I’m a grown man who hasn’t seen most of the Pixar movies that people are obsessed with, but I was challenged to check ’em all out and share my thoughts. Join me as I watch ’em all one by one – see if I buy into the hype.
Movie No. 16: The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Like seemingly every bookish kid, I was obsessed with dinosaurs. My mom is a librarian so she kept me swimming in everything from dino picture books to academic paleontology guides. In the days before y’all had Jurassic Park and Power Rangers, a kid like me had to get his giant reptile fix from one of the most underrated cartoons of the late 80s/early 90s – Dinosaucers. If you remember that show, you’re a real one.
DIIIIIIIIIIIIINO SAUUUUUUUUUUUUUCERS! That theme song was a HIT.
Dinosaucers was about two warring factions of anthropomorphic intergalactic dinos arriving on earth to continue their civil war … and I just realized they stole that plot for Transformers. They even “transform” into their Earth counterparts too!
Why am I talking about old 90s cartoons? Because Dinosaucers is a billion times more interesting than The Good Dinosaur.
They tried. They really did. But this one sorely lacks the creativity that made Inside Out and other Pixar greats such standouts.
Here’s the plot: Dino kid watches his dad fall off a cliff to his death, roams around and makes friends with other animals (who are his natural enemies in real life), fights a trio of vicious little weirdos, gets a vision from his dead dad in his darkest hour and overcomes adversity to reunite with his family.
Playa please, might as well have called it the Lizard King.
The first portion the movie is just dino farming and “catching critters.” Of course, the critters are HUMANS. It’s truly the most dangerous game. Also I’m pretty sure dinosaurs were long wiped out before humans showed up but don’t let my 3rd grade dino studies stomp on your Pixar nostalgia.
Our main hero Arlo is sooooo pitiful. Sadness from Inside Out had more spunk than this guy. And once again, the string of bad Pixar parents continues. So Arlo goes missing for days and his mom, brother nor sister bothered to go looking for him? Arlo nearly gets eaten two or three times, gets stuck in a storm, falls off a cliff, gets saved T-Rexes and cave people, and when he stumbles back home all he gets is an “oh, Arlo!” No wonder the guy is such a nervous wreck all the time. Nemo’s dad is still the only real parent in the Pixar room.
I know I’m giving Yoshi’s Island a hard time but it has its moments – The crazy Styracosaurus was fun in that bizarre Pixar way (I told you I know my dinosaurs), the Wack-A-Mole scene was fun and the animation was beautiful in spots (especially the lightning bug and swan scenes).
The tearful goodbye to Arlo’s human pet Spot was great too. It wouldn’t be Pixar without the SEARING EMOTIONAL TRAUMA heaped upon your soul.
I’m sure there’s lots here a kid can relate to. Fighting insecurities, making friends with people who don’t look like you, etc. But it doesn’t have the deeper themes that all the top tier Pixar films boast to keep adults from dozing off. Like Brave, The Good Dinosaur just feels like your average Disney film.
By the way, does anyone know if Arlo later becomes Denver the Last Dinosaur? He’s my friend and a whole lot more (but not in a creepy way). That’s a #PixarTheory I can get with.
90s cartoon dinosaurs > The Good Dinosaur
3 stars out of 5
Toy Story 3
A Bug’s Life
Toy Story 2
**The Good Dinosaur**
After Arlo n’ dem were the studio’s first financial flop, we’re back in cash-in mode! Let’s take an aggravating side character, ratchet up the annoyance and make some more money with Finding Dory. It’s like Cars 2 but wetter!