Today I review Disney/Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur”. Usually I am a huge, huge, huge fan of Pixar’s work. Love pretty much everything that comes out of their studios. However, they completely missed the mark with this one. I was really excited about this movie, my younger son is a huuuuuuge dinosaur buff and I thought, “Hey! Dinosaurs and Pixar! Saweeeeet!” Only to have my hope dashed and smashed. Let’s break it down:
To start with, I have yet to figure out why the movie is named “The Good Dinosaur”. The movie’s main character, Arlo, is the runt of a “litter” of 3 siblings. He’s afraid of everything, and when given a task of catching and killing a “critter” that’s eating the family’s food supply he gets scared of the “critter” (which turns out to be some sort of deranged toddler human creature that acts like a dog). I hated that deranged toddler human creature from the moment he makes his first appearance in the movie, stealing corn from the family’s corncrib. (I can’t stand thieves. Even when they’re supposed to be “adorable” or “charming”, which this creature completely fails to be.) But I digress… so Arlo is supposed to ‘make his mark’ on the world and accomplish something great. His dad takes him outside the confines of the family farm to show him the big bad world, and in a spectacular display of poor parenting takes him out in a storm and the dad ends up dead. So Arlo goes home, sees the human-dog-creature again and chases him, falling into a river and getting swept away himself. The adventure is in his return home… but I still don’t get why he’s a “good dinosaur”? What’s “good” about him? The title of the movie just doesn’t really fit the plot.
I read a LOT of complaints online about scare factor in this movie. Lots of kids under 8-ish crying, with the dad dying (in yawningly familiar Disney style), an insect animal having its head ripped off, the family (upon Arlo’s return) being in very poor condition, and the separation of the new “friends” at the end. I can see where this would be disturbing for small kids. Keep in mind this movie is NOT G-rated, it has a PG rating. I would say this is earned, and to proceed with caution with small kids despite the “Disney/Pixar” name.
The visuals of this movie are amazing. For the sets/backgrounds. For the animals/dinosaurs themselves the animation is very “balloon-ish” and cartoony. It’s a bit disjointed like that.
The plot is rather bland, all in all. The dino is the runt of the littler, a parent dies, runt has to prove himself and overcome his fears.. *yawn*. It just didn’t inspire me. I never really cared about any of the characters. The little human-dog creature annoyed the ever loving crap out of me, and I hated him through the entire movie. I never, at any point, felt ANY positive vibes towards this creature. I was incredibly annoyed at seeing a small human scampering on all fours with his tongue hanging out. It just wasn’t cute, funny, endearing or charming. Maybe I’m cold and heartless. I dunno.
So while we do watch it now and then, because dinosaurs. I can’t say that there’s anything of real redeeming value here. If you want a really great Pixar production, watch “Inside Out”.
Edit to add: I dislike this movie more and more every time I see it. I think we’ve watched it 4 or 5 times now, and the toddler human-dog creature gets more and more annoying every time. Not like, Calliou-level of annoying, yet, but it’s getting there. It just doesn’t get better with repeated viewings.