If The Good Dinosaur falls low in the rankings of the company's now 16 titles, it is still leagues finer than the flurry of frenetic colors and screwball pacing of the standard children's animated movie.
The Good Dinosaur is by no means a bad movie. But it breaks new ground for Pixar in that it's the studio's first feature that is explicitly-and pretty much exclusively-a kid's movie.
The digital landscapes are meant to be breathtakingly beautiful, but they tend to come across more like very expensive screensavers or immersive desktop wallpapers.
If The Good Dinosaur falls short in the narrative department, it represents a step forward for Pixar's artists.
OK, it's not pushing the boundaries of storytelling, but it certainly does the job.
The characters may look cartoony-and cloyingly cute-but they're wandering through what could be Thomas Hill paintings in panoramic widescreen.
As Pixar productions go, this one isn't a groundbreaker, but it's heartfelt and endearing, as well as visually splendiferous, and kids will love it for sure.
The resulting film is amiable, pretty, and charming in all the right ways -- even if it ultimately settles for a fairly typical tale of a late bloomer finding his way.
The intricately designed settings convey a Miyazaki-like reverence for the natural world, and the hero's longing for his family is affecting, never saccharine.