Rather than the overwhelming euphoria that greeted Inside Out earlier this year, the early response to The Good Dinosaur has been one of mild enthusiasm. It’s good, but not great. Still touching, but not lasting. What’s been universally acknowledged, though, is that The Good Dinosaur is simply drop dead gorgeous to look at. And that’s just from the people who saw it in 2D.
Surely this means that, with the boost of an extra dimension, 3D screenings of The Good Dinosaur will go up several more notches in quality than its paltry peer. But will this increase be worth the extra expense that comes with having to buy 3D tickets?
Our theatrical review for The Good Dinosaur will decide just how good a film it is. But this column examines its use of 3D. To do this, we use seven separate categories to evaluate the full scope of the 3D viewing experience, which in turn creates To 3D Or Not To 3D. That is the question, and you can find the answer below.
The Good Dinosaur’s 3D is so pert and pretty that it actually enhances just how sublime the world can sometimes look in real-life. Distant mountaintops hold your gaze because of their splendor, gushing flowing water is so luxurious you’ll suddenly feel the urge to strip and go for a dip. But nature still acts as the film’s antagonist, and while The Good Dinosaur highlights just how beautiful planet earth can be, it also showcases just how brutal it is. In 3D, these traits are heightened, and even though there’s a cartoonish dinosaur wandering around, the film never looks overly peculiar, and you still can’t help but get caught up in all of the resplendent visuals.
Planning & Effort Score
When it was decided that The Good Dinosaur would be in 3D, Pixar put all of their efforts into making it pop and shine as brightly as possible. Their team travelled across the American Northwest to really get a sense of the landscapes, and the meticulous details in the film’s waterfalls, geysers, mountains, and sandstorms are evidence that their expedition paid dividends. And because of this beauty, you can find yourself getting more and more dragged into the film. Which helps, because, at times, The Good Dinosaur’s story is pretty flimsy.
Before the Window Score
OK, so The Good Dinosaur doesn’t really use this element of 3D, which sees bits of the film reach out into the theatre. The introduction of one character is rather startling because of it, but other than that I don’t really remember into being utilized. I’m sure it was done to enhance rain and some action scenes, but only in a subtle fashion. While there’s one drug-induced sequence that it was probably also present during, I honestly was too beguiled by what was transpiring on screen to take notice. It really is that peculiar. Because of this, I’m going to play safe and just give this a three. Because even though they didn’t really utilize this trait, I can’t help but feel that was their intention.
Beyond the Window Score
Like the above, Pixar stretched The Good Dinosaur’s depth of field beyond the theater’s screen in a faint fashion. However, even though it’s hard to instantly detect, it’s still ever-present, and this subtle approach really brings the world to life in a truly stirring and touching manner. On the farm, the world seems tight and contained, but once Arlo finds himself lost in the big, scary terrain of Earth and is trying to get himself home, the Beyond The Window is used to enhance the terror and allure of his travels. There are probably more outlandish and stunning 3D depth of field presentations, but The Good Dinosaur shows discipline by not overtly going for the sensationalist approach, and instead uses it in a meticulous fashion to enhance its style and story.
The Good Dinosaur is so sumptuously lurid that you’ll find yourself increasingly touched by its artistry. When it needs to be bright, it shimmers and gleans. But when it needs to be dark and terrifying it also flips on a dime to make the world just that. But overall it’s the film’s beauty that will resonate the most with you. There was one sunset in particular that made me briefly consider building my own rocket and hiring my own crew so I could travel up to the star and personally thank it for its beauty.
Glasses Off Score
While it’s hardly conducive to the viewing experience, when you take your 3D glasses off in the cinema, you are able to see the layers used to create the experience. If it’s harder to see the screen then, most of the time, that means the 3D is stronger. During the times that I lowered my glasses while watching The Good Dinosaur, I saw plenty of 3D ruminating on screen, proving that the 3D animators over at Pixar weren’t just phoning it in.
Audience Health Score
At no point while watching The Good Dinosaur did I even remotely consider vomiting on the head of the person in front of me. Nor did I have an eyestrain, feel the pang of a headache, or even get annoyed by the glasses constantly resting of the top of my nose. The Good Dinsoaur doesn’t move at a ferocious pace, even in its action sequences, so people of all ages will be able to appreciate the film’s 3D without ever needing to close their eyes.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: It was always going to be an emphatic yes, wasn’t it? Sure, The Good Dinosaur has some script and structural issues that mean the film never really threatens the studio’s most prestigious talent. But the under-stated use of 3D suits The Good Dinosaur's folksy charm, and allows Pixar to create their most comparable film yet to Disney’s Nine Old Men. Wallowing in its visuals and being surrounded by its mastery was, for me, easily one of the most stunning and poignant cinematic experiences of the year. Thus, seeing The Good Dinosaur in 3D really is a must, as its deployment of the extra dimension, while not as ostentatious as other 3D films, is just as integral, and is easily worth the few extra cents and dollars.
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