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Pixar’s second offering of the year The Good Dinosaur has had something of a troubled production history. Due to some story issues original director Bob Peterson was pulled from the film and it went underwent various rewrites. The finished product, released long after it was due is a film that has clearly suffered because of this.
The film has a simple premise- what if the meteor that caused the Ice Age missed the planet altogether and dinosaurs had been allowed to evolve to become the dominant species on Earth. Millions of years after the meteor missed we meet Arlo, the third of three children Arlo is the black sheep of his family. He literally struggles to stand on his feet, he’s scared of everything and try as he might he can’t quite make his mark like the rest of his family. Due to a series of circumstance Arlo is whisked down the river away from his home and teams up with a young human-dog boy named Spot in a quest to get himself home.
Arriving just after Inside Out, arguably Pixar’s most accomplished work to date was always going to leave The Good Dinosaur with a mountain to climb and if the former highlighted Pixar’s ability to create complex and meaningful stories The Good Dinosaur showcases their technical abilities, but lacks in most other departments. The film’s animation has got to be seen to believed- the opening moments showcase the breathtaking beauty of their work, the only problem is the film lacks the story to match it.
The Good Dinosaur is a first for Pixar in the way that it feels like the first film they have made exclusively for children, lacking the emotional complexity of their previous works it often opts for more cautious and unimaginative motifs about family and facing your fears. Because of this the film often feels like it could have been made by another studio, it lacks the distinctive Pixar magic. It does however feature some good slapstick jokes and has one sequence in particular that feels like a slight wink to the older people in the cinema.
The Good Dinosaur isn’t a bad movie, it’s often funny and is visually breathtaking. It is however somewhat disappointing by Pixar’s usual standards.