Director: Peter Sohn
Starring: Raymond Ochoa, Frances McDormand, Steve Zahn, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Elliott (all voice)
I had pretty high hopes for Pixar’s latest offering, ‘The Good Dinosaur’. I was even expecting it to be one of Pixar’s best movies to date; practice makes perfect and all that. But sadly, it isn’t. It is, however, one of Pixar’s better movies, but there were too many niggling issues which kept it from being spectacular and thus prevents this film from competing with the likes of ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Finding Nemo’.
The story for ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is beyond basic and is actually somewhat predictable. It’s about a timid, little dino named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa). One day, Arlo happens to spot a critter and this curious little human startles Arlo. So naturally, Arlo runs away from the critter only to fall in the river and be swept up by the current. Lost, Arlo must now find his way home with his unlikely new friend. More importantly though, Arlo must find himself; see what Pixar did there, throwing in some thematic depth? I thought that the story was cute, but where ‘The Good Dinosaur’ really shines is in its messages. I know the messages of overcoming your fear, embracing friendship and appreciating your family aren’t new, but it’s the way that they’re portrayed throughout the film which makes ‘The Good Dinosaur’ such a delight to watch.
With that being said, I do have some problems with ‘The Good Dinosaur’, in the form of plot holes. My main annoyance is a pretty major plot hole for me, and without spoiling anything, it involves a storm and the river. If you want to know more, find me on Twitter (@judgmentalnerd) and we can discuss it privately out of respect to others. Shameless plug aside, another complaint I have is the surprising lack of dinosaurs. Once Arlo is lost, he encounters a few dinosaurs here and there; but for the most part, he’s kinda the lone-dino. Yeah, Arlo does have his human companion but that little guy is essentially a dog. He acts like a dog, he doesn’t talk – only the dinosaurs talk – he has a really good sense of smell, he growls. So, yeah, he’s a dog basically. It’s all very confusing and the more I think about it, the less sense it makes.
Anyway, you’ve all probably heard and read good things about the animation. I mean, you expect a certain visual brilliance from Pixar these days – ‘Up’ really set the benchmark pretty high. But to be honest, aside from some impressive fireflies, they never did anything that cool with the animated aspect. Still, it was enjoyable to look at. Overall, I’m really not meaning to bash ‘The Good Dinosaur’. I just found some weird inconsistencies that really bogged down the whole experience for me. I wanted to love it, but I don’t. I like it more than some of Pixar’s other films and I would easily watch it again, but it could have been so much better.