The Good Dinosaur doesn’t seem like a movie which should have been a theatrical release, but rather a Disney channel, or ABC, special.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
Little Arlo (Raymond Ochoa/ Jack McGraw) is the smallest of three dinosaurs. All of which, with Poppa (Jeffrey Wright) and Momma (Frances McDormand), run a farm. But, unfortunately for Arlo, while his siblings have found a job which works for them, he has a difficult time just feeding the chickens. Luckily for him though, his parents have a great deal of patience, but especially his father. Someone who, with the help of Spot (Jack Bright), and a slew of other dinosaurs, such as T-Rex Butch (Sam Elliott), mold Arlo into a dinosaur to be proud of.
Probably the main thing worth praising is, despite having a lot of dinosaurs with southern accents, there is diversity in terms of how they are portrayed. Some are your general stereotypical negative southern stereotypes, but others are a bit more positive.
The usual emotional complexity Pixar movies have is completely absent here. Most of their ploys to get you emotionally involved are cheap, like having Poppa die to save his son, as well as Spot also having lost his family and stealing from Arlo’s just to survive.
Outside of Butch and his family, which solely are memorable for we actually get to know them and get some sort of backstory, every other character in the film, both villains and protagonist, are easily forgettable.
Despite being 100 minutes long, due to the fact Spot can’t talk, and it seems the movie has at least 30+ minutes of Arlo chasing Spot, or them just traveling. Making it, again, feel like this movie should have been released on TV instead of theaters.
Overall: Skip It
Though not as bad as Planes or Cars 2, The Good Dinosaur does represent a low point for Pixar, especially after Inside/ Out. Almost to the point, you have to wonder if Disney was pushing them for multiple releases in a year and this was solely churned out due to pressure. That is, as opposed to the creative process being allowed time and the story getting the effort which usually makes Pixar films good.
But, alas, being that this film cheaply tries to pull on your heart strings, and features largely forgettable characters, perhaps the only reason this may even make money is because a lot of people get tricked by the Disney/Pixar label. That or they have children who unfortunately want to see this. If you have children, or friends, which do, at least you may get a comfortable nap. Though I would watch Sanjay’s Super Team and then proceed to take your nap.
Things To Note
Honestly, a part of me sort of wished Spot was the lead and we saw his story. In fact, to be completely honest, since I often avoid trailers so that not too much gets spoiled, I thought it was going to be about Spot which may have had an influence on this review.