Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town Reviews
The first thing you need to know is that this takes place in an alternate reality where the supposed meteor that killed the dinosaurs passed and..didn't kill them off. Anyway, going on, when a storm washes a dinosaur named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) downriver, he ends up stranded and meets this kid later named Spot (voiced by Jack Bright) and the two go on an epic journey to find Arlo's way home.
First off, I'll say that I almost overlooked the fact that the meteor thing didn't happen in this. I mean, it was only there for a minute and honestly didn't really effect the plot all that much. But other that, I'll say that overall, the guy who voices Arlo (again, Raymond Ochoa) is really good! He isn't one of the best child actors of all time or anything, but he does serve all the necessary emotion he needs.
Next, I'll say that one major thing I like about this film..scratch that, adore about it is its visuals. Dear lord, especially the backgrounds in this are some of the best CGI I have ever seen. It is beautiful and a HUGE step up in terms of Pixar. Extremely good work indeed!
When The Good Dinosaur needs to be suspenseful, it really is! As well as heartwarming. A certain scene a bit after he gets stranded is especially heartwarming and has some extremely good writing. The movie does have a tragedy that happens early on, and it's written well yet, if I'm being completely honest, it was kind of predictable. Not that big a problem but...meh. A bit of a nitpick.
Humor wasn't a huge part in this but for the little it had it was relatively funny! Nothing groundbreaking, nothing incredible. But relatively funny.
Surprisingly, Spot wasn't that annoying. I mean, most kids characters in films are written really really badly and usually very annoying. But Spot is one of the few exceptions....mostly. Granted, for the first 3rd of the film, until he starts to grow a connection with Arlo, I could easily see why people would find him annoying. And if I'm being completely honest..yeah, he was. But you seem to loose that vibe with him, again, as soon as he starts to grow a connection with Arlo.
Something I noticed a bit into the film is that I didn't think the film was composed by Michael Giacchino (composer of most of Pixar's films.) And really I could see why. This is that kind of film. It's relatively different in terms of Disney. It was nice to see a bit of a new more naturalistic feel to the music. I highly suggest you check it out.
One final thing I want to mention is the ending. Dear lord, the ending to this is fantastic. It is very very well written and very touching and heartwarming. Also kind of depressing to an extent. Though we have sort of seen the scenario before but.. I just can't help it, man, it's really good!
Now onto things I didn't necessarily like (up until the last paragraph). At times, the story can be a bit clunky. To the point where you can easily rip certain bits out of the film and it'd be perfectly fine. Honestly, some bits in the film were much more interesting than others. For example, the "main antagonist" if you can really call it that doesn't really come in until half in. If anything, The Good Dinosaur doesn't really HAVE a main antagonist. But they just decided to shoehorn in someone or something to make it more...traditional, perhaps? There was another section around the middle where the two come across some other dinosaurs. Nothing of substance really happens in this whole sequence and they continue on their way home 10 or 15 mins after. As I said earlier, this is one of the scenes that you could have easily cut out and it would not have changed a thing.
Although a very small thing in the movie, the relatives aren't very interesting. Granted, they aren't really supposed to be. The film isn't centered around them! But still, a bit more screen time and a bit more character development wouldn't have hurt. But that's just a nitpick.
Is it just me or are certain bits of this very reminiscent of the Lion King? I don't know, the tragedy happening, heck, the basic SET UP of the tragedy is VERY reminiscent of The Lion King. Other small bits are very very similar. Granted, the film overall isn't very similar as a whole. But specifically those sections got me really...odd. It was very odd.
So overall, I'd highly recommend you check it out! It's relatively good but, honestly, not as good as Inside Out. Actually, in terms of emotion, I think it might be better than Inside Out!...no pun intended. But as a overall film, probably not. Visually stunning and great in terms of heart, but with flaws, I highly suggest you check it out.
A must watch every Christmas
While I was a little displeased that the Christian aspects of the holiday were mostly left out of this story (only hinted at indirectly a couple times), and some of the "reasons" for Santa Claus' actions etc. were a little far fetched, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town! still manages to tell a fun tale trying to explain the big man in the red suit. The music is decent though not nearly as good as most of the other Rankin Bass productions but this is classic Christmas fare that should be consumed at least once a year.