Does The Good Dinosaur contain that Pixar Spark?
In a world where Dinosaurs aren’t extinct and manage to become more like humans we have a family of farmers who have 3 very different children. Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), is the runt. Unlike his big strong brother Buck or his crafty sister Libby he struggles constantly with doing his share of the family workload. Try as he might he always comes up short. His parents, for the most part agree to give him time but he’s afraid of anything and everything. Arlo’s life changes when he comes in contact with a human and goes on a discovery about family and finding your place.
Pixar, which used to knock every film out of the park has managed to come up with a few that fail to create the magic window. The Good Dinosaur is one of those just outside of the window films. It has a preschool feel to it and not enough adult material to pull parents in. Compared to how Parents were trying not to ugly cry during Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur has one very sad moment (trigger: parental death ala The Lion King) most of it just fails to hold your attention or make you feel invested. I was in a theater full of children and at least 2 preschool age ones loudly said they were bored. I honestly haven’t been this unaffected since Planes.
Arlo ends up separately from his family and stuck with his believed to be arch-nemesis Spot a critter who steals food but is really a human with no more family either. He’s much more capable of surviving than Arlo as he lacks the fear that Arlo has of the unknown. He is in full survival mode but takes a strong liking to Arlo and becomes his pet. Arlo has to try to grow up along his journey home but spends most of it being saved.
What The Good Dinosaur is missing its heart. It just doesn’t make you feel anything for most of the film. My daughter was highly disappointed in where the film ends. She felt something was missing. There is little to no closure. The Good Dinosaur just isn’t good enough to spark a warm fuzzy or even a few tears beyond Arlo’s dream sequence. Maybe we’ve come to expect too much from Pixar. The idea that you can get a film that parents don’t dread sitting thru, teens aren’t ashamed to admit they loved or that manage to make you cry even just a bit, seem to be the magical combo Pixar manages with Up, Inside Out and Toy Story 3. The Good Dinosaur is supposed to feel like a moment with you grow into who you are, not necessarily growing up. Arlo doesn’t really do that and so it feels like what’s the point? The Good Dinosaur has many different kinds of family and maybe that’s the underlying goal that family is what you make of it and what holds you together, but it doesn’t hold under its own weight.
The is as usual a Pixar short, this time its Sanjay’s Super Team and can I just say that was wildly entertaining.
Parents, this might be a little rough to sit through. At least the 3D is good. Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand and Sam Elliott also star.
My Rating: Redbox
Worth the upcharge: Yes
Director: Peter Sohn
Release Date: November 25, 2015
Run time: 100 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG