Pixar’s 16th feature film, The Good Dinosaur didn’t exactly set the box office on fire when it was released. It’s not a terrible film, it just doesn’t quite measure up to the high standard the animation studio has set for themselves. While the animated backgrounds are photorealistic, the story is surprisingly ordinary; there’s nothing that makes The Good Dinosaur stand out. It’s just a nice little family film.

The story follows the adventures of a shy young dinosaur named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa). While his brother and sister are strong, and not afraid to help out on the family farm, Arlo has trouble with the simplest tasks. Determined to help Arlo overcome his fears, his father (Jeffrey Wright) tasks him with protecting the crops from an unknown critter. Though Arlo is determined to carry out the necessary household duties, he quickly finds himself distracted by Spot (Jack Bright), a cave boy who loves to munch on the family corn. While attempting to hunt down Spot, Arlo finds himself lost, unable to find his homestead. Ending up alone with Spot, the two set out on a mission to get Arlo back home.

The directorial debut of longtime animator Peter Sohn, It’s no surprise that The Good Dinosaur looks fantastic. Every frame is brimming with detail. It looks almost lifelike. The realistic, natural settings are filled with cartoonish looking characters that keep things colorful, light, and fun.

Aldo is the kind of lovable underdog you can’t help but root for. A timid dinosaur who is scared and alone. Most of us have felt that way at one time or another. You can’t help but feel badly for the little guy, he’s been teased by hid tougher siblings, and been made to feel helpless. Now, he finds himself in the wilderness, with no one but a lively (and awfully cute) cave boy he hardly knows to help him get home.

As the two journey on, they face all sorts of dangerous predicaments, and they encounter predatory birds, vicious red lizards, and adventure-loving T-Rexes. Unfortunately, The Good Dinosaur lacks the complexity usually seen in a Pixar film. It doesn’t offer anything more than what you would expect from an above average kids film. Still, The Good Dinosaur excels visually, which makes it a must-see for diehard fans of animation.

The Good Dinosaur looks spectacular on Blu-ray. Presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio, Disney’s 1080p transfer comes to life. Clarity is stunning throughout. Arlo and Spot truly look lifelike. Depth is incredible. Colors are vibrant and full of life. Blacks are inky, and shadows are perfectly delineated. This is reference quality stuff.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is just as impressive, providing a truly immersive experience. The sub-woofer really gets involved when Arlo is swept away by the river. The water sounds like it’s rushing right over you. You feel like you’re right there as Arlo struggles to breathe. Dialogue is clearly defined in the fronts and directionality is perfect. Like the video, the audio is reference quality material.

English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Audio Commentary: Director Peter Sohn; Story Supervisor Kelsey Mann; Animation Supervisor Mike Venturini; Director of Photography, Lighting Sharon Calahan; and Supervising Technical Director Sanjay Bakshi. This thing is packed. They discuss the movie’s style, story and themes, the movie’s visual structure and style, character design, digital animation, and more. There’s a lot of great information here for those curious as to how the film was put together.
  • Sanjay’s Super Team (HD, 7:07) The theatrical short is provided, like it always is with Pixar movies.
  • True Lies About Dinosaurs (HD, 1:56) A quick look at the fictional elements portrayed in the film.
  • Recyclosaurus (HD, 6:19) A look at how Pixar employees built dinosaurs from recycled materials.
  • Every Part of the Dinosaur (HD, 6:08) A look at character creation, and the effort to give them real emotion.
  • The Filmmakers’ Journey (HD, 7:54) A look at the process of making the film. Particularly the ups and downs that created a bond between the crew.
  • Following the T-Rex Trail (HD, 6:58) The crew visits a real cattle ranch to find some inspiration for the T-Rex family in the film.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD) A director Introduction (0:35) followed by three scenes: The Attack (2:29), Building the Silo (4:30), and Waiting for Poppa (3:05). Each scene begins with a director introduction.
  • Dino Bites (HD, 4:15) Several of the films characters have fun for the camera.
  • Hide and Seek (HD, 0:59) Arlo and Spot play hide-and-seek.
  • DVD copy of the film.
  • Disney Digital Copy.