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January 1st, 2016

Movie Review - The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur

Starring: Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Maleah Nipay-Padilla, Ryan Teeple, Jack McGraw, Marcus Scribner, Peter Sohn, Steve Zahn, Sam Elliot, A.J. Buckley, Anna Paquin, and more.

Directed by: Peter Sohn Original Concept by: Bob Peterson Story by: Peter Sohn, Erik Benson, Meg LeFauve, Kelsey Mann, Bob Peterson Screenplay by: Meg LeFauve Music by: Jeff Danna and Mychael Danna

Premise: On an alternate timeline, where the giant asteroid missed Earth 65 Million years ago, dinosaurs continue to exist to develop language, civilization, and other skills. Three young dinosaurs hatch on a farm to live and grow with their Momma and Poppa, where they grow corn and raise chickens. While Libby and Buck prove quite apt for the life there, Arlo has problems. Trying to help him, Poppa gives Arlo the job of catching and killing the critter who's been stealing from their corn stores, otherwise they might not have enough food saved for the winter. But things don't go as his Poppa had hoped. (Rated  PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Raymond Ochoa and Jack Bright are adorable as Arlo and Spot. Sam Elliot was perfect for Butch. His character was a neat surprise along with Nash and Ramsey. Jeffrey Wright and Frances McDormand were great as Arlo's Poppa and Momma. Peter Sohn as Forrest Woodbush, the crazy old hermit triceratops, was a total hoot. :)

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: I didn't think it possible, but Disney and Pixar have pushed animation up another notch. From the first scene of the film to the last you'll be trying to remind yourself the backgrounds are animated because they look so completely REAL! The seamless integration of the characters into their environment shows they must be animated; but you'll still find yourself not believing it. Honestly, the realistic quality of the environment was a total jaw dropper! The reflections, the detail, I was flabbergasted!

The dinosaurs and other critters are easily identified as animated, and looked great. Lots of lovely expressions and other visual cues. Good textures for the reptilian skins and more. Everything around them though is so amazing, it makes you wonder if Pixar was afraid of doing the same with the characters, so that the drama might become a little too  real for young viewers.

The realism of the scenery make for some amazing cinematography! The two scenes with fireflies are utterly wonderful. :)

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Think of the movie as dinosaurs meet Little House on the Prairie meet Bonanza and you'll have the general feel of the film. It's definitely a coming of age story and seems aimed more at the tween age group than the younger kids, though there's enough going on to keep them interested as well, even if they don't get everything being presented.

It was a lot of fun to see the dinosaurs as the civilized species. The human boy, Spot, has reasons for being wild but even then his ingenuity and intelligence shine through, showing humans are still in the game despite the meteor missing the planet. :P The swap between roles, though, was a lot of fun. And that isn't the only surprise they've prepared for us either. (Arlo and the chickens are a hoot!)

So though the story itself will be familiar, the trappings and stage settings make it fresh. It was also very well done besides. Major themes are about family, belonging, finding your true self, and being open to experiences. There are several poignant moments, so if you're like me, make sure to take a handkerchief or two.

Conclusion: The Good Dinosaur is visually fantastic! The animation of the surroundings is so detailed you'll swear they're real. Well worth it just for that alone! The short for the film is called Sanjay's Super Team and it is super adorable!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Saw two other films this week, but won't have time to do full reviews - so here goes: Mojin - The Lost Legend:  (Combo of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider) cool effects. Story a little disjointed, but still fun if not looked at too closely. 3.5 out of 5. The Hateful 8: acting is awesome, cinematography as well, but plot had several issues. :( 3.0 out of 5.

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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