The Good Dinosaur is Pixar's latest film, which tells the story of Arlo the dinosaur finding his way back home with the help of his dog-like human friend, Spot. The incredibly realistic scenery steals the show throughout the film, and the caricature dinosaurs and human almost become uninteresting in front of the background. Pixar have spearheaded the animation industry since the release of Toy Story in 1995, and they continue to showcase the evolution of animation. The main problem in terms of animation is the blandness of the dinosaurs.
This story of the protagonist trying to find their way home has been done to death by Pixar. It's the plot of all three Toy Story films, Finding Nemo and most recently, Inside Out, which was released just five months ago. The audience knows they're going to get there, so any threat to the character not getting home just feels formulated. Emotional moments in this movie feel formulated as well, probably due to the characters not really warranting empathy.
The poor timing of the release has plagued The Good Dinosaur and prevented it from following the natural development of a Pixar film's release. It's partly their own fault, as it's their second original release this year. They didn't release any film last year, and this film was scheduled to be released last year. While I understand that rushing a release does more harm than good, they should have postponed it until next year, as they are releasing a Finding Nemo sequel next year, but no original films. We've already seen a dinosaur film this year in Jurassic World, and The Good Dinosaur has been release three weeks before the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All of these aspects combined has made for a very underwhelming release of this film, and that is reflected in the box office earnings. It will likely lose money, and that's a first for Pixar.
Pixar create great protagonists, and they make great antagonists to counteract them. At first glance, The Good Dinosaur doesn't have an antagonist but after thought, it has one of the best antagonists of any Pixar film; nature itself. Nature takes Arlo away from home, and does things that if done by a character, would be unforgivable. Nature is relentless, and yet the audience (and Arlo) can't help but admire its beauty. Nature is treated like a character, and this was executed really well.
There are some redeeming qualities, and Pixar will probably never make a bad film, but this was nowhere near their high standard. A higher quality of characters and a better timed release would have made this film successful, and hopefully the company will learn some important lessons from this rather than begin to fear the risk of original films.