If you have ever seen Brother Bear and plan on seeing The Good Dinosaur, you are sure to recognize many parallels between the two movies. Pixar hasn't shied away from canceling movies in the past due to heavy similarities to another studio's work. Back in 2011, Pixar CCO announced that the work-in-progress film Newt had been cancelled due to its striking resemblance to the Blue Sky Studio film known as Rio. However, it seems that when a Disney-owned studio makes a film like The Good Dinosaur that parallels another Disney film such as Brother Bear, the pair can be co-existing partners, not rivals.
In what ways are the 2 films similar? The question you should be asking is: In which ways are they not? Check it out.
(Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't seen The Good Dinosaur or Brother Bear!)
Death of a Family Member
Both films set up a sibling trio at the beginning. The main characters (Kenai in Brother Bear, Arlo in The Good Dinosaur) find themselves tasked with protecting the family food supply. When they fail to succeed due after a wild animal gets into the supply, a tragic hunt ensues. In each case, the mission goes haywire and ends up killing the father figure in the main character's life.
Befriending the Monster
For both protagonists, there is a sense of hatred toward the animal due to it indirectly causing the death of their loved one. However, when the main character gets separated from home and finds himself trapped, he must rely on the beast to get free and survive until they can reach home together.
Final Destination Mountains
Both of the main characters journey forth with their new companions in the hope of reaching the symbolic mountains that represent their homes and goals. Upon reaching the mountains, the plot climaxes when the choice comes to go with family, or to choose to stay with the beast, now a good friend, that helped you make the journey home.
In the end, so many more parallels can be drawn between the two, including the theme of humanity's hunter-gatherer stage of development, the location of North American nature, and even more extensively satisfying overlaps. Expect a magnificent re-imagining of a story, similar to the way The Lion King reflects Hamlet or the way Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? reflects The Odyssey!
Make sure to check out The Good Dinosaur in theaters now!