Pixar’s new animation “The Good Dinosaur” arrived in the cinema a few days ago. From the creators of “Toy Story”, the new movie once again brings a fun theory to the screen. What if the prehistoric giants have never gone extinct, and they came across our ancestors? With several more millions of years of history, could they be more intelligent than human? This concept amazed me already at the very beginning of the movie, and I was super excited to find out how it develops. Yet, the story takes quite a different path as it progresses. I can’t say the way it plays out is bad, because it’s not. The movie is fun and inspiring, and it brought me to tears several times. I love the screenplay very much, but there’s one voice in my head that hopes it could have gone the other way.
“The Good Dinosaur” tells a very conventional story. In fact it reminds me a little bit of the Disney classic – “The Lion King”. The main character – Arlo was a shy little dinosaur who was always afraid of everything. He found himself alone and away from home after a sudden accident, and had to go on a journey in order to find his way home. He met a little caveman – Spot and they became close. They went through adventures together and finally found courage and friendship in each other.
It’s a very loving story, and educational too. The message about overcoming fear is valuable, and could give kids a good example. But I am a little dissatisfied with the simplicity of the story. You would think that “hey, maybe this time it’s for kids”, but I wasn’t very sure about that after literally intimidated by some scenes. (A young kid in front of me was even crying out loud). Therefore, the creators’ objective in this regard is a little confusing.
The reason why I mention about the story being overly simple is because I sincerely think that the story concept has so much potential to turn into something unique. Designing a human character as a lower level species is a new perspective to many audiences. The prehistoric context is a perfect setting to create imaginations, and although a lot of reimagined ideas can be seen throughout the story, they are merely supporting elements on top of the simple line of story. Other than love and friendship, I was also hoping to see more of the main-supporting relationship between Arlo and Spot, such as how the leadership of the dinosaurs provides humans the chance of living? Just an idea.
Generally speaking, “The Good Dinosaur” is still a very admirable work from Pixar. The studio brought us what they do best, but this movie makes me feel like they’re walking the line on trying out new things. If “Inside Out” was a risky bet, then “The Good Dinosaur” is a safe play. It’s still going to impress a good number of people, but in a long term, we need more Goofball Island and rainbow unicorn!
Rate: 4/5 (make sure your kids stay close to you if you’re bringing them, I mean, seriously.)
p/s: The short that plays before the movie – “Sanjay’s Super Team” is fantastic.