Disney/Pixar’s latest critical and commercial success, Inside Out will be released on Blu-ray this upcoming November, just a few weeks before the studios’ The Good Dinosaur opens in theaters. The latter project was, at one point, set to reach theaters in 2014, but was pushed back when Peter Sohn – storyboard artist on Ratatouille and Up and director of the Pixar short “Partly Cloudy” – heavily revised the project, after he took over as the film’s director from Bob Peterson (co-writer of Finding Nemo and Up).
Good Dinosaur takes place on an alternate version of Earth, where the dinosaurs never went extinct and continue to roam the planet. Story-wise, the movie centers around young Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa), an Apatosaurus who is accidentally separated from his family and must travel across a “harsh and mysterious landscape” – as the film’s synopsis puts it – to get home. Along the way, though, Arlo finds allies of both the dinosaur and non-dinosaur kind, as revealed in the latest Good Dinosaur trailer.
Ochoa’s Arlo spoke in the film’s previously-released U.S. trailer, but a new Good Dinosaur international preview (see above ) also includes voice work by other cast members. To be exact, we hear Jeffrey Wright (Boardwalk Empire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 & 2) as Poppa, Arlo’s father, along with Sam Elliott (Justified, Grandma) as the “tough T-Rex named Butch,” whose scarred exterior is a reflection of his age and experience. Presumably, the two T-Rexes seen alongside Butch and Arlo here are Nash and Ramsey, the characters in the movie voiced by A.J. Buckley (CSI: NY) and Anna Paquin (True Blood), respectively.
Spot (Jack Bright), the human who becomes Arlo’s companion/ “pet” in The Good Dinosaur, is once again featured heavily in both the film’s latest trailer and its newly-released UK poster (see below). The relationship between the two characters serves as the “heart” of the Good Dinosaur narrative – and by the look of it, the Arlo/Spot dynamic in the film should provide its fair share of pathos and humor alike. Other Good Dinosaur characters who have smaller, yet all the same key roles in the adventure plot include Arlo’s brother, Buck (Marcus Scribner), and Arlo’s mother, Momma (Frances McDormand), alike.
Several people have already noted while Arlo and his fellow dinosaurs were animated with the same attention to detail and texture as their surroundings, the dinosaurs from Good Dinosaur have distinctly softer features and qualities (read: they appear more cartoonish) than their surroundings. Sohn has indicated there is a creative purpose behind the choice, though, as he’s said that in the movie’s story – crafted by Peterson and “La Luna” writer/director Enrico Casarosa – nature in the antagonist; one that can vary from threatening to beautiful at any moment, as evidenced by the film’s trailers alone. Hence, Spot, Arlo and the other dinos are presented in a gentler light, to contrast more with mother nature in the story.
That being said, The Good Dinosaur – on the surface – doesn’t appear to be as creatively ambitious a Pixar undertaking as Inside Out, and the film’s mid-stream change of directors could wind up being evident in the final movie result. Still, even if Good Dinosaur doesn’t prove to be one of Disney/Pixar’s more ground-breaking efforts, it thus far has the makings of yet another success for the two studios.
The Good Dinosaur opens in U.S. theaters on November 25th, 2015.