Here's some trivia for everyone: On November 22, 1995, Toy Story opened in theaters for the first time. It was the first full length CGI film to feature a gripping story that not only kicked off a lucrative franchise, but started the legacy of Pixar. With Inside Out still in recent memory, the studio is breaking protocol and releasing two movies in one year. With their 16th feature The Good Dinosaur, Pixar is taking on the prehistoric. The interesting catch? It is going to be released three days after Toy Story's 20th anniversary. With the first full length trailer, it looks like they're looking forward by going backwards.
I have already made my case as to why I think that Inside Out is secretly Pixar's personal analysis and thus the perfect anniversary movie. There's so much meta commentary wrapped into the package that is clear that it makes it a miracle that it never becomes trite. Speaking as The Good Dinosaur is still four months away, there's no accounting for if this film will actually be a more symbolic anniversary film. Based on the trailer, it looks more like Pixar doing what they do best, which is taking unprecedented scenarios and turning them into compelling and original stories.
I had previously discussed The Good Dinosaur when the teaser premiered. I enjoyed it and its glimpse into the prehistoric culture felt fitting considering the recent success of Jurassic World. However, it was merely a glimpse and we weren't aware of proper character designs or any real idea of what the plot is. This is fine, but I mostly am here to review the full length trailer because it is Pixar and it is a more complete look at what's in store.
Check out the trailer below:
For starters, it looks quite different tonally from what we first saw. This is our first exposure to the child and dinosaur dynamic that likely will be the focus of the film. There are moments that standout, including the peril of rapids and a child fighting a snake. While the music choice is a little distracting, the adventurous feel definitely suggests that something fun is in store. While Pixar has rarely been victim to pandering, I do wonder if there will be deeper substance to this movie than just the fun-looking aspects that are on display.
The general complaint that I have heard is that "The Good Dinosaur" design is a little primitive. Of course, we don't see too many other designs within the trailer. At most, we see them in silhouette. While Pixar has been known to make exaggerated-looking characters, they don't ever seem to be problematic. I think that the model works given the target audience of the film. It may be a little safe, but I doubt that a confrontational-looking model will have the same effect. Again, we'll have to wait to see more of the footage or better yet the film itself. For me, it is perfectly fine and I maintain my excitement for the film.
With that said, I still wonder if there's any way that the studio is tying in any momentous celebration since Toy Story is still considered a groundbreaking film. It changed the landscape for animated films and has become the norm for the modern times. It is also astounding that Pixar has remained so consistently ambitious and praised in that time frame. It is unprecedented, as everyone stumbles here or there. It may be this hype that inevitably draws me the most to The Good Dinosaur, but I still think it looks good and worth checking out.