Movie Review: The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Posted: March 31, 2016 in Animation


A male Apatasaurus named Henry (Jeffrey Wright) and his wife Ida (Francis McDormand) have three kids, and grow corn on their farm, since they are herbivores. The youngest, Arlo, (Raymond Ochoa) has anxiety issues, because he is the youngest and smallest of the family.  To build up his self-esteem, Henry assigns Arlo a task, to trap the creature stealing their corn, who turns out to be a caveboy.  Arlo can’t do it, so Henry tries to do it himself, but something happens to Henry while tracking the boy, and Arlo is carried by the river next to his family farm to a place far from home.  Arlo blames the boy for what happened to his father, but the boy keeps trying to endear himself Arlo by freeing his leg from a boulder.  Will Arlo and the boy reconcile?  Will Arlo find his way back to his family farm?

Unfortunately, I did not like The Good Dinosaur.  It really tries hard to be an epic story about a boy and his dog in the wilderness, except the boy is a dinosaur, and the dog is a caveboy.  Wait you say, cavemen and dinos can’t exist in the same timeframe, well the writers have an explanation for that, and it’s no more believable than a talking dinosaur and a mute boy.  The writers try to play up Arlo’s fear, but the writers overplay that hand, and Arlo seems like he’s afraid of his own shadow.  This seems like a movie aimed at young kids, but there are several scenes that might scare young kids so I don’t know who this movie is aimed at.  For a long time, the dialogue consists of Arlo, and the boy who can’t talk, so it’s really a monologue, the film really drags then.  Knowing it can’t sustain a monologue for 90 minutes, the writers introduce some other characters, and try to become a Western themed movie, but the characters and rest of the story seemed rushed, with very little plot or character development.  The writers are also relentless in trying to make this a tearjerker, and that kind of forced emotionalism repels me.Usually, Pixar movies have something for kids and adults, this had little for anyone.

The acting is good.  Geoffrey Wright, Francis McDormand and Sam Elliot have great voices for an animated film, but they are asked to do so little, that their tremendous voices hardly matter.  Most of the movie’s voice work is given to 15 year old Raymond Ochoa, and he can’t be expected to carry most of this movie, and shouldn’t be.

It’s too bad that the writers couldn’t find a story to match the spectacular animation.  The animation is really breathtakingly real, and is easily the best part of this film.  The pacing is awful, and an hour and a half movie seems like three hours meandering here and there for seemingly no reason.  Pixar has made some amazing films.  Inside Out was the pinnacle of animated films, complex in story and had beautiful animation.  Unfortunately, The Good Dinosaur reminds more of Cars and Planes, animation looking for a storyline.

The Good Dinosaur left me sore with Pixar.


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