What if the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs didn’t kill the dinosaurs? In fact, what would happen if dinosaurs remained the dominant species on earth and humans didn’t? Pixar gives its take on the outcome with its latest movie, The Good Dinosaur. The Good Dinosaur is a heartwarming story about a young dinosaur named Arlo trying to find his way home after a storm separates him from his family. Along the way, Arlo meets a variety of different dinosaurs and animals. Some being T-Rexes that act like cowboys, and Velociraptors that act like bandits.
Alongside Arlo, another character is introduced at the beginning of the film. Spot, a young human boy, accompanies Arlo through his journey back home. Arlo and Spot’s relationship at the beginning is rather negative with Arlo holding negative feelings towards Spot, and because of this you see them butt heads more than a couple times. But as the movie progresses, we see their relationship and attitudes toward each other improve and turn into a friendship. That’s one of the aspects of this movie that I really enjoyed.
The characters are all well fleshed out. You feel for Arlo and his struggle to find his home. As for Spot, he steals the limelight. Spot is the best character in this film due to the chemistry that he and Arlo have with each other; at the most moving moments in the movie, Spot will even make adult viewers choke up a bit.
There are some moments in the film that adults will enjoy, such as the emotional scenes and the scenes where the characters’ lives are in danger. These moments might be too extreme for some children. For example, one scene has a small animal devoured in an instant by a pterodactyl, with its tail still hanging out of its mouth.
Besides these well-developed scenes, some other scenes were questionable. One scene in particular takes a note from “stoner” comedies, where Arlo and Spot eat some bad berries and go on a bad trip, then later have a headache because of it. Prior scenes before felt necessary for the plot and were cohesive with each other. Yet this scene felt out of place, like it was only there to cater to the adults watching the movie with their children.
This movie also shares a lot of similarities with other Pixar movies. The overall themes and the way the story is told are very similar to other films created by Pixar. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the film was still enjoyable despite these similarities. However, the film becomes less memorable than some of Pixar’s other movies such as Toy Story and Up.
The character design in this movie is also rather simple. Arlo for example, has very basic and cartoony features. It just doesn’t fit with the world Pixar has created with this movie. Everything in this movie is beautiful to look at. From the sky, to the trees, to the water. It’s all beautiful and looks photorealistic. This is by far one of Pixar’s best looking movies, but Arlo’s simplistic design demeans the visuals.
Looking past all the gripes I had with the movie, I still enjoyed it. The movie was fun and exciting and those who see this movie with their children will have a good time.