Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur doesn’t hit theaters until November 25th, but Disney fans could get an early aural look at the film with the soundtrack, which came out five days prior. The all-score experience features music from brothers Mychael and Jeff Danna. Together, they have created a truly unique score for Pixar’s unique film.
The Good Dinosaur is a western film starring dinosaurs and the score reflects that unique blend. The main theme is melodic, sweet and would ordinarily be orchestrated with typical western sounds. But to set it apart, the instruments used at times bring a celtic influence, other times it gets a bit jazzy with lots of horns. Many other unique instruments are used, such as woodwinds and tribal horns, but it generally strays from ever sounding Jurassic.
Like the somber tone of the film, the soundtrack to The Good Dinosaur isn’t particularly lively. Most of the melodies are slow and sad, with the occasional happy, up-tempo moment. But more often than not, it’s either sad or frantic, depicting the same emotions as the story. What this means for the album is that while much of it is pretty, it’s not something you would put on to feel particularly inspired or moved in a happy direction.
This appears to be the complete film score with one exception; there wasn’t room for the end credit mix of themes from the film. This is sad news for casual fans of film scores who prefer to buy a few tracks as a sampling of the film’s themes rather than the full soundtrack. However, there is one track that I recommend as a substitute, track number 22 “Run With the Herd” features the main theme that follows Arlo throughout the film along with the uptempo adventure theme that is sadly not in the film enough.
The physical CD features a foldout book that offers two cinemascope views from the film on either side. A word of caution to those who haven’t seen the film; don’t read the track list unless you want major plot spoilers. Overall, the music from The Good Dinosaur is very good. Regardless of my feelings towards the film itself, it’s hard to deny that the Danna brothers are talented songwriters and there aren’t many scores for animated films as culturally diverse as the sounds found on this release.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.