Five years ago, Pixar went prehistoric and produced what is considered by many to be the worst film the studio has ever delivered with “The Good Dinosaur.” Arlo is the smallest dinosaur in his family. But, he’s looking to make his mark on his family’s grain storage bin just like the rest of his family. Along the way, he rescues the human he thinks is responsible for his father’s death and matures as a dinosaur while helping the human find his family.
This is the most average movie Pixar has ever produced. It’s not actually bad, but it’s very average. The concept of what life would be like if the dinosaurs never went extinct is an interesting place to start, but making the dinosaurs just like humans and making humans just like pets doesn’t work for me. I would’ve liked to have seen more of dinosaurs and humans interacting. I understand it was incorporating ideas of cavemen and the earliest humans, but it feels like it’s just missing something.
One of the things that works against “The Good Dinosaur,” in my opinion, is its placement in the Pixar canon. It was the first time Pixar tried to release two films in the same year. And, earlier in 2015, the vastly superior “Inside Out” was released. Then, immediately following “The Good Dinosaur” in the canon is “Finding Dory,” a sequel that had been anticipated for more than a decade. Between the quality of “Inside Out” and the anticipation of “Finding Dory,” “The Good Dinosaur” was probably always going to be lost in the shuffle. The only thing working in “The Good Dinosaur’s” favor is the fact that the Walt Disney Animation Studios did not release a film in 2015, reducing its competition.
If you read my rankings of all 22 Pixar movies, you know that I rank “The Good Dinosaur” last among them. That being said, I don’t hate this film, I just need to be in the right mood to watch it. While I view it as the worst Pixar film of the lot, Pixar has succeeded enough times, they’ve earned my trust. And, truthfully, even lower tier Pixar films, like “The Good Dinosaur,” are better than what some animation studios provide.
The animation in this film is breathtaking. Pixar nails the animation again. And, even the cast gives solid performances. Jeffrey Wright, Anna Paquin, Sam Elliott and Steve Zahn all shine in their individual roles. The problem is the script. There’s no way this movie could’ve been anything better than average with the script that was presented. Credit should be given to the animators and the cast for making it as good as it actually is.