Ok, The Good Dinosaur was a good movie. It was basically a remake of Bambi or Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer or any other cute small animal who has to fin for himself in a cold, cruel world before heading home a stronger and wiser fellow. Pure formula and there’s nothing really wrong with that.
This a frame from the film of a branch and some leaves. Most of the film looks like this. Hyper realistic images. Amazing mountains, clouds, trees, rocks, water, and every background image is picture perfect. Pixar is pretty damned close to mastering the art of creating real worlds with computers.
So what looked like complete crap in The Good Dinosaur? All of the animated characters in the film. Every last one looked like a cartoon. While I love having Roger Rabbit walk around the real world, it is clear that Roger exists outside of our world. In the Good Dinosaur, the toons wander around a world that we are meant to believe is the world they were born into. Why is our hero a knock kneed loser who is drawn to be even more cartoony than his cartoon family? Why can’t Pixar make photo-realistic dinosaurs? Do they think we wouldn’t care about the sad sack brontosaurus if he actually looked like a Brachiosaurus? Would we care less about Spot, the little caveman, if he actually looked like a Neanderthal? I don’t think so.
I’ve hated Pixar’s human animations since Toy Story. Their people have always looked terrible. Even in Inside Out, a film I really loved, the people still looked cartoony, but they looked normal when compare to the horrible treatment the emotions get.
So would The Good Dinosaur have been better if the characters were animated better? Maybe. This was basically a silent movie, with maybe a couple of dozen lines of dialogue in the whole thing. A visual story filled with crap visuals would be better with better visuals.
One other odd bit was the world our hero lived in. Leaf eating dinosaurs have to grow corn to survive the winter. Uh, really? T-Rexes herd Long Horns for a living, which brings to mind that old Disney conundrum, why is Goofy a sentient being and Pluto a nonverbal pet? They are both dogs, right? So who gets to be the talking smart animal and who gets to be the herd animal? Are there cities in this world? And if so, how the hell would that work? This was a world that could have used a lot of exploring, but we only see a tiny slice through the eyes our young dino hero.
Then there is the little caveman. Is the Good Dinosaur signing his own death warrant by letting him go? Won’t man, with his opposable thumbs, end up killing ALL the other animals on this earth, just as they have on OUR world? After all the dinos here aren’t too smart, they want to eat corn which needs to be cultivated instead of leaves which are massively abundant.
Anyway, Pixar makes bazillions of dollars and I don’t, but this film could have been a bit better in a few spots.Of course, it still made me cry. Which is, after all, the only real point of any Pixar film.