The Good Dinosaur 3D
Out Now On-Demand
Prehistoric Pixar family adventure following the friendship between Spot, a young human boy, and Arlo, a giant friendly Brontosaurus.
Pixar veteran Bob Peterson (Up) was previously set to direct, but troubles with the third act saw him falling out of the project. A total overhaul in the story and its direction meant The Good Dinosaur never made its original release date, thus 2014 never saw a Pixar film. The world shed a single tear that year…
Disney / Pixar
Animated, Comedy, Kids & Family, 3D
Rating: PG Some scenes may scare very young children
After ditching its original director, its voice cast and basically everything else a few years ago, Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur has gone through quite a bit of damage throughout its development. You’d hope the studio would have been able to find the diamond in the rough. Unfortunately, the end result feels more like a diamond-shaped lump made out of rough.
In this alternate Earth, the dinosaur-killing asteroid completely misses the planet, allowing a lost little Apatosaurus named Arlo to become buddies with a tiny human wildling as he tries to find his way home. It’s an interesting premise that flips the ‘boy and his dog’ genre, and their friendship is cute in parts. However, the only other mildly interesting thing Pixar does with the concept is show dinosaurs farming – and I can’t imagine herding and agriculture making the top of any kid’s ‘stuff that’s awesome’ list.
A strong story can triumph over weak world-building, but while The Good Dinosaur wants to preach a noble message about the value of family, it gives us hardly any time to see Arlo actually valuing his family. He only connects with his Poppa in the film, and even then, it comes off feeling like a damp rehash of Simba and Mufasa’s relationship. You’ll get a greater sense of father-son bonding in Sanjay’s Super Team, the seven-minute short that plays before the feature.
Even viewed as a film solely for children, The Good Dinosaur doesn’t deliver many light-hearted laughs or introduce many colourful characters. But hey – your kid might just want to see a movie with some cartoon dinosaurs in it. In that case, The Good Dinosaur does have some cartoon dinosaurs in it.
Total Film (UK)
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Time Out New York