It's a film with a simple premise. What would've happened if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs didn't hit Earth? This isn't so much the story of the film, but more so a catalyst for this tale of a dinosaur and his boy. Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) is an Apatosaurus trying to help his family store food for the winter. Soon, a terrible storm arrives, plunging Arlo into a river that separates him from his family and leaves him stranded in unfamiliar territory. When trying to make his way home, Arlo meets a young human boy named Spot (Jack Bright), who he befriends and is aided by on his journey back to his family before winter arrives.
It's a sweet and awe inspiring movie that made me emotionally invested in the life of a dinosaur. Pixar have created a dinosaur that I'm able to relate to. Goddamn, they're good. The film is a tale of friendship, family and the power of courage. It's a touching movie that packs an emotional punch, especially in two spoiler-filled scenes that I won't discuss. While Inside Out stole all my tears this year, it's still quite the emotional roller coaster, and these two scenes are emotional without too many words even being spoken.
The animation in this film is on a whole other level, especially compared to Pixar's last effort, Inside Out. The backgrounds and the environments look photorealistic at times, and it's truly beautiful. The character designs, however, are more cartoonish, and for some odd reason a lot of people have a problem with this. I don't see why. When it comes to animations, I don't want it to replicate reality. I don't want all animations to be 100% photorealistic. While the environments in this film are stunning, I'm glad they decided to keep the characters they way they are. Animations don't need to replicate real life, but the way it's handled here is mesmerising.
Unfortunately, the rest of the plot of The Good Dinosaur is repetitive and lacking substance. The film will certainly teach kids a thing or two about life, but the plot is really just Arlo attempting to make his way home and running into a dinosaur here and there. A pack of dinosaurs will show up every ten or so minutes, make the journey a bit difficult and then they'll leave. It results in a (mostly) predictable outcome. I even managed to predict what the final shot of this movie would be, which was rather upsetting. It's still sweet, but I would've liked to have been surprised by this film's plot. For example, Inside Out, while on the surface is also a film about returning home, has a story that gets unbelievably deep. The Good Dinosaur doesn't.