Visually astounding, The Good Dinosaur lacks a certain oomph! factor – especially being released after Inside Out, this movie was awaited with high hopes. Pixar makes movies with seemingly one aim: turning us into an emotional mess, walking out of the cinema on borderline hysteria, torn between tears and laughter. However, this time, we felt a bit cheated.
Though, I’ll call this Pixar’s most beautiful disappointment. It has lip quivering moments throughout but it feels like tricky, with sad scenes carelessly inserted into the flick without build up for characters or plot. The main character’s journey in this movie lacks satisfaction as The Good Dinosaur fails to connect the audience to the story.
Audiences follow the life of a young, green, cowardly, Apatosaurus, Arlo; and his family of quaint farming dinosaurs. Arlo is different from the other dinos though: not as dedicated, strong or smart. He doesn’t really want to contribute to agriculture – shown with detailed creative visuals of the family farming.
Arlo’s inability to fit in with his family grows into a sense of incapability when he fails to catch a critter stealing the winter food supply. Venturing out with his father to apprehend the critter gets Arlo’s father killed when disaster strikes.
Thus Arlo’s Hero’s Journey is instigated, a change in Arlo’s life! But sadly the character lacks development and Arlo continues with his present routines after his father’s death. The development comes in much later when the plot picks up, with Arlo accidentally falling into the river when chasing the same critter responsible for his father’s death.
Suddenly, it’s turned into a classic boy-and-dog movie plot applies with the initially unfriendly critter named Spot (the dog) and Arlo the boy. The story continues with the critter helping Arlo back home after they reciprocate. However in the last scenes, Spot’s wish to be reunited with a human family is abruptly sprung up on us (kinda like The Jungle Book).
Pixar movies work because of their underlying common classical story telling tales which slips unobstructed into our hearts. However, The Good Dinosaur jerky scenes, ripped off from other animted movies, are not hidden enough by the film’s visual excellence.
Here’s some of the examples of how Pixar cut and pasted their characters:
The death scene of Arlo’s father is really similar to the death of Mufasa in Lion King – with a gush of water replacing the herd of wildebeests in sweeping away the father figure.
The mismatched pair of partners that are forced into a situation together is far too apparent to ignore – especially Spot’s inability to communicate further highlights Pixar’s efforts in throwing two characters together to create an obstacle much like the movie UP- Spot’s inability to talk doesn’t help the character development between Arlo and Spot with a lack of conversations and arguments.
Lastly, an easy example would be the three carnivorous dinosaurs herding cattle, resembling Finding Nemo’s three ‘vegetarian’ sharks. The resemblance is uncanny; making the movie once again feel like it has been patched with various other Pixar movies and characters to make it work.
The photorealistic backgrounds accompanied by cartoony Arlo galloping through the movie are exhaustingly beautiful though. The pteranodon wings cutting through the fluffy clouds like tips of shark fins is one breathtaking scene.
If only there had there been a better original storyline with deeper character developments between Spot and Arlo. The Good Dinosaur is thus one of Pixar’s not-so-good films that follows Pixar’s classic story telling but failing to convince the audience. It is a great concept that fumbled in execution.
DANamic.ORG Rating: 2.5/5