Monthly Archives: February 2016

“The Good Dinosaur” – Pixar’s First Miss

Pixar Animation Studios has created one animated hit after another – Toy Story, Up, Inside Out, and many more. But with The Good Dinosaur, I think the company has stumbled and come up with its first genuine “miss.”  Derivative, with no appealing characters and little character development , the movie is good only for a Saturday rental to keep the kids entertained – for a while, anyhow. The premise is interesting. In this film, the meteorite that caused the extinction of the the dinosaurs actually misses the earth and dinosaurs live long into the age of the cave man and prosper in a terrain that looks like the American Northwest.  An apatosaurus couple raise corn on a farm and has three youngsters. The last to be born, Arlo, turns out to be the ultimate hero of the story.  During his journey to get home, after having been swept away

The Good Dinoasaur

by a raging river, he encounters a human child who walks on all fours and behaves more like a dog than a boy, so Arlo names him Spot. For a while then, we have a species bender of a boy and his dog played as a dino and his human. A lot could have been built out of this relationship, but the producers settle for stock humor and treacly emotions.  The Blu-ray disc looks fabulous. Technically, The Good Dinosaur is as good as any Pixar masterpiece, especially in the sound department, with a surround mix that could serve as “how to do it” lesson for all. But ultimately it’s all on the bland side. That goes for the extras, too, which are at best, merely cute, and at worst, boring. But stay tuned. The included trailer for Finding Dory indicates that Pixar will bounce back with a bit hit in June!

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” – Magical on Blu-ray

Walt  Disney had miles of imagination and vision, and fortunately for us, he decided that he wanted to make a feature length animated film. Before the fact, his critics dubbed Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs “Disney’s folly,” but once it opened they had to eat those words and replace them with words of praise. That was way back in 1937, even before I was born, and it’s still one of the “fairest in the land.” Looking at this new Blu-ray, the first in Disney’s  ‘Signature Collection,” one just marvels at how good it looks and sounds. It was made without computer assistance or what we’d consider modern techniques these days, yet it looks just as good as most of what studio produce in 2016. Yep, it’s a classic all right but there’s nothing moldy about it!

Snow White

And it plays well as a story expertly told, with outstanding character development.  Using different voices and different animators for each dwarf insured that each was a specific character. The evil queen is one of the most terrifying villains in the history of Disney movies, and Snow White is to die for. This new edition presents a perfect image and re-tooled sound and a boatload of extras that show how it was done in the first place. And guess what, it’s still G rated so is that rare title that the whole family can enjoy together. Thanks to this release, the new “Signature Collection” is off to a rousing start. Don’t miss it. If you don’t have Blu-ray yet, Disney has included a DVD, but you really need to see the Blu-ray if at all possible. It’s of demonstration caliber!