28 December 2015

Kids Need To Learn That Life Is Grim

If you're depressed about being a fuck up then it's probably Disney's fault. I'm not blaming the house of mouse for the fact that you're seemingly incapable of achieving happiness but rather that you consider it your own fault. Being the constant miserabilist that I am, I've taken to asking most people within my social circle if they're happy and the two most positive responses that I've had are “I'm in a happier place” and “I don't like this line of questioning”. Am I happy? No. I wake up every morning, rate my joy out of eight and then stick my head in the oven, on that gas mark and for that equivalent amount of minutes. Literally nobody will admit to being content because nobody actually fucking is, but in this world of social media we assume that everybody is swimming in an ocean of success whilst we're trying not to drown in a swimming pool of piss. People used to be worried that the grass was always greener on the other side but some days I can't help but feel it'd simply look better from six foot below.

The reason that Disney should be paying for our therapy is because it teaches a simple message; “Good things happen to good people”. What a load of shite. We live in a random and godless world in which events are dictated by chaos and with karma simply being the conformation bias of the fucking deluded. The problem with Uncle Walt's message is that we're brainwashed with it as children before growing up to become the adult-sized, flesh bags of incapability that we feel we are. We're taught that good things happen to those that deserve it, we know we aren't happy and so slowly but surely our Krang-like brains turn against us and form an unjust conclusion. We must be bad people. We deserve our shitty lives. It's our own fault. Parents rave about how Disney's films are able to get their bratty little kids to shut the hell up for a couple of hours, but that message is a Russian roulette of self-hate and future depression. I know children are too noisy and I know that Disney's films are really good... but with that underlying message you may as well entertain your kids by strapping them to a spinning wheel and throwing circus knives at their fucking heads.

It's refreshing therefore to come to The Good Dinosaur and discover that Pixar have made a family film that shares a knowledge of my existential anxieties and absurdist world views. The film begins with the dino-killing asteroid heading straight towards Earth and then like a twatty bus driver on a rainy day it simply carries on past us. No collision, no extinction, just a random near-miss. As a result, dinosaurs are now given a few extra million years to continue evolving, which is one of the many things that this film then fails to explore. Essentially they learn to speak English and figure out some basic farming skills but that's about it. With our wireless internet, motorised vehicles, foot-long Subway sandwiches, and those naughty green herbs that people like to smoke, I can't help but feel humanity has done a little better. Instead The Good Dinosaur is a simple coming-of-age story about a young apatosaurus who gets lost and so is forced onto an adventure with a tiny, feral, human child. So shock-shitty-horror, Pixar have made a film in which a mismatched couple slowly bond during their attempt to find their way home. Kind of like you know.. every fucking Pixar film ever.

So you'd be hard-pressed to successfully argue that this is one of Pixar's best films because it really isn't. It's a simple story about a dinosaur's journey home in which you spend the entire running time in awe of the animation. I mean, seriously- this film looks amazing. The backgrounds, landscapes, and general believability of the environment are now so photo-real that they may as well have just filmed the actual places for real and saved themselves a few years of pissing about on the pixel-machine. However this studio has always prided themselves on prioritising story and character to the point that if you're noticing the animation then they've kind of failed. If you spend the entire running time of a film about a talking dinosaur thinking “fuck me, that tree looks good”, then something has clearly gone wrong. Not only that but the locations look so stunning that they actually start to contradict the cartoonish looking creatures we're meant to be following. It's kind of like seeing John Goodman walking down the health food section of the local supermarket.. something just don't quite seem right.
That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the two main characters at all, with the touching bond between the dinosaur and the human often finding various ways to kick my heart in the balls. There was one scene for example in which the two find a primitive way to bond over the loved ones that they've lost which was particularly tough. And when I say primitive, I mean they use sticks and mud as opposed to making finger paintings with their shit. Although considering the little boy runs around semi-naked and on all fours, there were a few moments that I worried that I was going to get a wink from the little pink eye of his anus. Oh and to quickly move away from that subject, there was another moment involving the ghost of one of said loved ones that was like getting donkey-punched in the feels. It's just a shame that those moments were simply the cherries on top of a particularly average cake. This is obviously in stark contrast to something like Toy Story in which the entire film was essentially one giant fuck-off cherry on its own.
The joke of this film is that its makers are referring to it as being about a boy and his dog- it's just that in this specific case the boy is a dinosaur and the dog is a boy. As far as subtext goes, that's really all there is. Whereas this years Inside Out was able to deconstruct the inner workings of a young girl's brain and attempt to explain the benefits of feeling sad, all The Good Dinosaur does is mildly subvert an old cliché. Thank God then for the shite that they put the two characters through which I really do think is the saving grace of the movie. Neither of the two main characters are morally bad and yet they're subjected to a hailstorm of shite as the movie relentlessly fucks them like a one armed knobbing machine with its drilldo on full charge. If they're not having their family die, getting hunted by predators, or being washed away in floods, then they're constantly cracking their heads on rocks. In fact the lead dinosaur seems to smash his skull so many times that the suspense to the film isn't so much about if he'll get home but rather in wondering how brain-damaged he'll be if he ever gets there. In contrast to all of that Disney shite that I was banging on about earlier, this film doesn't subscribe to the notion that good things happen to good people. Rather it leans more heavily on the fact that the world is a miserable fucking place and that as bad as being born might be, it essentially only gets worse from then on.

Of course this isn't necessarily the kind of message that parents want to expose their children to and as a result a few of the over-protective procreators have begun to moan. There was even one loud brat in our cinema screening who kept loudly exclaiming “I don't like this Mummy”, every time shit began to get real. Well tough titties kid, because that's what life's about. You aren't going to inherit a castle, become a princess, or somehow stumble upon an ancient treasure. However you might get lost, attacked, and have everybody that you care about die. That's life, get used to it. It's not the films content that the children have been frightened of but rather a fairly believable depiction of what they themselves can expect between now and the grave. Essentially it goes, birth, chaos, chaos, chaos, death. Also we have a stupid system in the UK in which a 12A rating from the BBFC means that anybody below the age of 12 can see a film if accompanied by an adult. The problem is that 12 and older really is the only age that the BBFC think a film is acceptable for and so only reduced the strictness of the certificate on the grounds that some very slightly younger children might just about be mature enough. However this has resulted in fucking thick, irresponsible parents taking their insanely young children to see films that are in no way appropriate. So fuck you, you moronic parents... if your five year old is mature enough to see the dead Heath Ledger dressed up as a psycho clown and jam a pencil into a gangsters eye then they're mature enough to watch a dinosaur's world fall apart as it gets unjustly tortured by nature.
So yeah.. The Good Dinosaur isn't up there with Pixar's best, although even an average film from that studio is worth seeing. It's also a miracle that the film is any good at all considering how much of a balls up its making of seems to have been. To cut a long story short, the movie took about six years to make and then at last minute the director and cast were all removed and replaced as a new script was frantically written instead. So I guess chaos really is the theme running through everything from the films depiction of reality to simply the process by which it was made. So if you're feeling like you're to blame for how shite your life is then perhaps this is the film for you. There are better movies out there that you could watch but this is one of the few that might make you realise that nothing is your fault and that we're actually all riding the same shitty flume of life together. In fact, it actually joins the ranks of a few other films that have been out this year and that seem to be examining the reality of absurdism and existentialism. Although unlike Sicario and Birdman, The Good Dinosaur might actually help future suicides by being aimed exclusively at those fucking horrible little bastards that we call children. Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time.


You can visit the blog picture artist at _Moriendus_

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