Let’s be honest. It was always going to be a struggle for The Good Dinosaur. In normal circumstances 2 Pixar movies in a year would be a real treat. However when one of those films is Inside Out the film following in it’s footsteps was always going to underwhelm.
To be clear that is not The Good Dinosaur’s fault there are plenty of things to like within the film however they just fall a little flat.
The world of the Good Dinosaur is one in which the asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs on Earth missed it’s intended target and left us a world of talking dinosaurs and neanderthals in the animal role. Arlo is our hero, fearful, shy but determined to win the respect and admiration of his family.
Following an unfortunate event Arlo is sent off on a road journey with only Spot the neanderthal irritant for (unwanted) company. Arlo is left to find his way home in a world which forces him to face his many fears head on.
This movie is many things. It is a movie about family, a movie about overcoming your fears and a road trip/ buddy movie all rolled into one and this may be the biggest problems the movie has. The film never clearly determines which of these is the true focus and this sadly means that none of the elements mentioned get the full attention of the creators.
Another issues for me was the film being set within a strangely adapted Wild West movie frontier. This does allow for some wonderful animation particularly in the surrounding almost real life scenery. It also however means that the film has wild west related distractions, for example T-Rex’s almost pretending to ride horses like cowboys in one sequence is particularly odd.
All in all there are things to like about the Good Dinosaur but I think the title is itself an indicator of how Pixar may feel. This is The Good Dinosaur it is not sadly The Great Dinosaur.