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Everything You Need To Know About Pixar’s New Short, ‘Lou’

 

The Pixar Detective is my weekly Facebook Live show, where I share the secrets of the Pixar universe and beyond in real-time. Tune in Wednesdays at 7pm (pacific) to comment live, ask questions, answer my questions, and help settle Pixar debates with my cohosts.

This week’s highlights:

  • Pixar has a new short coming out called Lou. Let’s talk about it!
  • Do you think The Good Dinosaur is a flop or masterpiece?
  • Guys, we’re taking Pixar for granted.
  • Why Incredibles 2 probably won’t suck.
  • Here’s why WALL-E need a sequel, but maybe something else…

Go on…Everything You Need To Know About Pixar’s New Short, ‘Lou’

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Snarcasm: Everything Wrong With Everything Wrong With ‘The Good Dinosaur’

everything wrong good dinosaur

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read. 

My love for The Good Dinosaur is probably as polarizing as some people’s love for Cinemasins. So it only makes sense that for the first time in Snarcasm history, we’re taking a close look at a video, as opposed to a written article.

And it’s a Cinemasins video, which I know is probably an easy target because even they themselves lampshade their “sins” as self-deprecating jokes made by jerks. But I still think it will be interesting to delve into their criticism of The Good Dinosaur, which is a wonderful movie that I admittedly don’t think is for everyone.

Just take a look at the description of the video, “Everything Wrong With The Good Dinosaur In 12 Minutes Or Less:”

Sigh. We really didn’t like this movie. It’s probably harmless fun for most, but borrows so heavily from so many other Disney films we got annoyed. 

“It’s probably harmless fun for most” is sure to make future Blu-Ray covers.

45 seconds of Disney & Pixar logos…as usual. Even though you all have them memorized at this point.

As usual, you’re criticizing something outside of the movie, instead of the movie itself, and counting that as a “sin.” Logos as a marketing tool are just common sense, and if you’re going to whine about them for every single video you do, at least sin the brands, not the content of the movie people are expecting you to criticize.

Also, don’t, because these logos are awesome and set the movie up in ways that are familiar and build hype. Getting rid of them or blazing past would be akin to removing the Star Wars opening crawl. You just don’t do it.

I understand the movie is rewriting prehistory here for the sake of the story, but I think it’s worth mentioning: The dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago, and humans started to do human things around 10 million-ish years ago, so the movie wants me to believe that nothing ELSE could have happened to the dinosaurs within the 50 million years between this moment and this moment that would have either killed the dinosaurs or, through evolution, altered their appearance so drastically we wouldn’t be able to tell what is what?…I guess so.

The movie is working off of an assumption that a meteor killed the dinosaurs, so you’re including some sort of expectation of a second extinction event, even though we have no reason to assume that happened based on our own history.

We don’t know from the movie exactly what happens, but you’re sinning the film for not shoehorning some sort of bizarre, unfounded aesthetic change to the Earth, which would derail the point of the movie. Because if they did do something more drastic than include lots of new species (which are in this movie), dinosaurs being more intelligent than other creatures (which is in this movie), and the clear and apparent inclusion of a more primitive human species (you guessed it), then you’d just “sin” the movie for being too out there and doing the opposite of what you’re sinning it for now.

Man, these dinosaurs learned how to grow crops in some STRAIGHT ASS lines!!

…wait, that’s it? That’s what you paused and sinned the movie for? What’s your next sin, besides the movie having clouds that look like blobs?

Seriously, people don’t watch these videos so that you can point out the obvious. Yes, the dinosaur farmers who are able to build houses and provide food for themselves akin to humans are able to create straight lines. You know, like countless other animals who use instinct to do things that look cool.

Pixar expects me to believe that the Apatosauruses evolved to presumably have retractable axes in their tails.

No, just that the apatosauruses are incredibly strongHave you seen the size of them, even in this movie?

And super strength.

Yes, let’s complain that the huge dinosaurs are strong.

Well, with this kind of evolution, it’s a wonder the Earth ever thought humans were necessary at all.

Your shower thoughts have nothing to do with what you’re watching. Can you focus, please?

If they can build a device for seeding, they can certainly build a plow.

How? They clearly don’t have access to iron or glass. And you’re even about to complain about their intelligence anyway, so isn’t this reverse sinning?

They also evolved hyper intelligence, which raises the question: How are they able to build tools like this without hands? There’s no way they could tail-whack that thing together. 

The entire film addresses this, showing Arlo using his tail in unique ways to climb and get things done. They don’t “whack” things, they use their tails as a third appendage. They can use their teeth to wind string and their tails to carve multiple pieces of wood. It’s a little silly, but not that far-fetched because the movie shows us the practicality of Arlo’s tail countless times.

(screen shows three eggs) Okay, we eat the big one, we raise the little ones as slaves, agreed?!

I’m starting to think they’re just sinning themselves for the bad jokes. Because this isn’t even…clever? What, you’re joking that the herbivores would eat their young? Haha?

Other than surprising the viewers and the dino-parents…is there any reason for his egg to have been so big when he’s so small? Cause, I don’t think that would actually happen. 

That’s probably because you’re too busy writing jokes instead of thinking through your actual “sins.” When an egg is hatched, the size has nothing to do with the development of the baby. Thematically, it’s foreshadowing to how Arlo starts off well behind his family in an environment that doesn’t feel made for him. It gets the point across immediately (with visuals instead of ham-fisted dialogue) that’s he’s not just timid, he’s timid for a reason.

Also, if I was Arlo’s mom, I’d be kind of pissed right now. “I pushed out this giant ass egg for this!?”

Wow, she must love her own children more than some temporary pain she just went through. Why did they have to write these characters as humans, anyway?

Arlo’s siblings come out of their eggs running and practically flying, yet Arlo struggles to take his first steps.

You’re sinning the movie for having characters who don’t develop exactly the same way? Have you had siblings, before?

And I guess I should mention, again, that you’d complain anyway if Arlo did act the same as his siblings because the characters are interchangeable.

Clawtooth Mountain looks very similar to the Expedition Everest ride at Animal Kingdom. Not exactly the same, but enough to confuse some children. 

Do you not understand how children work? Do you think they get “confused” when they’re delighted to see recognizable references to their favorite movies in Disneyland? No, because they’re children, not paranoid cartographers.

Also, you even admit that it doesn’t even look exactly the same, so how many people would have even noticed this?

Are we getting to any real criticisms yet?

Also, these dinosaurs couldn’t decide if it looked like a claw or a tooth so they said, “F*ck it, let’s just call it Clawtooth.”

Or, you know, they called it that because it looks like three teeth assembled like a claw. But let’s not actually think about things when watching movies.

They’ve been alive for like two minutes and already have chores.

First of all, we don’t see the children doing any work until after the time skip. Clearly, the parents are ingraining their future responsibilities into the children because it’s the most relevant thing to talk to them about if they want to survive.

And second, of course the parents are giving them chores. The movie reveals later on that the family’s survival depends entirely on the children learning how to run the farm themselves one day.

(shows one of the chickens) We never see them eat a chicken or an egg from a chicken, and based on what Arlo eats during another scene in this movie, and science, I can safely assume he is an herbivore, so why are these things even here? Is Henry only keeping them here to teach Arlo a lesson about fear? 

They say later in the movie that their responsibilities include protecting and feeding other, less intelligent animals. And we see this concept echoed throughout the movie with the other characters, including the carnivores who ranch the cattle they don’t eat themselves.

The reason is because these chickens provide a lot of resources. They can be used as fertilizer, their feathers can keep the family warm, and they can even be traded with other farms in the area. I’ll admit that the movie sort of leaves this bit to our imaginations, but it’s not a heavy sin.

Convenient dead, broken log is convenient. 

Yeah, because the dad brought it there himself before running into Arlo. Why is this being mentioned?

“Convenient grass is convenient.” +1 and a funny joke no one cares about!

Mud is not paint. Mud washes away in the rain, yet this and every other mark made remains on the corn silo for the duration of the film.

Seriously, now you don’t understand how dirt works? Mud is a mix of water, earth, and clay. So if it doesn’t rain for a few hours while it’s sitting on the stone silo exposed to sunlight, it’s going to dry and stay there for a while.

(after Henry says “you earned it” to Buck) Making your mark apparently just means “doing your job.” 

If that were the case, Buck would have “earned it” a long time ago when we saw him…doing his job.

The idea is, and read this slow so you don’t lose track, that Buck has earned his mark by figuring out how he best contributes to the farm in a consistent, mature way.

Earlier, Henry earns his mark for not just building a food silo (which is doing his job), but for making it 100% critter proof. It’s about how well the job has been done, which only takes maybe three seconds of thinking carefully about this movie.

You might be expecting me to sin this dino-society placing such a high value on muddy footprints…

No, we’re still just waiting for you to sin the movie for an actual reason.

…instead I’m going to sin this MASSIVELY heavy STONE-based structure for standing upright all this time on four tiny skinny wooden legs. WTF?

We’ve got a decent sin, people!

Though it’s not that egregious considering its’ also held up with string connecting multiple pieces of wood, and the stone structure is hollow. It’s still a little too convenient, though.

(after Arlo says “All right you cluckers!) Pixar basically snuck “All right you f*ckers” into this movie.

Still more humorous than any of the jokes you make in this video.

How are these chickens not dead yet if Arlo can’t successfully feed them?

Gee, maybe his parents are doing it for him. There, that wasn’t so hard.

See, earning your mark clearly references coming of age and reaching independence. His parents obviously fed the chickens themselves while the kids grew up, but one day, they knew Arlo would have to own the responsibility himself. That’s why his parents are disappointed, not because they don’t have an extra hour to do the job themselves.

(after Henry says “I’ve got an idea”) Genuinely surprised a light bulb didn’t appear above his head just before he said this. 

You’re sinning the movie for NOT doing something stupid and completely out of place? What is even happening right now?

(after Henry wakes up Arlo in the middle of the night) And no one else in the room within the same earshot as Arlo hears that.

Ugh, we’re not even 3 minutes into this video, guys. This is my nightmare.

Yes, they’re in the same room, but Henry isn’t as close to them. He’s speaking directly at Arlo with his body wrapped around him. Why do I even have to point this out for you?

Besides, we don’t even know that the kids didn’t hear him as well but did what any other teenager would do and just fall back asleep because it’s the middle of the night and he’s not talking to them.

Stomping around these lightning bugs doesn’t make them move, but lightly waving a tail over them makes them light up and fly away. Is Henry’s tail magic?

In the same scene, THE SAME SCENE, we see Henry blowing air into the firefly on Arlo’s nose, showing how AIR is what makes them light up. So of course his tail spreading over the grass is going to blow enough air to ignite all of the bugs it passes over.

But no, let’s sin the movie (again) because we weren’t paying attention. I’m really starting to wonder if they even watched it at all, despite the video evidence.

I’ve seen the Lion King. This will not end well.

You’re just recognizing a trope that hasn’t even happened yet. Again, you should change “Movie Sin Counter” to “Pointless Movie Interruption Counter.”

With this single jump, yeah, he sets off a pretty-looking firefly event, but…he also killed hundreds of other unsuspecting fireflies who did NOT expect him to jump and land on them…right? RIGHT?!

Wrong. They’re bugs, which means they’re fast and see danger coming much faster than other creatures, as we see earlier in the scene when one lands on Arlo. It’s reasonable to assume they flew away as soon as Henry came anywhere near them.

Also, he’s big but not that big. There’s no way “hundreds of fireflies” were all crammed in the spaces where his feet touched the ground.

(after Henry says they don’t have enough food for winter) But…all you keep here is corn. Is corn the ONLY food you planned to eat all winter?! Do you not have other storehouses with OTHER foods that collectively might mostly cover the shortfall of this one corn storehouse?! How can you have farms and storehouses like this but NOT have any g***mn farming sense?! Are you destined to go extinct regardless of the circumstances?!

Seriously, guys, I don’t even know what to say to this. It’s so blatantly stupid, I’m worried that a little of the nonsense is creeping into my fingers as I type.

Jeremy (I’m just going to call you Jeremy for a second), we’ve spent the entire movie thus far watching how the family runs…a corn farm. So yes, Jeremy, they eat a lot of corn. Which means that they go through that storehouse routinely and have to fill it up routinely. So when a critter keeps stealing some here and there, it makes a big difference in their ability to feed themselves and their livestock.

Why don’t they have other storehouses? Well, what would they put in them, Jeremy? It’s obviously taking their full efforts to harvest this farm, and sure, we know that the family eats other foods they may grow like berries (since Arlo knows to eat them out in the wild), but it’s not like they have time to reap entire forests outside their land.

Movie expects me to believe adorable dinosaurs are capable of this kind of trap-building—and critical thinking!!—despite being, you know, dinosaurs.

 A second ago, you complained they didn’t have enough farming sense. Now they’re too smart? Which was already something you complained about?

And yes, the movie expects you to believe this because they’re SHOWING you how the dinosaurs are making the traps, and the movie up until this point has done nothing but illustrate the normal life and capabilities of these dinosaurs and how they cultivate their living. So you completely missed the point, despite being, you know, a video devoted to critiquing the point.

Henry knows that Arlo struggles to feed the chickens, yet he thinks Arlo is capable of killing.

Yes, because that is the character arc for Henry. He continually pushes Arlo in new ways so that he’ll overcome his fears. So by having him confront a critter who is threatening their livelihood, Henry is expecting Arlo to rise to the occasion. This is a perfectly normal teaching technique: when you can’t overcome an obstacle, do something else that may even be a little bit harder in order to power through your perceived limitations.

Shouldn’t he be hiding? Arlo was instructed to catch and kill the critter, not keep it from showing up. That’s why they built that trap! See? I told you he couldn’t be trusted with this. 

Of course, because Arlo has already proven that he’s not very good at much of anything right now. So yeah, he’s doing a bad job. Is this surprising enough to be a knock against the movie when it actually fits the character? He is, after all, probably more focused on scaring creatures away so he doesn’t have to kill them.

Jump scare? What are you doing here? 

Yeah, movies have jump scares. Complaining about such a standard movie trope is like getting bent out of shape because a movie has establishing shots or narration.

Arlo cuts the tree-rope, but then the kid climbs out one of the holes in the net that he TOTALLY should have been able to climb out of earlier. 

I’ll admit that if you only watch the scene once, this might seem like a goof. But the net is clearly being held taut by both the rocks and the rope connected to the tree. By cutting the tree, the net is no longer tight around the kid’s body, so he can just slip out of it. This is emphasized even further by how the kid can’t breathe because of how tight the ropes are.

In other words, you’re bad at this, Jeremy.

(after Henry tells Arlo that if he gets lost, he has to follow the river)

Well, that sounds like some conveniently-prescient bulls*t that will come in handy later. 

Oh, you mean the driving narrative that is established early on because that’s how Arlo travels for the rest of the film? How dare they actually write this movie so it makes sense!

But no, setting things up so they pay off later is apparently a “sin,” now.

Arlo literally trips over the ONLY rock in the pathway. F*ckin’ Arlo.

Yeah, because if there were more rocks, he’d be paying attention to where he walks, but the path is clear and he’s in a hurry, so he doesn’t notice what he’s not looking for.

(three notes come on that sound like “Go the Distance” from Disney’s Hercules)

Yes, I saw Disney’s Hercules too!

You’re literally just cherrypicking a short arrangement from a larger score that doesn’t sound at all like “Go the Distance.” I’d agree with the eye-rolling nature of this if the scene itself had anything to do with Hercules, but it doesn’t in the slightest.

Yes, it’s a hurricane, but…this river behaves as though the freaking Hoover Dam exploded up river. Why? Cause we need to Mufasa Arlo’s dad, of course. 

Earlier, you complained that this time period is “too similar” to a world where the meteor had hit. Now you’re annoyed that there’s a powerful storm strong enough to cause floods…you know, which happens in real life, anyway.

Essentially, you’re annoyed that the writers wrote a plot point about Arlo’s dad dying, and you were prepared to call it a contrivance no matter how they wrote the scene. In other words, the standards you set for movies don’t make any sense, similar to the videos you make.

Well, hello Lion KingI enjoyed you before, but did NOT expect to see you in dinosaur form—and from the same freaking studio!!

Pixar Animation Studios didn’t make The Lion King you walnut.

Also, the only similarity between these two movies for this scene is that Arlo’s dad falls off a cliff. There’s no stampede, no brotherly betrayal, or child being manipulated into his father’s death. It’s taking place in a river, accidentally, as a force of nature.

(Arlo looks at the “marks” on the silo)

“I wish I had that” cliché.

Characters yearning for something isn’t a cliché, it’s a form of good character development. The writers have to establish what Arlo wants so that we can get a clear understanding of his motivations. It’s not some vain desire Arlo has because it’s pleasing to his eye. He wants to make a mark in order to prove himself to his family.

But no, let’s laugh at a character for having a moment after his father dies.

What was this kid doing with his eaten corn cobs BEFORE Arlo opened this hole up 30 seconds ago, eh?! How fortunate for the plot that he sees a new hole, and instead of being scared like a feral human child, he decides it’s an upgrade to where he’s been tossing his food waste! 

This sequence of events makes perfect sense, for reasons you even point out. Arlo removes the rock and throws a cob in, getting the kid’s attention. Once he sees the hole (which he doesn’t know leads to someone because there aren’t usually holes when he’s in the silo), he throws his food out so he can clear space to eat more food.

8 minutes to go…I don’t think I can keep this up without getting extra salty, so prepare yourself.

(after Arlo tells the kid that his dad would still be alive if it wasn’t for him)

That’s true, but it’s also a clear case of transference. 

“Look, he has a personality and character traits! SIN.”

(Arlo and the kid fall in the river)

Arlo ends up in the raging river waters mostly because he’s stupid and has no spatial awareness, though the movie will try to blame it on the feral man-child.

The movie isn’t blaming anyone for anything, because it’s a movie. Arlo certainly blames the kid for what has happened, mostly because the kid is the reason ANY OF THIS IS HAPPENING.

Well, clearly he’s gonna get knocked out by a rock any second…now.

Yeah. Because he’s in a river full of rocks. When will the plot holes..er…rocks end? See, I can make dumb jokes, too!

Also, he doesn’t drown after this. Instead, he’s floated to the surface to find air and other life-giving bulls*it rather easily and conveniently.

True, but it would be a pretty boring movie if Arlo just died right then and there. This might be reaching, a little, but it’s also interesting how Arlo survives at this point because he simply lets the river take him, rather than just fighting it. But over the course of the movie, he learns to fight through nature in order to return home.

It was very considerate of the river to place Arlo in this shallow pool with his head kept above the water on a rock.

He’d obviously stop drifting once being floated into a shallow pool…full of rocks.

I see that he has…bruises? Maybe it’s just dirt. Who knows? But no cuts or gashes or open wounds? It’s one thing for him to survive, but another thing to survive mostly unscathed. 

He’s literally covered in dark bruises. How is that “unscathed?” And of course they didn’t place open gashes on his body. If he had brushed up against something sharp and been carried like that, he’d be dead from bleeding out. Your expectations for a kid’s movie are pretty deadly, even for an edgy one like this.

(after Arlo calls after his mom)

Ha ha ha ha, protagonist is really stupid. 

Really? You’re calling a child who’s been separated from his last living parent stupid for still trying to see if she can hear him and help him? What’s the matter with you?

(after Arlo falls off a rock)

That’s what you get for not having hands! 

No, seriously, what’s the matter with you?

(Arlo on top of a rock, looking at the mountains)

Jeep…it’s what’s for dinner. 

Why…why are you doing this to us? You have to know that people watch your videos expecting something interesting and maybe a little intelligent, even if they like the movie. Why…why would you make pointless, horrendous jokes and add it to a fake “sin” counter under the guise that you’re some sort of critical thinker?

Also,

What ALSO? You literally didn’t say anything in the last sin. You just made a stupid joke that had nothing to do with the movie.

Also, he’s going to have to go DOWN at an incline at least as steep as the one he climbed up, right? He’s like on top of the world here, he’s go nowhere to go but down!

First of all, nice typo. Second of all, you’ve apparently never hiked before if you don’t understand that climbing up things, even if they’re steep, means that you can reasonably climb down, as nothing we saw from his climb suggests he can’t just hop down the rocks as long as he’s being careful. But hey, let’s reference Jeep commercials!

(Arlo asks himself while staring out, “Where’s home?”)

Um…upriver, dip-s*it.

Yes, he knows that you insufferable neckbeard. The point is that even though he’s looking past the river, he can’t even see Clawtooth mountain, so he’s completely lost and has no idea how far home is since he can’t see it from the top of the mountain.

Go ahead, keep making jokes like you’re watching this movie while spitting into a dip cup with some Bud Ice in your lap.

Yep, he somehow climbed from there to here. I know…right?!

Yeah, we saw him. Climb. A lot. Is the sin a sin because it happened, or because you just want to pause and talk to us because you’re lonely?

(quick shot of a caterpillar)

Heimlich?

It’s a sin now for Pixar to show animals that have appeared in other movies? How is that a complaint, rather than a painfully annoying observation someone makes while watching this movie? And this caterpillar doesn’t even look like Heimlich anyway. Like at all.

(Arlo eats some berries)

DON’T EVER DO THIS! Many random forest berries are poisonous! This movie is a terrible role model!!!

Yes, and part of surviving in the wild is eating the right berries, which Arlo does. It’s an animated movie, not a Boy Scouts tutorial.

Seriously, every bone in Arlo’s body is broken at this point. Right?

Arlo gets hurt a lot in this movie, but he’s not a mammal. He’s a sturdier, and quite large, reptile. And a lot of his injuries are sustained over the course of the film, like when his leg gets hurt. So the movie actually does a great job of making his injuries feel real without crippling him to the point where he’s always just limping around.

Besides, the shot you’re referencing only shows Arlo falling back a few feet. It’s not even one of the more punishing moments of the film.

(Arlo’s leg is stuck under a rock)

It looks like we have a 127 Hours situation on our hands…well, more like our leg.

“Hey, this one thing from this movie looks a little similar from this other movie! Look how smart we are for pointing this out! JOKES!”

(shot of the moon)

Bruce Almighty moon in the house, ya’ll!

What…what is the matter with you, Jeremy? You used to be so talented. Biting. Subtle. Respectable. Now, you’re pointing out references to the moon between two movies because…hey, it’s uh, the moon! Remember that from that movie?! DING!

Have I mentioned how good the animation is in the film? Because the story is terrible.

Well, so far in this film, you haven’t said much about the story at all. You’ve sinned the movie for every other thing imaginable, like a chord arrangement, the moon being in the sky, and Arlo climbing up and down things sometimes. But hey, maybe you’ll get to actual criticisms later in the…well, never mind.

What makes this lizard food and not another creature they can talk to? I’m not sure who I should feel bad for here.

The movie has been establishing since the first scene with the chickens that not all creatures in this world are as intelligent and evolved as the dinosaurs. It’s kind of the plot of the movie, which you just called out for being “terrible,” despite the fact that you’re clearly not even following it.

Spot isn’t great at killing animals before bringing them to Arlo for consumption. My modern house cat at least has the common courtesy to kill a mouse before bringing it to me.

Well, guess what, and don’t sit down because you’re just going to stand up when I tell you this…Spot…is not your stupid cat!

In fact, Spot is different from a cat entirely because his instinct is to bring a live animal to Arlo so they can kill and eat the animal together. A lot of animals, like birds do this, but they’re not Jeremy’s stupid cat, so DING!

Movie’s Timon & Pumba stand-in predictably offers the far-from-home lost protagonist bugs as food.

Spot is a stand-in for wildlife foster parents? Because he’s actually Arlo’s pet human, as well as a companion who provides food for him on a dangerous adventure. The circumstances, when you actually analyze them, are completely different from The Lion King. But I know how important you feel in these videos when you make it clear you’ve watched another movie before.

I’m glad Neander-kid figured out Arlo is an herbivore, but still…isn’t there, like, a 60% chance these berries are poisonous? Or was I just over-warned as a child?!

You already sinned the movie for the berries thing, so why are you bothering to bring it up again? Yes, Jeremy, you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to surviving in the woods, apparently. We already got that.

If Spot got the berries from this spot before, how was he able to get there without the Arlo bridge?

The way Spot got to the berries was by following their scent, and he had to climb up trees in a different way so that Arlo could follow him. It was more about getting Arlo across than him repeating his steps.

Spot is a distant relative of Darla Sherman.

So Darla Sherman, for all of you non-Finding Nemo fans, is the braces-wearing niece of the dentist at P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney. She also looks nothing like Spot, aside from also being a computer animated character.

And if this is the case, why bring it up now, half an hour after we’ve been introduced to Spot? Oh, because clearly we need to break things up with a pointless reference.

Arlo survives this fall, which is categorically—oh, who f*cking cares?!?!

Weird, that’s my same experience with this entire video.

Also, Arlo survives the fall (that you cut out the end part of) because the tree branches break his fall, and he’s a big enough creature for that not to kill him.

If you took your young child to this movie, I bet you regret it.

Not unless you have pretty awesome kids, like a lot of the ones who don’t care how scary Jurassic World is because look! Dinosaurs!

So are humans in this version of history dogs? One could argue that the panting is just heavy breathing because of the wrestling match with the snake, but he’s also sitting like a dog, and his name is f*cking Spot! 

It’s almost like Pixar made him this way on purpose.

(after the Pet Collector explains that Dreamcrusher protects him from unrealistic goals)

So does that mean they’re married?

 Insert laugh track here

Both Arlo and Spot must have Lance Armstrong steroid-level lung capacity to make these gopher creatures pop out of the ground.

WHAT?! HOW DARE THEY?!

(when the gophers approach Arlo)

The Good Dinosaur: The Trouble With Tribbles.

Jeremy. I’ve never had to do this before like this but…please stop talking.

(after Spot shows Arlo how to swim)

Aw, he taught him how to human-paddle.

“Look, characters interacting and teaching things to each other! DING! REFERENCE YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT! UNRELATED JOKE!”

These two obviously eat some shady sh*t, but fortunately for them, the side effects are hilarious hallucinations.

Wait, let me beat you to it: “What is this, Requiem for a Dream? Huh? Huh?”

Laugh track

Maybe his parents were wolves. That’s the only logical explanation for his continued non-ape like behavior.

Or, and don’t read this too fast, his family studied and mirrored wolf-like behavior in order to survive because that’s what humans have done for countless years. After all, wolves hunt in packs, follow scents to get food, and howl together to signify their bonds. And years of observing these creatures would probably convince some humans to follow their lead.

But based on his ability to quickly and quietly move, maybe his parents were cats…or hobbits.

First of all, no one cares about your cat, Jeremy. Second, this kid is way faster (and quieter) than a hobbit. That reference makes no sense on multiple levels.

Also, you sped up the video to make it seem like Spot moved farther away really quickly, but if you watch the movie, it’s a pretty reasonable amount of time after Arlo turns his head away based on how quick we’ve seen Spot move so far.

Because it’s a movie, a storm can literally roll into the area in, like, three seconds.

Wow, now you don’t even seem to understand how storms work. I bet Florida would blow your mind.

So, are the Pterodactyls cult members, or are they just religious? Who is Pixar trying to warn me to avoid?

Neither. They’re simply pointing out that unhinged zeal is a bad thing, and in a way that can ring true for a lot of cults and some religions. They’re not picking sides, because this isn’t that kind of movie, but they are showing kids the dangers of justifying bad actions with deity worship.

In other words, this is an awesome movie.

(after a pterodactyl eats a small creature)

Damn, Disney HATES Ice Age.

Pixar made this movie, not Disney. They just signed the checks.

Also, what? Pretty sure when you’re the top animation studio around, you’re not making creative decisions based on what the competition is or isn’t doing. Especially not the makers of Ice Age.

(after the same pterodactyl gulps the creature down)

Also…that’s horrific.

True. And for some people, it’s disturbing, too. And hilarious.

Annnd how did it take me this long to see the Lion King hyena connection to these three pterodactyls?!

Right, because in The Lion King, Simba has to protect a human from three creatures less powerful than him who worship storms and seem kind of OK when you first meet them. Totally the same.

Maybe it took you a while to see the “connection” because you stopped trying to look for one that isn’t there.

Just like Jurassic Park, sudden T-Rex saves the day! 

Only in this movie, a T-Rex saves the day for reasons that makes sense! Not that I have anything against Jurassic Park.

And of course the biggest difference is that Arlo sees the T-Rexes from afar and seeks their help because he thinks they’re his species at a distance, when in Jurassic Park, the T-Rex somehow just shows up inside a building.

The carnivorous T. Rexes are nice to the smaller, defenseless, and potentially delicious creatures because, I guess, John Lasseter was tired of Stephen Spielberg’s vilification of the T. Rex.

So now it’s a sin to NOT be like Jurassic Park? Jeremy, make up your ridiculous, cat-obsessed mind.

And yes, the T-Rexes care after creatures as carnivores in the same way we’ve seen the large Apatosaurus take care of other creatures. It’s a persistent theme of the movie, and it makes sense because these animals are smart enough after years of evolution to realize that there’s more to life than eating. They have plenty to keep their stomachs full, so they can be responsible for an entire herd and be friendly with other creatures because they don’t need to eat them.

And John Lasseter didn’t direct this movie. Peter Sohn did.

OK, so we’re well into this Snarcasm, and I think we can all agree that enough is enough (kudos for making it this far, of course).

The rest of this video is about as nonsensical and unfunny as what we’ve covered thus far, with a lot of attention paid to thin similarities The Good Dinosaur has with other movies, which Jeremy just can’t seem to wrap his head around. As if this is the first time he’s ever seen a movie that references other movies, even though movies do that all the time and get away with it when the circumstances are fairly different so they’re still unique.

But hey, anything for a cheap joke.

Here’s one last “sin” from the end of the video:

Arlo got lost and manages to make it back home, all while not really accomplishing anything, so he gets to finally make his mark…whatever that means.

I had to skip over this part of the video, but the point is that Arlo survived the river twice, when his father was lost after one accident and couldn’t make it back. Not only did Arlo return home (which his family desperately needed to happen because it’s established they need all the help they can get to survive), but he also did so by overcoming his biggest problem. Fear.

No one needed to tell him that he earned his mark. Arlo knew it once he arrived home, because nature itself couldn’t stop him from helping his family and fulfilling his duty. He became a man, and that’s his mark.

To be clear, I don’t really care that the Cinemasins crew has little love for The Good Dinosaur. Obviously, the film just didn’t work for them, and having a good time at the movies is the point, right?

My only issue is that this “sin” video does nothing to highlight what’s actually good or bad in this movie, so millions of people who trust Cinemasins are walking away from this 12 minute jokefest thinking it’s a terrible movie, when many of them may have probably loved it. It’s irresponsible to paint a movie in an over-the-top, negative light simply because that’s the name of your channel, and you really only have 10 sins that are strong enough to make a video for.

In other words, Cinemasins is clickbait. And they have been for a while, it seems.


Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

My Top 10 Films of 2015

top 2015 movies

2015 will be known as the year that westerns took on space operas again, and the year that audiences clamoring for more LGBT dramas want better LGBT dramas. It was the year that practical effects and 70mm film started popping up more in the conversation, dictating some of the biggest hits of the box office.

It was a great year for movies, and one I was happy to participate in as a critic. Of the 80 films I saw in 2015, I’ve curated a list of my “top” favorites. This list differs from my 2015 Movie Power Rankings, in that it isn’t dictated by grade. I’m selecting movies that I personally loved, even if they have some notable flaws holding them back.

And this list comes with a significant caveat, in that I’ve been away for the holidays. I’ve missed several new releases, like The Hateful EightThe RevenantAnomalisa, and Son of Saul. For that reason, they didn’t make the list, even though one or two of them certainly had the potential.

That said, let’s take a look at some of the best movies 2015 had to offer us, starting with:

#10 Creed

Though I was charmed by Southpaw, the other mainstream boxing movie of 2015 that starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Creed worked harder to land its punches. Starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, this mashup of an unprivileged kid turned privileged, then unprivileged again, ended up being my favorite origin story of the year.

Director Ryan Coogler could have easily defaulted to many of the same beats that have carried previous installments in the Rocky universe, but his decision to keep Stallone out of the writing room and to place more emphasis on brand new themes (like an inventive soundtrack that still manages to pay homage to the original) push Creed to incredible heights as a franchise starter.

#9 Paddington

Movies made specifically for children have a tendency to forget the rest of their audience, including the older versions of the children who love these movies in the first place. Paddington makes no such compromises, infusing a charming script with equally charming characters.

If you had to fault Paddington for anything, it would have to be the absence of any real risks. But the true achievement of this kid-friendly adventure in London is how well it sets the standard for accessible adaptations of children’s classics.

#8 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

It’s easy to pick fun at Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, a film that’s deftly aware of its indie status with showy camerawork and a parade of film references that will manufacture old Hollywood nostalgia. But it’s also easy to look past its genius, as a movie that centers around a concept most coming-of-age films never get right: detachment.

This quirky summer film harkens back to The Way Way Back, another somewhat flawed movie that floored me emotionally. If you’re seeking heart mixed in with an original concept and even more original characters, then this is a must-see.

#7 Star Wars: The Force Awakens

For all of its controversy for being a mimic of past Star Wars films, you have to admit that The Force Awakens is certainly the most interesting movie of the year. It’s a film with such rich appeal and complexity, fans and haters alike are still at each other’s throats over whether or not it’s actually good.

Of course, it’s a great movie that cancels out its many flaws with even more moments of awe and spectacle during an age when practical effects and real film were on the way out. But what makes the hype around TFA worth it the most is its lovable characters we can’t wait to see more of.

Is it shameless in its premise that it doesn’t work fully as a standalone movie? Absolutely. But as Hollywood makes this fascinating transition into an industry of franchises, not movies, TFA is at least a glowing example of how to do it well.

#6 Spotlight

My favorite ensemble of the year comes from this team up of Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Lieve Schrieber, and others as they uncover the massive sex abuse scandal within the high ranks of the Catholic Church.

Spotlight gets you invested within the first few minutes of its interactions between journalists at the Boston Globe. Its recency in events keeps the story harrowing to think about, but it’ll stand the test of time for its adherence to the real culture behind spotlight journalism. It will hopefully inspire (and de-inspire) future journalists for years to come.

#5 Room 

Lenny Abrahamson’s film adaption of the popular novel by Emma Donoghue, Room, is one of the boldest movies of the year, and one of the most emotionally gripping, thanks to incredible performances by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. Imagine a film in which the main character, someone who is the victim of a horrible crime, is shamed for her imperfections throughout?

Room doesn’t sugarcoat the messiness of life. People are sick, terrible, and (sometimes) good. Watching their lives play out in one of the most horrible ways possible should make you uncomfortable, but only because the connection you’ve made with the characters onscreen is genuine and hard to forget.

#4 Mad Max: Fury Road

Technology finally caught up to the insane vision of George Miller, and audiences had the privilege of seeing this post-apocalyptic masterpiece unfold in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Designed to be something worthy of the big screen, I’m unsure of how well Fury Road will translate on a tablet or flatscreen TV. But the impressive visuals, captivating lore, and truly spectacular effects will keep fans like me re-watching this future classic for years.

#3 Inside Out 

Inside Out is one of those rare movies with such an attention to detail, it’s hard to find any real flaws (CinemaSins notwithstanding). Its storytelling is actually superior to its good story, its side characters transcend the main ones, and the comedy is even more fun than some of the more emotional moments expected from a Pixar film.

In other words, Inside Out is full of surprises, a compliment I wish I could give to more films this year, animated or otherwise. It’s spirited, original, and isn’t asking for a sequel to make it relevant.

#2 It Follows

I truly wish we could have more horror films like It Follows, which trades glossy production for an earthy feel that mixes nicely with a jarring soundtrack you have to hear to believe. Though simple in its premise, It Follows can take a while to dissect, as a film about a group of teenagers in the Detroit suburbs trying to foil a persistent, shapeshifting demon.

What makes the film superb, however, is its ability to twist its own flaws into elements of the film itself. Of course these kids are morons. That’s the point. Of course that’s a plot hole. These kids are morons. As far as horror films go, It Follows is a true standout.

#1 The Good Dinosaur

For me, The Good Dinosaur will always be one of the most fascinating films of 2015. It’s a film that feels wholly imperfect in conception, but nearly perfect in execution. For that reason, I think most moviegoers gave up on the film before they could experience it in action.

The energy of this film, which is absolutely my favorite movie of 2015, comes from its harmony between story, effects, music, animation, and characters. Everything is crafted to fit, so if you don’t like one aspect of the recipe that makes up The Good Dinosaur, then there’s a chance you won’t enjoy the meal.

But more than that, The Good Dinosaur pulls off what Pixar hasn’t tried to do in ages: something completely new. As much as I love Inside Out, it ends up feeling like a standard Pixar movie. The Good Dinosaur, while clearly paying homage to many westerns, doesn’t feel like something made by Pixar, and that’s an exciting thing in and of itself. But it’s the movie’s ability to transcend its own makers that makes The Good Dinosaur my #1 pick of the year.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Ex Machina
  • The Intern
  • The Martian
  • Beasts of No Nation
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service
  • The Gift
  • Still Alice
  • Love and Mercy

Have something to add or discuss? Sound off in the comments below.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

The Pixar Theory: How The Good Dinosaur Fits In Pixar’s Universe

the good dinosaur pixar theory

The Storm provides.

In 2013, I wrote the first draft of The Pixar Theory, an essay that makes the case for how and why every Pixar movie takes place within a shared universe.

Just this past year, I published a book that finalized this draft into a more convincing and fleshed out read that you can check out here, but you can get a decent idea of what we’re talking about by reading the original article. Just keep in mind that much of what I wrote in that first blog post has been changed and improved on over the years.

Also this year, I posted how Inside Out (Pixar’s other 2015 movie) fits into the Pixar Theory, which you can check out here for even more context.

Yeah, I know it’s a lot of reading. As we talk about The Good Dinosaur below, I’ll do my best to add refreshers from past articles, so you don’t have to keep clicking around.

Needless to say, this post contains a lot of spoilers for The Good Dinosaur, so if you haven’t watched it yet and don’t want it spoiled for you, then check back later after you’ve had a chance to see the movie. You’ve been warned. 

That said, it’s time to address a question I’ve been getting for over two years now…

THE BIG QUESTION

Does The Good Dinosaur take place in the same universe as ever other Pixar movie? Including Toy StoryFinding Nemo, and even Cars?

the good dinosaur pixar theory

We’re going to address that question and then some. But first, let’s talk about something possibly more important. Let’s talk about what The Good Dinosaur contributes to the shared Pixar universe, beyond how it potentially “fits in.”

In other words, we’re going to talk about how The Good Dinosaur makes the Pixar Universe Theory better.

For one thing, it actually answers some major questions I’ve been asking since day one of putting this theory together. And I know plenty of people have wondered this too:

WHERE DOES “MAGIC” COME FROM?

If you’re at all familiar with this theory, then you’re plenty aware of how magic plays a mysterious role in the shared universe of Pixar. But one thing I’ve never fully understood is where it’s supposed to come from in a world where animals can cook and toys can talk.

I’ve claimed in the past that the wisps of Brave are where this magic originated, or at least point to magic tying in with nature somehow. I’ve also posited that wood is a source of magic, which is certainly evident given how doors have dimension-defying capabilities in multiple Pixar movies, including Monsters Inc, and Brave.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

Humans can use magic from what we’ve seen, or at least some type of it. In my book, I argue that the supers from The Incredibles received their powers through government experiments in order to be spies (at first), which would explain why they seem to have military experience and backgrounds in espionage.

But it’s unclear how technology could make a person fly. It’s unclear how Boo from Monsters Inc., could harness the magic of a door and travel through time. It’s unclear how humans of the distant future could find a magic tree with fruit that could transform them into animalistic monsters (a tidbit from the Monsters Inc., DVD).

But with The Good Dinosaur, we finally have a suitable theory for where this magic comes from, as well as a proper starting point for the Pixar Universe.

THE SET UP

The film opens 65 millions years in the past, when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. The opening scene clearly shows us a world like the real one you and I live in, where animals eat from the ground and have primitive senses.

In reality, it’s believed by many that an extinction-level event is what caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs as we know them today. A predominant theory is that an asteroid wiped all of these creatures out, long before mammals like humans ever came to be.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

Pixar accepts this premise and turns it on its head by proposing a world where there is no extinction of the dinosaurs because the asteroid misses Earth entirely. Millions of years later, dinosaurs are still the dominant species on a very different-looking planet, while humans are just now arriving on the scene.

One thing I love about The Good Dinosaur, by the way, is how the film doesn’t rely on any exposition to illustrate what’s taken place since the asteroid missed Earth. We just see an apatosaurus family tending to their farm. Right off the bat, we learn that dinosaurs have become the most intelligent creatures in this world, able to provide shelter, fences, and resources for themselves and other creatures.

They’re smart. They use their appendages in unique ways to ensure their survival. It’s a simple reimagining, but it’s effective. And it parallels nicely with what we’ve come to expect from future animals in the Pixar Universe, notably Remy from Ratatouille, an animal who manages to become a better chef than any other human (in Paris, at least).

So right away, The Good Dinosaur hammers the point that when left to their own devices, animals can become just as intelligent as humans, as we also see in A Bug’s Life with Flik’s inventions and ingenuity ensuring the survival of his entire community.

In the same way, the apatosaurus family of The Good Dinosaur relies on the harvesting of food to get them through a harsh winter. Arlo, the main character, is the youngest of three siblings to the apatosaurus parents who run the farm. To “earn his mark,” Arlo is given the responsibility of catching a feral critter who keeps stealing their food.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

We eventually learn that this critter is what we know as a human. He’s a small, wolf-like boy who doesn’t appear to have his own language beyond grunts, and Arlo adopts him has his pet after the two get washed away by the river, far from home.

From there, the movie shows us their long journey home, and a lot happens over the course of these few weeks. We learn quickly that this part of the world suffers from frequent storms, some of them looking like typhoons. Later, it’s evident that very few dinosaurs are around, despite the fact that they’re the most intelligent species around.

We see a few dinosaurs along the way, but only in small groups, rather than herds. Towns and settlements are apparently scarce, but still alluded to. And every dino is obsessed with survival.

Forrest, the Styracosaurs, chooses to live in the wilderness under the protection of the creatures he carries around with him. This is played off as a joke, mostly, but it shows just how harsh life is in this world for reasons that are left to the imagination.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

It’s also telling that Forrest is just as fearful as Arlo, and with good reason. There’s not much food around, and though these dinosaurs are smart, some are being born with an innate (possibly learned) sense of fear.

We certainly get a feel for how scarce resources are by the time we meet the hybrid Nyctosaurus gang, led by Thunderclap. I say hybrid because like the other dinosaurs in this film, they have many traits that have evolved from the fossils we have on these creatures. In fact, every creature in Thunderclap’s gang is a different species.

These flying creatures are a “search and rescue” team who scavenge the helpless creatures traumatized by the frequent storms. “The ‘Storm’ provides” is not just a weird catchphrase for these beasts—it’s their religion. They worship the storm for giving them much-needed food.

Isn’t it strange that Arlo got sick from eating plants that weren’t fruits like berries and corn? Millions of years earlier, we saw dinosaurs eating grass just fine, so what changed?

the good dinosaur pixar theory

Before we get to that, it’s important to point out how the T-Rex family manages to survive. They have to raise and take care of a bison herd by themselves in order to have enough food, often fighting off vicious raptors desperate for their food. And the T-Rexes are constantly on the move, which probably has something to do with how the environment is too volatile for them to settle down anywhere, as well as the fact that they have to find enough food to feed their food.

WHY?

If dinosaurs have been evolving for millions of years, then why are they having such a hard time, now? In the opening scene, there are many dinosaurs all eating together without a care in the world, so something big had to happen between those good times and the bleak world we’re introduced to countless years later.

Well, I think it’s pretty simple. These dinosaurs are living in a “post-apocalypse” of their own civilization. At one point, they probably had plentiful resources to sustain a massive population, much like you’d expect. But what we see is a shifted environment. The lush jungles filled with edible plants that we know existed millions of years ago have vanished by the time we meet Arlo, just as they would have if the asteroid had hit Earth.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

 

Simply put, the world slowly became less optimal for the dinosaurs to roam, which the movie goes out of its way to illustrate. Arlo’s family is on the brink of running out of food because rival creatures like the mammals (AKA humans) are stealing their food and thriving in this new environment. These storms are a product of this change, as the world gradually corrects the imbalance of reptiles and mammals caused by the lack of an extinction-level event.

And many years later, the same “correction” will happen between man and another new species: machine.

In other words, Pixar loves cycles. And the Pixar Universe is as cyclical as they come. It’s actually pretty amazing how a simple movie like The Good Dinosaur offers such a close parallel to stories they’ve already told, Pixar Theory or no.

WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER PIXAR MOVIES?

If The Good Dinosaur exists in the same timeline as movies like The Incredibles and Finding Nemo, then where’s the evidence of those movies being a result of this alternate universe where dinosaurs ruled the Earth much longer than planned?

What about fossils? Certainly, the Pixar movies would exist in a world where the fossil record is drastically different. What about these strange creatures in The Good Dinosaur that don’t look like any animals we’re aware of, like the dreaded cluckers?

Well, that’s where Up comes in.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

Early on in Up, we see that the famous explorer Charles Muntz has found a place in South America filled with plants and animals “undiscovered by science.” That place is Paradise Falls (or, “The Lost World” as the narrator puts it).

And what is the prize creature that Muntz discovers? It’s no dinosaur. It’s a bird (Kevin). And this is a bird that bears resemblance to the bizarre makeup of the “prehistoric” birds and raptor-hybrids we see in The Good Dinosaur, who have originated from this alternate universe where evolution was never halted.

And that’s not where the weirdness ends. Cut from Up is the explanation for why Charles Muntz is still spry and healthy, despite being much older than 80-year-old Carl Fredericksen. According to Pixar, Muntz found Kevin’s eggs, which somehow have the ability to slow down the aging process (my book covers this in more detail, but that’s the gist).

So Kevin’s existence, as well as this rare, superhuman ability, finally has an explanation. Somehow, the longer evolution of these strange creatures brought about magic  or at least something that resembles magic — that can eventually be harnessed by humans in various ways. After all, what is it really that makes those dogs in Up talk? And is it any surprise that Muntz comes across Kevin’s existence in the 1930s, not long before the sudden rise of supers with strange abilities?

the good dinosaur pixar theory

Remember: The Incredibles takes place in an alternate version of the 1950s and 60s. Mr. Incredible was very young or even born around the same time Charles Muntz was uncovering what could be “magic” properties. This could even serve as an explanation for why academia suddenly turned on Muntz, shaming him for what we know weren’t fraudulent discoveries. Perhaps this was a ploy to keep his research hidden from the world, explaining why only Americans are shown to have powers in The Incredibles.

Sometimes I get goosebumps when these things fit together a little too nicely.

OK, what about the strange animals mentioned earlier? Well, when we explore the dirigible in Up, Muntz shows off his collection of these strange creatures that are so rare, Muntz doesn’t expect Carl to know what they are.

They range from giant turtles and other aquatic life to hybrid mammal/dinosaurs that are reminiscent of Forrest from The Good Dinosaur. And we can now deduce that in the Pixar Universe, many of these creatures existed closer together in time, explaining why they’re displayed as a group.

Side note: One of the reasons I’ve waited to add all of this to the Pixar Theory is because I’m still researching how these creatures connect to other movies, including the angler fish that looks just like the one we see in Finding Nemo.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

So the exotic creatures from The Good Dinosaur apparently exist across multiple Pixar movies, and the absence of an extinction-level event seemingly provides an explanation for why animals have become so intelligent by the time we get to movies like Ratatouille.  And the movie even provides some hints as to why magic exists in the Pixar Universe, and we now know why said universe is alternate to our own.

Is that it?

Ha, no.

FOSSILS AND FUELS.

Oil. It’s something that Axelrod from Cars 2 addresses as the very thing we get from fossils, which he specifically defines as “dead dinosaurs.” But for whatever reason, the world runs out of oil in the Pixar Universe much sooner than we would by today’s standards.

Drilling the way we are today, there’s probably 50-100 years of oil left, which obviously excludes methods that dig much deeper. So really, we’re just running low on cheap oil.

In Cars 2, the sentient cars are running out of oil, entirely. And this makes sense for two major reasons:

  1. Mankind has a 200 billion population by 2105 (according to WALL-E)
  2. There’s less oil on Earth because (whoops!) dinosaurs died out more gradually.

Fossil fuels bring life to us from dead organisms, and we get a lot of it from extinction-events that compact them for easier extraction through drilling (for the record, my knowledge on this topic goes about as far as Armageddon).

Without the asteroid, fossil fuels are a bust.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

In The Incredibles, technology has progressed more rapidly by the 1950s, likely because scientists are seeking solutions to this energy crisis. Syndrome finds a way to harness zero-point energy, and “human” energy will be extracted by toys and eventually monsters indefinitely. The absence of other energy options like fossil fuels might provide an explanation for why human energy is so important in the Pixar Universe.

Yet in WALL-E, mankind lives in a loop for hundreds of years aboard starliners like the Axiom. They harness solar energy with advanced technology that allows them to avoid the laws of entropy (and you can argue that the machines are also kept alive by the humans themselves).

All this points to a world that figured out (much faster) that it needs an alternative to fossil fuels, which is why humanity is still around hundreds of years after the cars die out.

THE LEGACY OF DINOCO.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

So in the Pixar Universe, dinosaurs eventually die out because the world changes without them. But they’re remembered, nonetheless, mostly because humans have passed down their memories of the once predominant species.

By the time we get to “modern Pixar,” there are companies like Dinoco that use these forerunners as their logo. Toys like Rex and Trixie get played with, just as they would in our world. There are even statues in Inside Out that look like dinosaurs we see in the movie.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

The major difference is that in The Good Dinosaur, there’s a specific “passing of the torch” moment between Arlo and Spot. The symbolism is actually tragic in a way, as we see Arlo giving Spot over to a human family willing to adopt him. Unlike Spot, these humans wear furs instead of leaves and alternate between walking on all fours and standing upright, even teaching Spot how to do it by guiding him. This moment crystalizes the rise of mankind in contrast to the dinosaurs, who are quite literally on their last legs.

After all, Arlo will return to his farm and eke out a pretty humble existence as a herbivore. His family will barely survive, as his mother tells him bluntly early in the movie. Meanwhile, humans are already hunting and living off of the newer resources tailor-made for mammals. Pixar could have easily left these implications out, but instead they shine a light on the important role mankind will take up as the world continues to change.

That said, I suspect there are more mysteries to solve here. We have millions of years of history between The Good Dinosaur and Brave, so you can expect brand new narratives to rise out of those films as the studio continues to deliver excellent movies more than worthy of our time.

WRAPPING UP.

the good dinosaur pixar theory

That’s the long version of how The Good Dinosaur fits within the narrative of The Pixar TheoryBut I hope you’ve also gotten some insight into why it’s so important to the theory, in a way that not even Inside Out was able to accomplish, though it also was quite enlightening.

With The Good Dinosaur, we have firm answers for some of the biggest questions many have come across when digging into this theory. It gives us a reason why everything in Pixar movies is so different and set apart from reality. It alludes to the mysteries of magic with a little help from Up, further providing connections I didn’t think we’d ever get.

And we even got Dreamcrusher.

I hope you enjoyed the movie itself as much as I did. My full review is also available in case you’re not already tired of reading, which you can check out here. You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m absolutely in love with The Good Dinosaur, and the review expands more on all of that.

As for the easter eggs, this movie has proven to be quite the challenge when it comes to finding the elusive Pizza Planet Truck and A113. Peter Sohn (director of the movie) confirmed they’re in there somewhere, albeit in clever ways similar to how Brave managed it. I haven’t caught them yet, but I’ve heard the truck shows up as either a rock formation or an optical illusion from the positioning of several rocks and debris. Be sure to share your findings.

Let me know your thoughts, ideas, and rebuttals in the comments, and I’ll do my best to clear anything up!

Ready for more?

The conspiring doesn’t end here. Check out my other Pixar Theory posts from infinity to beyond:

  • The Pixar Theory – the full book available on paperback and ebook via Kindle, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, or just a PDF. This will cover the entire theory and every movie in the Pixar universe, updated from what you just read.

Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

‘The Good Dinosaur’ Review: Finding Dino

the good dinosaur review

(You can read my full review here. Below is the shortened version).

The Good Dinosaur was directed by Peter Sohn and stars (the voices of) Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Sam Elliot, Raymond Ochoa, and Jack Bright.

What if the dinosaurs had never been wiped out by an asteroid? According to Pixar, this would have led to dinosaurs eventually becoming the dominant species on Earth. The movie opens in what appears to be Wyoming or Montana, millions of years after the asteroid failed to wipe out all dinosaurs and supposedly before the Ice Age, perhaps.

There’s no exposition beyond this. We meet an Apatosaurus family that operates a farm almost like humans would, and the film gets rolling from there. Throughout this movie, you’ll come across these little moments that remind you how new this world is. Things operate differently, and there’s some clever imagination woven into the rules of this alternate universe.

the good dinosaur review

The main plot of the movie involves a young Apatosaurus named Arlo, who gets separated from his farm after getting washed away by a river. He’s incredibly fearful, and it’s led to some awful tragedies in his life, so this adventure is his opportunity to make his mark on the world and prove himself. To do this, he unwittingly befriends and essentially tames a human he names Spot.

Their journey is exciting and wrought with tension and real danger. Creatures die without warning. Arlo gets hurt a lot. And everything feels authentic, which is probably made better by how beautiful the photorealistic environments are. They’re worth the price of admission alone.

This is also a very funny movie, which is a saving grace from some of the more perilous moments that weight it down. And even though not every element about The Good Dinosaur is perfect, it’s the combination of what it does well that impresses. It’s soundtrack elevates the atmosphere. The softness of the voice acting helps the humor feel earned. The gorgeous visuals highlight how authentic the movie feels, which I’ve already stated.

It’s really the harmony of The Good Dinosaur that puts it above every other movie I’ve seen this year. Even Pixar’s other offering this year, Inside Out, just didn’t feel this cohesive and in sync.

Grade A+

the good dinosaur review

As of November, this is my favorite movie of the year, and it happens to be third movie of 2015 that I’ve given an A+. In my opinion, The Good Dinosaur is one of Pixar’s best films period, mostly because it pushes the studio in new directions that excite me for what they have in stored next. If you’re a fan of their work, then this is a film you should not miss.

Extra Credits

  • No cameos or easter eggs from what I can tell. I didn’t even spot A113. Honestly, this was probably for the best. The simplicity of The Good Dinosaur was one of the things I liked the most about it.
  • Shortly after writing my full review, I noticed that most critics disagree with my assessment on this one, and I have a feeling that many people will prefer Inside Out out of the two. That’s fine, of course, but my opinion remains. I walked into this movie not knowing how anyone would perceive it, and it’s stuck with me ever since. Simply put, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
  • It gets an A+, but it’s not perfect. One aspect of the movie in particular, the rustlers, was pretty underwhelming and uninspired. I’d also note that the third act trips a little bit, but is ultimately saved by a sequence I won’t spoil.
  • Does it fit in the Pixar Theory? I’ve thought about this plenty, and I’ll certainly have a post coming out soon covering this. But the short answer is: well, yeah.

For a more in-depth look at this movie, come back this Sunday for the Now Conspiring podcast, where we’ll discuss this and other new releases.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Thoughts on the First Teaser for ‘The Good Dinosaur’

good dinosaur teaser

It’s been a busy week, so I’m just now getting a chance to share my thoughts on The Good Dinosaur teaser that came out this week. And I have a lot to say for a teaser barely a minute long.
This is a tough movie to talk about due to the unusual air of mystery around it. But we finally have something to talk about, now that the movie is just several months away. But I’m sure you’re all wondering the same thing: Does it look good?

Go on…Thoughts on the First Teaser for ‘The Good Dinosaur’

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