The Good Dinosaur is an
entirely unique fairly standard adventure story about an adolescent young Apatosaurus and the epic basic struggles problems he confronts stumbles through while trying to evolve fit into his eclectic simple civilization family of evolved talking dinosaurs. But get this: humans are like monkeys wolves dogs now! And dinosaurs have created civilizations built farms!
After going through story issues and script rewrites, I’m guessing the brass at Pixar just said, “Screw it. Let’s just use this opportunity to get hella good at landscapes. Let’s make the best looking water and grass anyone has ever seen. As for the story… Eh. Just do some sort of Land Before Time meets Fievel thing and call it good.”
The beautiful scenery in The Good Dinosaur can not be overstated. I don’t think I have ever seen prettier landscapes in an animated movie. There are some shots that might be more appealing than actual nature. Yup. If able to implement their art using virtual reality, Pixar has officially nixed any reason to ever go outside again. The rippling water is perfect. The swaying trees and branches are perfect. The rustling grass. The sun soaked plains. The piercing mountain peaks. Perfect.
But then Pixar had to go and ruin their pristine paintings by drawing knobby-kneed, googly-eyed cartoon dinosaurs over the top of everything. I understand that Pixar wanted to create cute, approachable dinosaurs. Cute things sell more toys! And I’m glad they didn’t go for ultra-realism like in Disney’s Dinosaur. But what Pixar settled on just wasn’t done well enough. Surely there has to be something between the soft, goofy dinosaurs in The Good Dinosaur and the rough, scaly dinosaurs in Disney’s Dinosaur.
But what about the story? It’s fine. It’s something you’ve seen a hundred time and you know exactly how it ends within the first 10 minutes. The Good Dinosaur handles it’s simple story very well. It hits all the emotional beats it needs to and it’s over and done with quickly. You’ll chuckle, you’ll feel some feels, and then you’ll forget most of the details when you go home to type up a movie review.
However, I must give The Good Dinosaur credit for one of the funniest 30 second bits I have ever seen in an animated movie. It’s a bit so unique and so funny it’s actually sad to think of how good this movie could have been had Pixar not played the rest of the movie so safe.
And that’s the key word: safe. The Good Dinosaur is safe.
Pixar made no attempts to convince me why this movie had to be about dinosaurs. None. Replace the dinosaurs with humans and the humans with dogs and you’ll have the exact same movie. The consequences of evolved dinosaurs living with humans isn’t explored, at all. Do dinosaurs have cities? Why would an Apatosaurus grow corn? Why would that Apatosaurus farm at ground level? Why don’t they use their height to keep their food away from critters? Why doesn’t the T-Rex eat everybody? Why do humans wear clothes but not dinosaurs?
There’s just too little imagination happening for such an imaginative premise. I kind of want Pixar to do the whole thing over again… again.