The Good Dinosaur
The Good Dinosaur was a beautifully rendered animation with gorgeous, picturesque landscapes and amazing details. The story itself was a simple, straightforward The Land Before Time meets The Lion King sensibility that despite its subtle darkness, still lacked the depth and lofty ideas of past Pixar entries. Nonetheless, it stills pack an emotional punch aided by Mychael and Jeff Danna's grogeous score.
I think Pixar had a wonderful concept initially: What if the meteor that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs didn't really hit Earth. That is a brilliant sci-fi concept and animation would have been able to carry it off beautifully (think: Avatar). And some seeds of that idea could be seen in the final film, however, what was more obvious was that the final product was clearly a different story from that.
The anthropomorphism of the dinosaurs went a bit too far - but just roll with it since it is an additional million years of evolution - and the de-anthropomorphism of the human boy was just weird, unless it was a dark, dark subtext. But the relationship between the two lead characters worked, although the most powerful scenes were the wordless ones which then led me to wonder if The Good Dinosaur would have done better if it followed in the footsteps of Wall-E and go sans dialogue. We know Pixar is capable of that.
And when the dialogue fell to the side, you can really appreciate the gorgeous beauty of the film. Just based on that alone, I think the 3D version of this movie would have been stunning.
The music by Mychael and Jeff Danna definitely helped too. They had created a beautiful theme to celebrate friendship and love. A more emotionally stirring score than Giacchino's work on Inside Out
This was a simple story. No lofty ideas and grand, complex themes. And because it lacked originality, Pixar should have embraced the sappiness and gone all in for the heart and perhaps even lose their initial conceit.