The Good Dinosaur
The second offering from Pixar in 2015 is a mess, a confused and spotty film that, not surprisingly, had a very troubled production. The movie is set in an alternative universe where dinosaurs were spared extinction and grew up to be farmers in the Old West. One particular young dinosaur named Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) is a runt afraid of chickens, so his dad (Jeffrey Wright) tasks him with killing the critter that's eating all of their winter corn. The critter is actually a little human that Arlo befriends and names Spot. The two wind up being pals after getting lost in the wilderness shortly after Arlo's dad dies in a flood. If it sounds really stupid and weird, that's because it is. The movie plays like too many ideas and a hatchet job that removed and replaced major plot points and characters. Ultimately, there's really no story. The dinosaur gets lost, the dinosaur goofs around with his little human friend, and the dinosaur goes home. The nothing story might've been OK had the art direction been worthy of Pixar, but it is not. The backgrounds look like real backgrounds and the dinosaurs look like fluorescent salamanders. Yes, Spot the cave boy is actually awesome, but he can't save the film from feeling like a pastiche of mediocre ideas that should've been abandoned rather than made into a movie. This is only the second Pixar film, after Cars 2, that wound up being a mess. Given that Inside Out remains one of 2015's best films, I'd say Pixar has still had a pretty good year. I just don't want to ever see this one again.