Pixar has been doing what it does for two decades now, and what it does is put out some of the best animated movies, well, ever.

Pixar has been doing what it does for two decades now, and what it does is put out some of the best animated movies, well, ever.

Earlier this year, it released "Inside Out," a movie that fits squarely in the top tier of the studio's offerings. So, you know, no pressure, "The Good Dinosaur."

It's only fair to compare Pixar's latest to the rest of its slate. Against other comparisons, it might not be as disappointing, but while the technical mastery is there, the heart is not.

"The Good Dinosaur" imagines a world where that meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs took a slight detour and missed Earth. Some millions of years later, a family of Apatosauruses live an agrarian life. The youngest of three dino triplets is Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa).

When an accident leaves Arlo miles from his home, he must find a bravery that he's been lacking. He gets some help from a wild human he names Spot (Jack Bright).

"Dinosaur" establishes a scientific alternate reality to allow humans and dinosaurs to exist at the same time, but it also takes a twist on expectations. It plays out a classic boy-and-his-dog tale, only the dinosaur is the boy and the human is the dog.

This works to good effect - although if you have an already rambunctious kid, you might want to be prepared for him to growl and howl like Spot.

The other unexpected twist taken here is that this is essentially a Western, and that's where sometimes things feel a bit forced. I'll grant you a dinosaur with a human buddy, but I'm confused by a group of T-Rex ranchers yelling "giddyup" when herding buffalo because, um, they aren't riding anything?

The upside of that Wild West setting is some legitimately breathtaking scenery. It borders on true photorealism, and it's easy to get lost in.

Peter Sohn - a Pixar vet making his feature directing debut - takes Arlo and Spot through a series of perils in an almost mechanical fashion. All the heart that makes the best Pixar films tick feels missing here. Pixar can make kids' movies that make adults blubber (just think of that first scene in "Up"), but this one feels like a shiny babysitter.

Admittedly, I had high hopes for this Pixar original, especially since four of their next five announced movies are sequels. Lower your expectations and you may be pleasantly surprised.