The Good Dinosaur: Not Good Enough

It’s easy to see while watching the Good Dinosaur just how much the animation has improved from Pixar’s first movie. And it’s not like Pixar ever had poor animation quality, it’s just that visually speaking the Good Dinosaur is absolutely stunning and features some of the most breathtaking background animation I’ve ever seen. Despite the great visuals I still walked away from the film feeling a little unsatisfied.

The Good Dinosaur is a movie made for kids and for that reason alone it’s not worth going to see in theaters for anyone without kids. There will be at least one crying baby when you watch it. When I saw the film there was more noise generated by the audience than at an opened mouth chewing contest and fireworks convention combined. For that reason alone I would wait for it to come out on DVD before viewing it, if at all.

The main storyline lacks any originality despite starting from a promising premise. In a world with humanoid dinosaurs that farm and herd cattle, the storyline basically devolves into the relationship between a young boy and his loyal four-legged companion. Ironically here the roles are reversed, it’s the young boy playing the role of loyal dog. There’s nothing wrong with this plot point, but besides that role reversal Pixar didn’t really do anything special with this relationship. This coming of age story doesn’t really pack the emotional punch that it could have had and the story is paced very slowly. It took too long for the relationship between Arlo and Spot to blossom into the friendship we all knew it was heading towards.

The_Good_Dinosaur_Promo_Art_01The Good Dinosaur could be considered a good movie because of it’s cinematography and visuals, but the plot and humor featured throughout the film were generally pretty boring. And while I’m not the target audience by any means, I feel like older Pixar movies were funnier. I’m not expecting anything too complicated plot wise, but half the movie showcased landscape shots of these two walking in the wilderness. Beautiful yes, but utterly slow paced and no evil Orcs chasing them to escalate the plot.

I grew up on Pixar movies and still hold many fond memories for the ones I watched, but recently it feels like the movies haven’t been as good. I’m sure nostalgia is a huge factor, but after producing Toy Story 3 in 2010 Pixar has only produced three original films, with two of those coming out in 2015. Brave, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur have all been decent, but the characters don’t feel as humorous or engaging to me. Maybe it’s because all three themes of those movies is about growing up and I can’t connect with that as strongly anymore. Furthermore, of the next five films in production for Pixar, four of them are sequels, meaning The Good Dinosaur will be the only original film by Pixar for a while.

Because its a Pixar film, the bar was set too high for me. I think this could be an enjoyable family movie, but only if there are kids aged 10 and under watching and they remain silent throughout the movie. The Good Dinosaur wasn’t good enough compared to Pixar’s older films, but it was good enough as an animated movie.

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