The Good Dinosaur was originally directed by Bob Peterson from August 2013 to October 2014 based on his story concept. Then it was announced that Peter Sohn would be the new director. It was finally released on November 25, 2015, having received good reviews but unfortunately, it was Pixar’s box office bomb causing a loss of $85 million.
The film begins 65 million years ago with an asteroid shower just missing the earth, which would have wiped out the existence of dinosaurs. Fast forward to a few million years later, we are introduced to a family of Apatosaurus corn farmers. They consist of parents, Henry (Jeffrey Wright) and Ida (Frances McDormand) and their children, Libby (Maleah Nipay-Padilla), Buck (Ryan Teeple / Marcus Scribner), and Arlo (Jack McGraw /Raymond Ochoa). Arlo was the runt and having a hard time with all the tasks given to him. He was the only one who hadn’t made his mark on their corn silo. To help Arlo gain confidence and find his way, Henry gave him the task of guarding the silo. Henry also helped him set a trap. While on duty, he caught a cave boy stealing from their stash. Arlo was supposed to kill him but didn’t have the heart to, setting the boy free. Upset with Arlo, Henry takes Arlo with him to learn to track the cave boy. The prints lead to a ravine. Suddenly a flash flood occurs, putting the dinosaurs at risk. Henry saves his son before being swept away.
Back on the farm, Arlo starts to pick up the slack after losing his father. While out working, Arlo sees the boy stealing again. He chases and yells at the boy how it is his fault Henry died. They end up in the river when a stone hits Arlo in the head knocking him unconscious. Arlo wakes up alone and far from home. As he starts to survive alone, he gets trapped by a boulder on his leg. The following day, Arlo is freed thanks to the help of the cave boy, who also brought him food. Arlo then follows the cave boy to a berry tree. A large snake is about to strike but the cave boy takes him down. Both Arlo and a nearby Styracosaurus (Peter Sohn) are impressed by his skills. The styracosaurus wants to keep the cave boy, so he challenges Arlo to a competition, whichever name the cave boy responds to, has the boy. Arlo eventually tries “Spot” (Jack Bright) to which the cave boy joins him, the two bonding. Over time Spot shows Arlo that his parents are dead as well.
Late that night a storm rolls in, as Arlo runs away fearing for his life, he loses track of the riverbank he had been following. When he wakes up, Spot is still by his side. The two see a pack of pterodactyls, thinking they are there to help rescue until they swoop in trying to take Spot. As they now flee the pack, they come upon Nash (A.J. Buckley) and Ramsey (Anna Paquin), two Tyrannosaurus Rex. The two help scare the Pterodactyls away. Unfortunately Nash and Ramsey, as well as their father, Butch (Sam Elliot), lost the track of longhorns. In return for saving them, Arlo asks Spot to sniff them out. The group locates the herd but Butch noticed that there are velociraptors around working the cattle. The Tyrannosaurus Rexes use Arlo and Spot as bait. The velociraptors are attracted and Butch, Nash, and Ramsey take them down, keeping Arlo and Spot safe. The Tyrannosaur Rexes then herd the longhorns to the south with Arlo and Spot. Arlo then spots a familiar sight, he sees mountain peaks that are near to his home. Arlo and Spot leave Butch, Nash, and Ramsey to go home. On their way, they meet an adult caveman, who Spot takes interest in but Arlo tells him no before continuing.
Another storm begins to roll in when the Pterodactyls return, taking Spot. Arlo becomes entangled in vines, as he’s trying to get out, he has a vision of his father leading him home. Instead Arlo goes after Spot, wanting to make the memory of his father proud. Arlo finds the pterodactyls nearby attacking spot, whose cornered by the river. Arlo begins to fight them off when another thunderstorm rolls in causing a flash flood again. The pterodactyls, Spot, and Arlo are swept by the flood but Arlo gets to spot before they go over the waterfall. Arlo and spot swim to shore just in time. Spot and Arlo continue on their way back towards the farm when they are approached by a caveman family. Arlo encourages spot to go with this family. They share a goodbye before Arlo makes it to the farm, reuniting with his mom, brother, and sister. He finally makes his mark on the silo, making his dad proud after all.
This is a hit and miss for me. It didn’t get great reviews for a reason. While the Easter eggs were fun but not easy to spot, the story line was just fan and terrifying for kids, despite it being a family movie. With that said, the trailer looked fun but it didn’t hold up. The only reason this film is really important is because it resets the Pixar Theory from Jon Negroni. The Good Dinosaur shows that there is an alternate Universe.
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