The Good Dinosaur, paired with the short film Sanjay's Super Team, is the latest animated feature from Disney and Pixar Studios. The movie features the voice talents of Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Marcus Scribner, Raymond Ochoa, Jack Bright, Peter Sohn, Steve Zahn, A.J. Buckley, Anna Paquin, and Sam Elliott.
In a world where dinosaurs did not go extinct, a timid young Apatosaurus named Arlo and his family have been living a modest existence as farmers in an old west, frontier style setting. After a storm hits, Arlo is swept down a river and far away from home. With only a primitive human boy tagging along to offer help, Arlo must find the courage to make his way back home with unknown dangers looming around every corner.
After watching this movie, I imagine the creative team sitting down to come up with the story and deciding on pulling elements from other classic films in hopes of recreating their success. The end result is a story that is a little too familiar and reminded me way too much of The Lion King for its own good. the film is decent enough and mildly entertaining but it's lack of originality leaves it stuck in mediocrity.
My other gripe with this film is the stark contrast in the animation between the characters and the environments they live in. While Pixar has pretty much perfected water in their animated films, everything actually looks too real. Hard to say that's a problem, but I like watching cartoons that look like cartoons not cartoons that look like real life and especially when the dinosaurs and other characters very much look like cartoons, it's hard to believe they are living in that space.
As always, Pixar includes a short film ahead of the main feature although, this time around, it is actually the superior product. Sanjay's Super Team tells the story of a young boy who cares more about his super heroes than his father's meditations. The animation has a very distinct style that draws you right into the story and does a great job of visually blending the modern and traditional elements being portrayed and the end result is a heart warming father and son story that anyone can enjoy.
The Good Dinosaur should really be called "The Mediocre and Kind of Confusing Dinosaur" although i doubt if the powers that be at Disney would approve such a thing. At face value, the movie has beautiful scenery and is mildly entertaining although is ultimately lacking in any sort of originality. Kids will probably get a kick out of it so there's that. I did not see the movie in 3D although I'm sure it's stunning and worth the upgrade, Pixar is very good at that stuff.