Thursday, December 3, 2015
The Good Dinosaur Review
The idea of this movie is actually a very good one. Pixar is really good at coming with super genius ideas for movies and this was another golden idea. Here we have a premise for a dinosaur movie in which we ponder the question of what would've happened if the meteor that killed all the dinosaurs missed the earth. We all love dinosaurs. We all love Pixar. I can just imagine what the meeting looked like when this idea was suggested. Eyes must've lit up. Yes, the idea of dinosaurs and humans living together has been done before with Jurassic Park. But that's an instance where humans brought the dinosaurs back. We've even had other instances where we time travel back to the time of the dinosaurs. I can't think of a specific example for that one, but I know it's been done before in a movie and/or TV show of some sort. Dinosaurs never going extinct in the first place is a genius idea that you can do a ton with and I don't think it's an idea that actually been explored The problem is what do you do with that premise. I don't know what happened behind the scenes, but if I were to guess, I'd say this is where they got hung up on and it doesn't seem like they ever really came to a solid decision because the execution of this brilliant idea is pretty sloppy.
Finding a theme here? We can even look at a fellow animal movie The Lion King where Simba's father dies, causing him to be separated from his home where he forms an odd group consisting of a lion, a warthog, and a meerkat. The plot eventually leads to Simba on a journey home. So please, Pixar, if you're going to do a dinosaur movie, let's do something different. Let's not have a story where a young dinosaur experiences the death of a parent or other family, or perhaps having his home destroyed, thus causing him to be separated from his home and having to go on a journey with an odd assortment of animals to either find his old home again or a new home to live in. It's been done before. PLEASE?!?!?! Something new? Is it too much to ask for? I mean, you have a brilliant initial premise. Pull out your Pixar magic and do something new and creative to go along with your idea. No? You're not going to be creative? In fact you're going to do another variation of the plot that's been done before a hundred times? Oh. Well that sucks. I wanted something different. I wanted something new. I wanted something super creative because I know Pixar has come up with a ton of unique ideas.
Here's the other problem. If you're going to make the decision to follow the same exact formula done in every other dinosaur or prehistoric movie, then at the very least do it well. I'm not going to say that this movie is bad. It's not. It's a fine movie. There are a lot of really fun moments and several really good characters. But remember all those movies that I brought up to prove the point that this movie is very unoriginal? All of them are better movies. They are refined. They are focused. They know what they want to accomplish. They provide powerful messages that hit you emotionally. The Good Dinosaur is just all over the place. The whole first act is completely lifeless and boring. When our main dinosaur finally establishes a friendly connection with this human creature that acts like a dog, it gets really interesting and I really love the two of them as characters, but their journey goes in about a thousand different directions. It's like Pixar had a ton of ideas of what to do, but they couldn't settle one specific direction, so they did them all. Individually these moments are actually pretty darn funny and clever, but as a whole the movie just feels like a mess. There's no focus. There's no direction. There's no real purpose.
Pixar is always really good at having a few Pixar moments, if you know what I mean. Moments that are super emotional and touching. In fact I saw a meme or a comment somewhere talking about all the Pixar movies and how they make you realize that toys have feelings, bugs have feelings, monsters have feelings, cars have feelings, fish have feelings, feelings have feelings, and so on and so forth. Well now you can add to that list that dinosaurs have feelings because The Good Dinosaur still manages to have several of those moments, especially at the end. But overall, it didn't pack as big of an emotional punch as other movies. Another thing that Pixar is good at is making movies that kids and adults both fall in love with. Their movie from earlier this year, Inside Out, was a great example of this as it had a powerful message that probably hit adults stronger than it did kids. The Good Dinosaur falls short with this. This is a Pixar film that seems like it's directed just at kids. Which I guess is fine. Disappointing on my end, but if the target audience is kids, then I have to be honest. Everything that I've complained about thus far are things that kids won't even care about. Kids are going to watch this movie and have a blast from beginning to end. They're going to love the characters. They're going to laugh at all the jokes. They won't care if the story is a retread of a bunch of other better movies. They'll still love it. But as an adult who likes Pixar movies that are good for all ages, this is a slight disappointment.
Is this a bad movie? No. It's not. And if it was done by any other studio than Pixar, I may have been a little nicer with this review because there were a lot of good things that this movie had going for it. However, when I go into a Pixar movie, I expect greatness out of them because that's what I have received time and time again. That feeling of greatness just wasn't there this time around. It's just a decent, fun movie that kids will love and parents will get a few chuckles out of. Movies like this are fine. But that's not what I'm used to from Pixar. When push comes to shove, I keep thinking back to all the production issues that this movie went through and overall I'm going to give them a pass this time. Like I said, even the best filmmakers or the best studios have their rough times. Sometimes you'll have a great idea in your head, but when you go to work on it things just don't work out as planned. When things like that happen, you just gotta pick yourself back up and move forward. This isn't a great film. I think Pixar knows this isn't a great film. But do you know what, this film was almost scrapped altogether, but they persevered and through all the trouble and headaches, they got a final product put together. Good for them. Now it's time to move on and do better the next time and I think they will. The trailer for Finding Dory is already out and I think we're going to get great things from that. As far as The Good Dinosaur goes, I'm going to give it a 7/10.