“The Good Dinosaur” is Disney/Pixar’s latest animated effort and the second this year, following “Inside Out.”
The movie could best be described as one part “Jurassic Park,” one part “The Lion King” and one part “Finding Nemo.” It just doesn’t have enough ingredients in it to make it as memorable as those films.
The movie follows an alternate timeline in which the asteroid that hit Earth 65 million years ago bypasses our planet, sparing creatures their doomed fate. Millions of years later, dinosaurs still roam the Earth, but not much changes as far as interaction with human beings. Sorry, life does not amount to the Flintstones.
A young dinosaur named Arlo is living with his family, contributing to help his parents, brother and sister. Arlo is kind of the weakling in the family, and one day, his father sends him out on a quest to help him find his courage. Along the way, he encounters a mute caveboy during the middle of a storm and, thanks to the caveboy, Arlo loses his way home. Having no one but the caveboy as his companion, Arlo has to work with the caveboy to make it home.
The rest of the movie recycles plot elements from other Disney movies such as “The Lion King,” particularly in a couple of sequences involving deadly pterodactyls that are reminiscent of the hyenas.
Plus, it mirrors the structure of “Finding Nemo” in the sense that it’s all about a boy trying to reunite with his family.
As with previous Pixar films, “The Good Dinosaur” contains beautiful animation, including sequences that will no doubt help it score a nomination for Best Animated Feature.
As far as the rest of the movie, this is not a strong effort like others such as “Toy Story” or “WALL-E.” It doesn’t have the humor, charm or even emotional resonance of those films.
Having said that, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. This is a sweet, predictable film and kids will enjoy it, but I think Pixar could’ve done more and better. This is good, but not great, Pixar.
(Rated PG for peril, action and thematic elements.)
Hall is a syndicated movie critic in South Georgia.