Jurassic World (a fresh installment in the Jurassic Park movie franchise) is storming into theaters this weekend, at the time of writing this. However, it's not the only prospective blockbuster centering on dinosaurs set for release in 2015.
The upcoming The Good Dinosaur marks the second Disney/Pixar animated feature film arriving this year, following next week's release, Inside Out. The former - which centers on a anthropomorphic dinosaur named Arlo and his animalistic pet human - has evolved quite a bit during the development process (namely, it changed directors part-way through), but the film's marketing campaign is officially in full swing, with the recent release of the first teaser trailer.
Today, Disney and Pixar released full voice cast details for The Good Dinosaur, and there's more than a few surprises in store for those who have been following the project for a while. Namely, Lucas Neff, John Lithgow, Neil Patrick Harris, Bill Hader and Judy Greer - who were all once reportedly working on the film - are nowhere to be found. Here's the cast listing, according to a press release:
· RAYMOND OCHOA (NBC’s “The Night Shift,” TNT’s "Rizzoli & Isles," "Disney’s A Christmas Carol") provides the voice of an Apatosaurus named Arlo.
· JEFFREY WRIGHT ("The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" - parts I & II, HBO's "Boardwalk Empire") was tapped as the voice of Poppa, Arlo’s father.
· STEVE ZAHN (“Captain Fantastic,” “Ridiculous Six,” “Rescue Dawn,” “Mad Dogs”) provides the voice of a pterodactyl named Thunderclap.
· AJ BUCKLEY (TNT’s “Murder in the First,” FX’s “Justified”) voices a T-Rex called Nash.
· ANNA PAQUIN (HBO’s “True Blood”) is the voice of T-Rex Ramsey.
· SAM ELLIOTT (FX's "Justified," "I’ll See You In My Dreams," “Grandma”) was called on as the voice of a tough T-Rex named Butch.
· FRANCES MCDORMAND (HBO's "Olive Kitteridge," "Fargo") was tapped as the voice of Momma, Arlo’s mother.
· MARCUS SCRIBNER (ABC’s “black•ish”) voices Arlo's brother Buck.
· JACK BRIGHT (“Monsters University”) provides the voice of Arlo’s unlikely human friend, Spot.
The above certainly represent a solid assortment of accomplished actors and newcomers. In fact, most of them have significant voice acting experience, and Ochoa - who is apparently taking over the lead role from Neff - already worked on Monsters University with Pixar. Moreover, his casting may indicate that the character of Arlo has been made to be younger, which could be seen as an effort to make the film more palatable to small children.
In any case, The Good Dinosaur is shaping up to be another worthwhile (and original) animated movie by Pixar. The film was listed among our most-anticipated of 2015 for similar reasons, and with director Peter Sohn (a storyboard artist on several previously-released Pixar features) making his feature debut after helming the memorable Pixar short Partly Cloudy, The Good Dinosaur - and its high concept of a world where dinosaurs never became extinct - may turn out to be one of this year's standout family films.
The Good Dinosaur opens in U.S. theaters on November 25, 2015.
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