The Good Dinosaur was first announced almost two years ago, at the 2011 D23 Expo. Before this year’s Expo, we heard next to nothing about the film, aside from how the story would revolve around a dinosaur and a boy. Flash forward to today at the Art and Imagination panel and we learned many more details and viewed some great footage and animation tests. After the break, read more on what we learned about Pixar’s 2014 film!
Pixar has done several “What If?” stories, as John Lasseter pointed out today – “What if toys came alive?,” “What if there really were monsters in our closets?,” etc. The Good Dinosaur story takes place 65 million years ago, where the asteroid that wiped out all the dinosaurs never hits Earth and therefore the animals never go extinct. Co-director Pete Sohn and Producer Denise Ream showed brief footage of an asteroid heading staright for Earth, only to miss the planet by a hair, as dinosaurs look on quietly (and humorously).
We viewed another scene, where dinosaurs are shown farming land. The character of Arlo, who is voiced by Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), is one of the protagonists. The other is a young boy named Spot, who is described as being unafraid of everything. Sohn described how the character of Arlo was fascinated by bugs, and one day discovered a type of bug he had never seen before. It is actually the boy, who is all alone. The dinosaurs have never seen a human before, so when this boy is discovered, the story takes off. The two go on an adventure through various climates. We were shown some gorgeous concept art, like the one above, that gave us a hint as to where their journey would take them.
Other members of the cast, members of Arlo’s family, were also announced:
- Poppa – John Lithghow
- Mama – Frances McDormand
- Forrest – Bill Hader
- Cliff – Neil Patrick Harris
- Ivy – Judy Greer
These actors join Neff to make up one spectacular voice cast. Greer, Hader, and Neff came onto the stage to discuss the characters’ familial relationship, which looks to be quite humorous. Look for their relationships to make up some of the comedy in the film.
The relationship between the dinosaur and the boy is what the plot will highlight, though. Sohn and Ream discussed how the two would form a bond on their journey. A fun animation test was shown where Spot attempts to catch a bug, but is unable to, only to have Arlo provide some advice that does not quite pan out. Even from those brief moments, it was clear that their relationship would be playful but would also make up the heart of the film.
While we saw several minutes of footage and tests, there is so much that we do not know, and that is by design. Pixar is secretive so that audiences do not know where the story will go. Where will this journey take the two characters? What are the perils that they will face? It appears that it will be a heartwarming film, with some great comedic moments. I cannot wait to see it next summer.
Look for The Good Dinosaur to arive in theaters on May 30, 2014!
UPDATE: Pixar has shared one of the concept art pieces from the presentation with us. Stunning!