The Good Dinosaur (a review)

I hadn’t had a chance to watch this movie, although I’d been mildly interested and it’s been a while since Pixar reduced me to a sobbing broken wreck – something I feel is good for the pipes on occasion.

Anyway, it showed up on Netflix and Toop selected it as our movie of the night while Wump and Mrs. Hatboy were off watching the My Little Pony movie so what the heck, we went for it.

It wasn’t one of Pixar’s finer efforts, but I do like dinosaurs and the actual premise of the movie – that the asteroid missed, and dinosaurs went on evolving to semi-tool-using capacity alongside mammals – was really interesting. It didn’t seem to do much with the idea, however, opting instead for a Beta Kid Has Random Pointless Adventure, Something Something, Bit Like The Plot Of Ice Age thing instead.

I’m not entirely sure that if the dinosaurs had survived and continued to evolve to pre-industrial farming levels, mammals would ever have had the chance, climate-wise and in terms of predatory patterns, to develop alongside. I’d always learned that it was only the absence of dinosaurs, and the climate shift, that allowed mammals to gain ascendancy. Maybe I shouldn’t overthink it.

But okay. I had some laughs at a few of the scenes. The T-Rexes, and particularly their patriarch The Narrator From The Big Lebowski, were brilliant. I loved watching them gallop along with the herd.


“Missä miehet ratsastaa…”

All in all a bit of a mess, but visually lovely and had some nice moments. I’m also not entirely sure I understood the message they were trying to give us at the end, since the human pet returned to the meh-close-enough human family was a bit duh and all the rest was … well, nice that Arlo got home after his adventure, but…

Look, the whole point of the movie was that he had to get over his fears and achieve something big, right? And fair play to him, he grew a lot and got over his fears and he did really well, but ultimately all he really did was get home. That’s not a movie-ender. And keep in mind, before he even left they were struggling to get the crop in, mom was working herself to collapse trying to be ready for winter and she said that they had to get it done by the time the snows fell. She said she needed Arlo to do more, and instead Arlo vanished for like a week.

They didn’t really finish that thread. If mom and brother and sister got the work done without Arlo, then what’s the point? If they didn’t, then are they all going to die in the winter? And either way, what Big Thing did Arlo achieve to be worthy of his mark on the silo? His dad at least wanted him to get rid of the human, and he didn’t exactly do that. He made friends with it and set it up with a whole family of humans!

It would have been very easy for him to get home, find that the crop is still half-done because he didn’t help (and he wouldn’t have been much help anyway), and then … oh I don’t know, all those friends he made during his adventure, and the humans, could all have shown up and been like “Arlo helped us, now let us help you” and formed a huge successful multi-species multi-genus co-op.

Would that have been cheesy? Well yeah. It would have been cheesy as Hell. But that’s Pixar, isn’t it? And what else did Arlo learn, if not “stand up, do your best, help people and they’ll fill in the parts that you can’t”? Seems like a nice message to me.

Instead, it all just fell into a pile at the end and I was like “huh?”


A beautifully-rendered pile, but a pile nevertheless.

Nice one for the kids. Lots of lovely scenery and CGI. Some laughs. Ultimately a bit disappointing. Three Babys, an Ice Age and a Dinosaur out of a possible Land Before Time. Or maybe the other way around.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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2 Responses to The Good Dinosaur (a review)

  1. kingdylbag13 says:

    “I didn’t have a comment, just a link to my blog and that’s not how shit works on Hatboy’s Hatstand.”

    – King Dylbag, probably (edited)

  2. aaronthepatriot says:

    Damnit I wish I weren’t too lazy to look up and link to King Dylbag’s blog again XD

    Anywho, I watched Pete’s Dragon this weekend and felt similarly. So many great kids’/family movies out there, it’s disappointing when one is just there for the visuals and doesn’t bother to make well-conceived plot and dialogue.

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