This week, we watched the short film Sanjay’s Super Team and the film The Good Dinosaur.
Sanjay’s Super Team is a very personal story directed by American Indian animator Sanjay Patel. This short is based on the relationship between himself and his father, regarding their Islamic faith. During prayer, Sanjay is distracted by his favorite cartoons and superheroes. His father attempts to direct his attention back to worship, but instead, Sanjay finds a way to integrate play with prayer and allows his imagination to go wild. I commend Patel for making his directorial debut with this story about faith and family, based on his childhood. This is not one of my favorite Pixar shorts, but I appreciate what he was trying to say and that alone makes it worthwhile.
The Good Dinosaur is a Pixar film that doesn’t really feel like Pixar. Released in the same year as the massive hit Inside Out, this movie fell flat upon release and was a box office bomb, one of Pixar’s first. The critical reception was mixed but largely negative. This was one of the few Pixar films in recent years that I didn’t see initially. In fact, I never got around to watching until now. Unfortunately, it is disappointing.
The thing about The Good Dinosaur is that there is nothing about it that is flat out bad. The animation is beautiful, the premise is interesting enough, and the relationship between the two main characters is sweet. What is the problem then? The main issue is that it lacks the spark that fuels so many other Pixar films. There is a depth and maturity missing that can’t be replaced with the things that I listed above. Apart from a couple of scenes that stick out, the majority of the film is unmemorable. There is nothing about it that demands a repeat viewing, or, arguably, a single viewing. Another notable element is that it heavily borrows themes and even whole scenes from The Lion King. Without giving away too much, the relationship between Arlo the dinosaur and his father has been done before, better, and the entire “journey” home also feels redundant and unoriginal. We have seen these things in The Lion King and in other films so why did Pixar think they could do it again without us noticing? It is unfortunate and is ultimately why I don’t feel that this is worth it.
Next week, we will be watching the short Piper, the film Finding Dory, and Marine Life Interviews.