Movie Review: “The Good Dinosaur”

the good dinosaur

“The Good Dinosaur” comes from Disney/Pixar. It has been labeled as the first flop from that combination, which made me more than a little curious. They’ve been pretty bulletproof. I didn’t think there was any way that they made a bad movie. Figured it was probably Star Wars that pulled everyone’s attention away, allowing this film to rake in only 115 million domestically, and 244 million, combined, worldwide.

I know that sounds far too big to be a flop, but let’s compare. The first “Toy Story” had a lifetime domestic gross of $191,796,233, which is a number that “The Good Dinosaur” will most likely not reach. The second “Toy Story” made over 200 million domestically, while the third made over 40o million. Hell, combined, “Toy Story 3” made over a billion dollars.

Disney and Pixar have their goals set high, based off past experience. Their movies progressively became bigger and bigger earners. “The Good Dinosaur” was a step backwards, in that regard.

There’s no denying that.

With that said, however, I was definitely right about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” being to blame for stealing all the shine. After seeing it, I can definitely say that the financials are the only problem with “The Good Dinosaur.” It is delightful. It’s about an Apatosaurus named Arlo. To put it simply and softly, because this is a movie for kids: Arlo has always been something of a wimp. He’s pretty much afraid of everything, despite the fact that he’s a dinosaur.

Now, in Arlo’s family, they all have to make their mark. This a literal and figurative mark. Once you do something big enough, you get to leave your footprint on the structure that houses the family’s food. Arlo, because he’s a wuss, never really gets a chance to make his mark. Or he does, and he misses it. He just keeps letting fear get in his way.

Then, through some very unfortunate circumstances, he ends up on a journey with Spot, a badass little caveman kid.

the good dinosaur
Meet Spot: tiny badass. (© 2015 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)

Oh, by the way: in this world, the dinosaurs weren’t wiped out, so humanity never had a chance to evolve. They’re still cave-people. That’s why Spot is so badass. He doesn’t give a shit. All he knows is he has to survive, and that he likes to have fun.

Anyway, Arlo is lost, with no idea how to get home. Plus, he’s terrified. Spot is lost right alongside him, but he has no fear. So, Spot leads the way, keeping Arlo, the dinosaur, safe from harm, until he can finally learn his lesson, and show come courage. That’s how awesome the kid is. A dinosaur uses him for protection.

I can’t tell you anymore without telling you everything about the movie. Luckily, I think you’ve gotten enough. Scared dinosaur ends up lost, and joins forces with a small boy who shows no fear. By the end of it, the dinosaur will overcome said fear, and be a better dinosaur for meeting the kid. That’s not a spoiler, either. That’s just obvious. It’s an animated film. There’s a formula.

the good dinosaur
Do it. Join Arlo and Spot on their journey! (© 2015 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.)

All you have to do is accept that, and enjoy the journey. It’s totally worth it.


PS: For future reference, maybe the movie studios should look to this film as an example for why they shouldn’t release – well – anywhere near a Star Wars movie. Stars Wars is always going to win.
Walter Winchester