What Went Wrong For Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’?

22 Jan 2016

Things aren’t going particularly well for Pixar’s latest release The Good Dinosaur so far. It earned $39.2 million over its three-day weekend release, the lowest total for a Pixar film ever (adjusted for inflation).   Even more worryingly, this total dropped dramatically by 60.4% as the film grossed only $15.5 million on its second weekend.

So why isn’t it working?  We take a look at The Good Dinosaur’s critical reception to work out what went wrong this time.

It’s too predictable

Michael Rechtshaffen asserts that the film treads ‘an awfully familiar path’ in the story of Arlo.  Indeed, the ‘what if Dinosaurs had feelings?’ plot does seem to be a continuation of a theme established by a Tumblr user last year:


There’s far too much biting

In a slightly less obvious critical attack, Richard Roeper suggests that ‘You’ve never seen so much biting in a movie’ and even goes as far as to say that he ‘half-expected to see teeth marks on his arm’ as he left the screening.

Dinosaurs are ugly

Another slightly obscure criticism from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Roeper, he suggests that he didn’t enjoy the film because ‘Dinosaurs… don’t make for the most visually pleasant animated creatures’.

The story doesn’t really go anywhere

Mark Kermode, writing for the Guardian, gives a distinctly ambivalent review of The Good Dinosaur which culminates in the assertion that ultimately ‘The Good Dinosaur never comes together as a coherent whole’.

The Good Dinosaur

It feels like a mishmash of several other films

Peter Sobczynski of Roger Ebert complains that ‘Much of it feels cobbled together from elements that will seem very familiar to anyone who saw the likes of “The Jungle Book,” “The Lion King” and “How to Train a Dragon.”

The main characters are boring

Sobczynski also notes that ‘neither Arlo nor Spot are particularly interesting’ which feels like a pretty serious problem.

All in all a pretty terrible reception for The Good Dinosaur, the only thing critics could really agree on was that the film looked great.  At least that’s something.