Once again, thanks to the efforts of my wonderful wife, my nine year old son and I got the chance to see Pixar’s latest movie, The Good Dinosaur, at a special sneak preview this past Monday. My son’s verdict was that the movie was really good. Mine? Not quite so much. But more on that in a bit.
I am not kidding.
A family of…I’m not sure what, exactly. Diplodocuses? Brachiosaurs? Brontosaurs? Are those even dinosaurs anymore? Not important I guess. This family of generic four-legged, long-necked dinos has a farm in the shadow of a large, foreboding mountain. Here the dinos raise corn and children. Two of the kids are fairly normal, by dinosaur farmer standards, but the youngest, Arlo, is something of a coward. He gets scared feeding the chicken-things in an enclosure. In an effort to toughen him up, his dad gives him the assignment to kill the critter that’s been stealing their corn. It turns out that said critter is a human boy. Arlo freaks out and is unable to do so. Eventually, though, Arlo and this boy are whisked off on an adventure that takes Arlo far from home and teaches him a valuable life lesson.
If you couldn’t tell by my barely restrained sarcasm, I wasn’t entirely impressed with this movie. It was okay, I guess. There’s really nothing wrong with it. But Pixar has knocked it out of the park so many times (especially with Inside Out) that I had set the bar for this really, really high. If it had been made by a different studio, I might have liked it fine. Even if it had been just a generic Disney movie, I might not have been so underwhelmed (although, to be fair, Disney’s been churning out some solid movies lately too). But since this is Pixar, I think I had my hopes up for a real great movie and this one turned out to be sort of…
I mean, it’s not all bad. About halfway through, I realized that what I was watching was really a cowboy movie where the cowboys were really dinosaurs. Seriously. That’s a thing now.
But there was one thing that kind of bothered me. First of all, this movie was a bit on the dark and somewhat violent side. I have a four year old son who is dying to see this movie because he is simply enamored with dinosaurs, and truth be told, I’m a little worried about how he’ll react to some of the scenes.
Also a bit problematic were some of the characters. They were sort of cultish nut-jobs and, for some reason, that didn’t sit well with me. That might just be me being overly sensitive and I’ll cop to that. Part of the reason it bothered me is leftovers from the short that airs with The Good Dinosaur, a “somewhat true story” about a little boy learning to appreciate his Hindu faith through a strange superhero/Hindu gods inspired daydream/vision thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for exploring other cultures and beliefs. It was an entertaining short and it was well done, but I can’t help but wonder what would happen if someone at Pixar went in asking to make a short about how much they appreciate Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
So should you go see this movie? I guess? Sure, why not. Just don’t go in expecting a masterpiece. It’s a fun story with some neat visual effects, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. More’s the pity.