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  • Accidental Aesop: Recklessness will get you killed faster than fear, especially out in nature.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Considering the religion analogues to Thunderclap's characterization, it's not unreasonable to think that he's using his obsession with the storm as an excuse to hurt others.
    • There's another possible aspect to Thunderclap and his flock: They were fulfilling a very common and very important role in nature of opportunistic/ambush predators. It's VERY common practice for predators to follow in the wake of natural forces that stir up or weaken their prey; with starvation always looming, easy prey is something *every* predator hopes for. Eating a half-drowned small animal? A lucky day for a predator! Anything that's small enough to choke down or tear apart is fair game - and that includes Spot.
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    • However, the Moral Event Horizon gets crossed when they decided to try and murder Arlo, not because they wanted to eat him, but out of sheer spite and For the Evulz.
  • Award Snub: While nobody expected it to beat Inside Out for the Kids' Choice Awards, most people expected it to just be nominated. It wasn't.
  • Awesome Music: "Crystals" by Of Monsters and Men, featured in the trailer.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: When Arlo and Spot hallucinate after eating the rotten food. As hilarious as it is, the scene comes out of absolutely nowhere and lasts all of 30 seconds before the film moves on to something else.
  • Broken Base:
    • Arlo and the other dinosaurs' design. It either hits a sweet spot of making them stand out without going overboard and making them seem out of place, or is very jarring and too "cartoony" for a movie with such realistic environments.
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    • The movie itself. Even professional critics couldn't agree on whether it was a weak spot in Pixar's comeback phase or a confused, clichéd embarrassment to the studio and proof that Inside Out was a fluke. There is no in-between.
  • Dork Age: This film left fans wondering if Pixar was still in one and if the massive success of Inside Out was a fluke.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The Tyrannosaurus ranchers. Especially Butch, with the concept of a cowboy T. rex alone and the perfect casting of Sam Elliott, with some reviews have suggested he get his own spin-off. It helps that they are portrayed as heroes, a stark contrast to most animated dinosaur films putting T. rex or other large carnivores as the Big Bad.
  • Evil Is Cool: Thunderclap's flock and Bubbha's pack.
  • He Really Can Act: Steve Zahn, known for his many comedy roles, does a surprisingly chilling performance as the psychotic pterodactyl Thunderclap.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The US trailer featured a four-legged snake. 2 days later after its release, Tetrapodophis was discovered.
  • Narm: The sheer amount of physical punishment Arlo goes through can get hard to take seriously after a while.
  • Never Live It Down: Has the unfortunate distinction of being Pixar's first true financial flop, a distinction not even the critically-lambasted Cars 2 had gained.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Forrest Woodbrush only appears once in the movie and just gets Spot named, but damn, if he isn't one of the most memorable characters in it...
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: Things are rather quiet until Arlo and Spot start to bond.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The closest viewers can come to a middle ground (see Broken Base above). Few would call this an awful movie, and it definitely has Pixar's trademark charm and visuals, but it also has a very simplistic and familiar "coming of age on our own" plot and a disjointed story resulting from its infamous Troubled Production.
  • Special Effects Failure: One of the main criticisms of the film is that the graphically exaggerated dinosaur designs clash with the near photorealistic environments.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Many of the characters in the film's meager cast only appear for a minute or two at the most (such as the raptor rustlers, Arlo's siblings, and Forrest Woodbrush), and don't get much development outside of their basic traits.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Pixar is known for taking wacky, unconventional plots and making great stories out of them, but many found The Good Dinosaur to be too much of a Cliché Storm despite its interesting premise. Little to nothing is done with the concept of dinosaurs never going extinct, and removing the opening scene where the asteroid misses and setting it before the extinction or changing the characters to other, non-extinct animals would barely affect the story.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Due to its release being pushed to 2015, the film had to follow the massively successful and popular Inside Out a mere five months later. To make matters worse, The Good Dinosaur had a rather simple and familiar story while Inside Out was praised for its distinctive plot and characters. Needless to say, it didn't stand a chance. In addition to Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur's concept meant it had to also live up to both The Land Before Time and Dinosaur.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The CGI on the environments is so realistic it's confused a number of people into thinking the backgrounds were live action with animated characters pasted on it, like Dinosaur.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Pixar attempted to do this by taking a year off to overhaul all of the story's problems in an effort to end their Dork Age once and for all, and while it was a smart move, the still-unpolished end result got caught in the undertow of a handful of other movies, including Pixar's hugely successful Inside Out.
  • The Woobie:
    • Arlo gets put through a ton of crap in the movie. It starts with him losing his father and it only goes downhill from there. Luckily, he gets better.
    • The rest of Arlo's family, particularly Ida, are quite pitiable due to how their farm kinda went downhill when Henry kicked the bucket.
    • Spot reveals himself as this when he shows he's an orphan.
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