Does Pixar even have to try anymore?
That’s both a compliment and a critique.
This week with “The Good Dinosaur,” it provides yet another in its long line of films that are solid and charming tearjerkers aimed primarily at kids but also are appealing to adults. It’s everything you expect it to be, and while that is great for people who are comforted by consistency, it will also be a bit dull for those who are yearning for the company to be as groundbreaking as it once was.
“The Good Dinosaur” is tremendously likable, of course, but that might not be enough anymore. Those visceral gut-punches that audiences took during films like “Toy Story 3,” “Finding Nemo” and “Up” are mostly just playful jabs here. This is mostly just a fun, harmless excuse to sell toys rather than a subtle, emotionally-mature powerhouse that Pixar provided during its best years.
The digital scenery is the biggest star here. The world onscreen is a stunning compilation of natural vistas, but it’s hard to make too big of a deal out of something that you can get from a lot of video games. While it might be one of Pixar’s best films visually, it is depressingly ho-hum in almost every other capacity.
Watching “The Good Dinosaur” is like being a parent receiving a finger painting from your kid who has already given you a bunch of them before. It’s definitely a pleasant experience no matter how many times it happens, but you’re not choking up like you did from the earlier pieces. It is nice and it looks pretty, but at this point, you wonder if it’s just kind of an attention grab.
“The Good Dinosaur” is worth a look, but you definitely wouldn’t hang it up on the fridge. It only deserves 6 “Chris Pratts on motorcycles” out of 10.