Time to review what many deem to be Pixar’s less entertaining film of 2015, The Good Dinosaur. Fraught with production troubles, this film received a negative reaction from many fans saying that it wasn’t really any good. Others say that this film is actually an underrated gem. How do I feel about the film? Well, let’s take a look.
The film takes place in an alternate reality in which the asteroids that were supposed to destroy the dinosaurs actually missed the Earth completely. Because of this, dinosaurs continued to thrive and evolve learning new skills over the years, such as farming.
One young Apatosaurus named Arlo, voiced by Raymond Ochoa, isn’t particularly brave, but soon has to learn to overcome his fears when natural forces sweep him far away from his home and he has to find his way back. Along the way, he bumps into many different characters including a stray human dog-like child named Spot.
So, what did I think about this film? I liked it…but that’s it. I didn’t love it nor did I think it was an amazing film, but I liked it. It has its pros and its cons. Let me start by talking about what I think was the biggest strength of the movie: the animation.
While the animation of the dinosaurs may seem somewhat cartoony, nobody can deny the sheer beauty that is the animation of everything else, especially the natural backgrounds. The river looks so real and menacing! The mountains seem majestic! The overall scenery is just gorgeous!
Another thing I loved about the animation has to do with some T-Rex’s that Arlo bumps into later on in the film. They play the role of cattle ranchers and have to herd up some longhorns. What really excited me about how they run is that they run like how a cowboy on a horse would look while riding. Rather than moving the way a T-Rex in a film like Jurassic Park might move, their legs move in a sort of galloping way and their arms move as if they’re holding onto invisible reins. I just thought that was an incredibly clever way of animating them!
Now, what about the cons? Well, the biggest complaint people make about this film is that story-wise, it’s not much. It’s about a young dinosaur finding his way home and nothing much else happens. You see, this film is supposed to be something like an animated Western, the type of Westerns that are incredibly simple in plot: hero goes on journey, bumps into characters along the way, etc. And this film does exactly that. Does that make the film bad or boring? I won’t argue that it makes the film bad, but I can say that it puts a damper in the rewatch factor for me. I could, for example, see myself rewatching Pixar films that I’m not in love with such as Up or WALL-E more so than I would this film.
Now, do I think this film deserved an Academy Award nomination? Eh, I’m not sure. Inside Out and Shaun the Sheep Movie definitely deserved their nominations, but I haven’t seen the other three films that were nominated. Hence, I can’t say whether one of those three should have been replaced with The Good Dinosaur. So, basically, I’m not upset that this film wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award, nor would I be surprised if I thought this film should have been nominated instead of the other three.
Summing up, I liked the film, but I’m not going to ameliorate that sentence beyond that. Where does this rank amongst the rest of Pixar’s films for me? Do I agree with those people who say that this is Pixar’s worst film ever? Before I answer that, let me make two statements first:
1) I think we can all agree that the quality of Pixar’s films is so good that even the worst Pixar films are still decent. Hence, designating a film to be the worst Pixar film isn’t really much of an insult. It just means that it’s the least best.
2) I also think that there is a nigh unanimous consensus that the worst Pixar films (in no particular order) would be Monsters University, Cars 2, Brave, and The Good Dinosaur.
Having said that, the question now is do I think The Good Dinosaur is a worse film than Monsters University, Cars 2, and Brave? I’ve battled with myself over the answer to this question for a long time! I’ve finally come to the somewhat hesitant conclusion that I do like those other three movies better than The Good Dinosaur. But what about the actual quality of the films? Well, I believe that both Monsters University and Brave are generally better films than The Good Dinosaur.
So, the question is, “Is Cars 2 better than The Good Dinosaur?”. Like I said before, I definitely like Cars 2 better than The Good Dinosaur, but the animation and story in Cars 2 are average, at best. Whereas The Good Dinosaur suffers in story, but makes up for in gorgeous animation! So for that reason, I would have to say that Cars 2 is the worst Pixar film ever, in my opinion, and The Good Dinosaur is the SECOND worst! And like I said before, there’s nothing wrong with that!