disney fans to enjoy and admire, despite some admittedly hefty (and occasionally absurd) price tags.

Restaurants


Disneyland Paris is host to a variety of dining experiences, from quick service fast food meals to traditional table service meals with diverse menus on offer. Café Hyperion, Casey's Corner, and Cowboy Cookout offer classic burgers, hot dogs, and barbecue chicken meals respectively, and while the queue system (one team member tends to serve two queues concurrently) is often ridiculous, the meals themselves are generally enjoyable, despite some equally high pricing.

Table service meals on offer include Planet Hollywood and the Steakhouse in the Disney Village complex, as well as the renowned Blue Lagoon restaurant that offers unique sea food, and sits directly beside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride with a dimly lit, snug atmosphere. Contrary to some people's beliefs, Disneyland doesn't just dish out cheap fast food - it has a large lineup of tasty quick service and table service experiences, that provides something for everyone based on their preferences and budget.

What needs fixing?


No matter how great something is, it can never be perfect - and Disneyland Paris is not devoid of flaws. The most notable element is some outdated attractions, mainly in Walt Disney Studios Park. This includes Armageddon - Les Effets Speciaux, a ride that simulates practical effects in the eponymous film from 1998 - seriously, does anyone care about that anymore? It is usually plagued with hideous queues and is a samey, dull, and outdated experience that needs to be scrapped. The same goes for the Studio Tram Tour, which features bland set pieces that aren't as impactful as they sound in today's world and can't help but feel repetitive and, again, rather outdated.

That aside, my other gripes are those I've already mentioned, including the irritating queue system in some of the quick service restaurants and the occasional excessive ride closures. Bad pricing is also a problem here and there, but all in all, very few flaws exist to detract from the resort's overall charm.

Overall


I can't comment on the hotels in general, having only stayed at Sequoia Lodge and Santa Fé - with log cabin and motel themes respectively. They're a relaxing place to kip, with free continental breakfasts on offer to those who purchased a packaged holiday and bars to chill out at after a busy day. For those with a bigger budget, the resort boasts higher class hotels such as the eponymous Disneyland Hotel which resides directly in the main theme park and offers plenty of five star services.

In general, Disneyland Paris is a resort that can appeal to fans of theme parks in general, and especially to diehard Disney fanatics. It has it's flaws, namely with some awkward queue systems and some excessive closing of major rides during quiet periods (though it's all the interest of maintenance which is fair enough in some ways), but I'll always treasure it as one of my favourite places to vacate alongside the Disney resorts in California and Florida.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Cool Planes


Without a doubt, the fixed-wing aircraft is perhaps one of the greatest inventions of all time. Modern aircraft weigh hundreds of tonnes, yet still find a way to lift off the ground and cruise nearly six miles in the sky - all thanks to the ingenious design of it's wings and engines. Invented by the Wright brothers in 1903, the modern day aircraft is one of the most important methods of travel in the modern world - for tourists, business tycoons, military personnel, and even for the purpose of transporting all manner of cargo. Without the power of flight, our society would simply not prosper - it's something we truly take for granted.

Here, in yet another random blog post, I'm gonna have a quick look at some of my favourite aircraft...

#5 - Boeing 747


Quite possibly the world's most iconic aircraft, the 747 was the original plane that your childhood self referred to as a "jumbo jet" - it entered service in 1969 and quickly became the largest passenger airliner ever built, and one that revolutionised the aviation industry; particularly when it came to lengthy transatlantic flights. The distinct hump on it's front houses the first class sector, and from an outside perspective, it's one of the key traits that makes this plane so easily recognizable, even to non enthusiasts. It set numerous other records upon launch relating to overall mass, wingspan, and speed - with a maximum cruising speed just shy of 560mph. Without a doubt, this is an aircraft that would immediately come to mind for many people when thinking about planes on the spot. Not that you would, unless you're a loser like me.

No offense intended. Well, not to other plane fanatics anyway. To myself, always.

#4 - Airbus A380


The 747 held the record of largest passenger jet from it's inception in 1969 until 2005 - when the Airbus A380 came along. Capable of carrying over 800 passengers (though average flights house just over 500 due to different layouts and classes), the A380 is slightly shorter than the 747, but easily tops it in terms of wing span - 80 meters in total - and general mass. The A380 was Airbus' response to Boeing's efforts to dominate the large aircraft market, and as a result, it has become an essential asset to the fleets of many top airliners; from British Airways to Virgin Atlantic to Emirates, the latter of which own over 60 of these beasts. It can fly at nearly 600mph, thus completing transatlantic flights in around 8-10 hours like it's competitors, but the larger capacity paves the way for more passengers, more on flight facilities, and an overall richer experience. It's awesome inside and out.

#3 - Antonov An-225 Mriya


Officially the largest airplane of all time, the Antonov 225 was built by the Soviet Union in 1988 for the sole purpose of transporting the Buran spaceplane. Once the Buran programme was concluded, the Antonov was bereft of purpose for nearly a decade, until finally being refurbished and used to transport enormous payloads - and allow the Soviet Union to brag about their god-like flying machine.

Weighing over 300 tons, reaching a length of 84 meters, and having a wingspan of 88 meters, this airplane is one of the most impressive achievements in aviation history - and makes it even harder to comprehend how such gargantuan things are able to even get off the ground, let alone happily cruise above the clouds. The Antonov stands out not only due to it's sheer size, but also it's six turbo fan engines, huge landing gear system that includes 32 wheels, and a tail fin that's even larger than the wingspan of smaller passenger jets. It cruises at about 500mph, the average speed for a jet airplane, but again, even more impressive when you look at just how big this thing is. Only one was built, as a plane of such scale was not essential for most aviation duties and so investing in future models seemed pointless. Perhaps this just helps it to stand out amongst the crowd.

#2 - Boeing C-17 Globemaster III


Truth be told, I struggle to really explain why the C-17 is one of my favourite airplanes - it just looks so badass, particularly thanks to it's impressive and iconic tail fin. Created solely for military purpose, the C-17 is a common in the fleets of most of the world's aviation warfare departments, such as the RAF and US Air Force. It's ability to take off and land in a matter of seconds, as well an impressive cruising speed of 520mph, make it perfect for military use; allowing it to reach even the most remote and narrow places when necessary. The C-17 is primarily used for transporting troops and cargo, and even to drop essential supplies down to recovery teams.

The C-17 began service in 1991 and production concluded just last month, although Boeing will continue to support usage and repairs of them for years to come. It's clear, based on it's impressive stats and robust design, that it'll be a long time before any attempted successor can rival it.

#1 - Concorde


A cliché choice for sure, but one that I had to include; first flown in 1969 and launched commercially in 1976, the Concorde was the world's second supersonic passenger aircraft after the Tupolev, which had a much a shorter lifespan due to safety and budget problems. Concorde planes were capable of flying at 1500mph - nearly three times the speed of the average jet plane, and over twice as fast as the speed of sound. As a result, lengthy transatlantic flights could be completed by the Concorde in a mere three hours. The sleek overall design, simple yet complex delta wings, and immensely powerful Olympus 593 engines allowed the aircraft to shatter numerous records and become one of the fastest of all time. As a result, it was primarily a magnet for the wealthy, with fares costing thousands of pounds - imagine how inflated that'd be today!

Sadly, the very first Concorde crash occurred on July 25, 2000, when an aircraft clipped an alloy strip upon takeoff, caught fire, and consequently smashed into a nearby hotel, killing everyone aboard and several people on the ground. After being grounded for over a year, Concorde took to the skies once again in November 2001 - of course, the tragic attacks on the WTC two months before caused an understandable fear of flying amongst passengers, and numerous airlines faced severe losses in revenue as a result. Consequently, due to high fuel and maintenance costs, the program simply became unprofitable by a large margin, and so it was retired in 2003. It's legacy rightfully lives on to this day as a true engineering marvel.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Movie Review - The Good Dinosaur


After a string of films that didn't quite meet Pixar's acclaimed heights, this year's Inside Out dazzled audiences and critics alike with it's boldly original premise and stellar execution. Due to countless production troubles, Pixar's latest The Good Dinosaur was pushed back from it's 2014 release to make 2015 the first time that Pixar has ever released two films in one year. As established, Inside Out ranks as one of their finest works yet, but how does The Good Dinosaur hold up?

What if the Chicxulub impactor missed Earth 65 million years ago? That is the premise of this interesting tale, which features a young Apatosaurus named Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), who is swept away from his home during a fierce storm and forced into a long journey to find his way back. Along the way, he meets and bonds with a cave boy whom he names Spot (Jack Bright), and learns to confront his inner fears and become a stronger person...well, dinosaur. Whatever.


There's no need for me to mention that The Good Dinosaur is beautifully animated; that's been standard for Pixar since their inception, and whilst people have expressed concern over the "cartoony" dinosaurs against the photorealistic backgrounds, it works surprisingly well to create a more expressive art design with a widespread appeal. It helps the characters stand out, giving them their own vibrant identity, and has a charming finesse to it. Indeed, the animation ranks as possibly some of the best in Pixar's long history.

The narrative is where we encounter some problems - the pacing gets off to a bumpy start as potentially stirring moments are disposed of before they can truly flourish, particularly the relationship between Arlo and his father Poppa Henry (Jeffrey Wright) during the first act. When Arlo and Spot begin their journey, their own bond develops nicely, and the host of supporting characters they meet are scene stealing in many ways; namely Sam Elliot as Butch, a Tyrannosaurus rancher. Sadly, despite their fantastic contribution, these supporting characters leave the narrative too quickly and thus are greatly missed - in a very frustrating way.


The Good Dinosaur, however, has some beautiful tender moments, namely relating to it's morals of devotion to family and confronting your fears. Yes, these plot lines aren't incredibly original, and in fact Pixar could've been a lot more unique with their creative concept, but the overall good humour and sense of adventure in the story helps to compensate. This combined with the gorgeous animation, a well chosen voice cast, and a superb score by Mychael and Jeff Danna makes The Good Dinosaur an enjoyable if imperfect addition to Pixar's renowned pantheon of family films.