It has been a long trip to the big screen for Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur. Many were excited for two Pixar films to be released in the same year in 2015, but that was never the animation giant’s intentions. Originally slated for a November 2013 release, The Good Dinosaur was mired with production problems and was pushed back twice causing 2014 to be without a release from Pixar which is a rarity. The voice cast and story of The Good Dinosaur was blown up or if you go by company language in the press releases, reinvented into a new story after the original concept didn’t live up to Pixar’s and Disney’s high standards.
The Good Dinosaur starts with an interesting concept. What if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs never hit Earth? In this world the prehistoric beasts remained the dominant species on the planet. It’s too bad this idea is only given a few minutes of screen time to be explored. Instead we are treated to a film that takes its inspirations from westerns and the odd ball buddy comedies and none of it really blends together well. A whiny and borderline annoying dinosaur named Arlo is forced to travel with a little feral human named spot in order to get back to his home through the treacherous terrain of the Great Dino Frontier.
The plot of The Good Dinosaur is quite generic and plain which is something the audience isn’t accustomed to with Pixar films that are filled with colorful little emotions in your head and flying houses attached to balloons. We think of grand ideas when it comes to Pixar, but The Good Dinosaur is basically a little dinosaur gets lost and has to find his way home. This entry in the film company’s library is one of the weakest stories we’ve seen from the animation studio. You could tell the movie had been thrown together after being retooled numerous times by its lack direction.
The Good Dinosaur is missing that certain something that makes it special and stand out as an animated film people of all ages will love and not just the little ones who are sure to enjoy this movie. The Good Dinosaur is gorgeous and a technical feat with its rolling Jurassic landscapes which is probably why Pixar and Disney didn’t want to scrap the film completely. As beautiful as The Good Dinosaur is on film, the story lacks characters you care about and for once Pixar forgets to make a connection with its audience. The Good Dinosaur is a rare misstep from the leaders in film animation.
Overall, I give The Good Dinosaur 2.75 out of 4 stars.