The Good Dinosaur (Pixar) Review
The Good Dinosaur was the second movie released by Pixar last year, after the fabulous Inside Out. I missed it in the theater, but I recently rented it.
Okay, I didn’t really miss it. I didn’t go because I heard it was strictly a kid’s movie, and I didn’t want to pay theater prices. After watching it, I can say that while it is geared more towards children, there are a couple of jokes that are very much adult-themed. (To which I laughed aloud.)
The Good Dinosaur is far from Pixar’s best, but it’s not a completely terrible movie. As usual with Pixar, there’s a lot to love about it.
- The animation. As always, the animation is superb. Especially notable here are the landscapes rendered in this movie. The mountains, the river, the forest; all are gorgeous. Many film stills would make beautiful landscapes to hang up on your wall.
- The initial idea. What if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs missed earth? That’s a fascinating premise, and hooked me right away. However, the movie somewhat neglected many opportunities such a good premise provides.
- The villains. I love the way the villains are introduced. At first, the pterodactyls seem friendly but the audience soon learns of their plans. The “bumbling bad guys” trope has been done many times before, but here it’s done especially well. There’s a scene in which their wings are compared to shark fins which worked pretty well, too.
- The short film. Sanjay’s Super Team, while not the best short, was enjoyable enough. Even thought I’m not from India, the director pulled from the universal experience of little boys and he did it well, without a single line of dialogue from the boy or his father. It had great action and editing, too.
While I basically enjoyed the movie, it had too many faults that kept it from becoming one of Pixar’s greats. Here are a couple that I noticed.
- The story. As I mentioned, the initial premise was fantastic. What if the dinosaurs lived on? However, the story became a run-of-the-mill “lost in the woods, separated from family” story pretty quickly. A squandered premise, and the biggest flaw of the film. It’s a kids movie, yes, but I was able to predict just about every beat with few surprises.
- The uneven tone. There were a couple of adult-themed jokes in this movie. They made me laugh, to be sure, however they didn’t fit the tone of children’s entertainment. (The jokes aren’t dirty, so don’t worry about showing it to your kids.) Most Pixar movies are “family films” that the whole family will enjoy. The Good Dinosaur is a kid’s film with a couple of treats thrown in for the grown ups.
- The character modeling. The characters looked very cartoony, almost like an Aardman animated claymation movie (Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit). Normally, I wouldn’t mind, but they clashed with the (almost) photorealistic settings. The difference was a bit too jarring. I think if the landscapes were more cartoony as well, it would have flowed better.
- Side characters. I didn’t really like any of the side characters, and they seemed shoehorned into the movie to sell toys. That’s probably exactly what happened.
The Good Dinosaur is a good movie, it’s just not a great one. Pixar’s standards are probably too high for their own good. Adults might like it; your kids will probably love it.
Story: ★★ of 5
Action: ★★★½ of 5
Visuals: ★★★★★ of 5
Overall: ★★½ of 5
Pixar Movies Ranked
My ranking of the Pixar films (so far), from best to worst. This was a very difficult list to make, as Pixar doesn’t really have any bad films. This is just my opinion, and it could change the very next time I read it. Please share your own list in the comments.
- Toy Story 2
- Finding Nemo
- Toy Story
- The Incredibles
- Inside Out
- Monsters, Inc.
- Toy Story 3
- Incredibles 2
- Monsters University
- Finding Dory
- A Bug’s Life
- Cars 3
- The Good Dinosaur
- Cars 2
(I haven’t seen it yet.)
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