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New 'Good Dinosaur' Concept Art Surfaces with Details on Changes

by
November 18, 2014
Source: LA Times

The Good Dinosaur

A month ago, almost exactly to the day, we learned that Peter Sohn had been named the new director of The Good Dinosaur after being part of the brain trust (along with John Lasseter, Lee Unnkrich and Mark Andrews) taking over direction of the film from Up helmer Bob Peterson. We've heard some overhauling and reimagining was taking place behind the scenes, and that explains why the film was pushed back to November 2015. Now a report from LA Times has Sohn discussing some of the changes being made, in addition to how difficult it was for Pixar to make the choice to push the movie in order to make it better.

But first, here's a new piece of concept are from Pixar Animation's The Good Dinosaur:

The Good Dinosaur

The good news is it sounds like that the changes to the film haven't resulted in a completely different movie, merely a better one. Sohn says, "The heart of the story remains the same. It's always been about this young dinosaur growing up. But the world itself has changed a lot. Nature has become a character." Does that mean nature is a character in the same sense that New York City is a character in cheesy romantic comedies set in The Big Apple? We're betting there's more to it than that, mostly because Sohn describes nature as being an antagonist in the film, which sounds rather provoking.

As for the decision to actually take Bob Peterson off the film, it was not easy for Pixar to make the change. Pixar'sĀ general manager and executive vice president of production Jim Morris says, "For Pixar it was a dramatic event. It was tough on the company. Most studios would have said, 'The movie's fine. It's not bad.' And it wasn't bad; it just wasn't great. We wanted to have a great movie." It speaks a lot to the character of Pixar as a company that they were willing to take the time to get their movie right, even if it meant swallowing their pride.

So what was it like for Sohn to take over the project? The director says: "When Bob was taken off, I was supporting the film as best I could. It felt like, this child, this film still needs to be raised. It was just about how to take care of the thing at that time. … Trying to keep the original vision of this film intact and trying to plus it as well." It turns out some of the raising has resulted in changes like the dinosaur characters no longer being modeled after Amish farmers (which sounds weird). However, the film still posits that an asteroid never hit the Earth and the dinosaurs never went extinct, and we follow aateenage Apatosaurus named Arlo who takes a wild, young human boy named Spot as his pet.

Pixar seems to be struggling a bit as of late, relying on the success of sequels like Cars 2, Monsters University and Toy Story 3 in recent years. And there's more on the way with The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3 in development, Finding Dory set for release in 2016, and Toy Story 4 just recently being announced. But the good news is that Pixar is still in the market for original films like Inside Out coming next summer, and hopefully now The Good Dinosaur is back on track to deliver more greatness from the studio that ushered in a new era of animation nearly 20 years ago with the first Toy Story. Thoughts?

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  • When I read that "nature becomes a character" I thought more in terms of the Millennium Falcon is a character in the Star Wars universe.
    • OfficialJab
      Really? Being about a dinosaur I thought of Fantasia immediately. The nature and settings were the most important thing in that short.
      • Yes really. Think about it: those romantic comedies don't need New York as their "character." The romance and comedy can happen independent of the city. Therefore, I don't see the city as a character as much as a landscape that is used. But, you can't think of Han Solo without thinking of the Falcon, and vice versa. The Falcon is an important part of the story line and plays a role that's significant. It even has personality: breaking down, won't jump to light speed, etc. When I think of this movie and the dinosaur, I think this: nature being a character, insomuch as what we know of dinosaurs in that time on earth, is important to that story like the Falcon is to Solo/Star Wars. If they are tying to two together in the same way Lucas first tied Solo to the Falcon, then it becomes much, much more that just a setting. It becomes something that lives, unlike those barfy romantic comedies in New York. Anyway, I digress...Seems like it'll be a cute movie.
        • OfficialJab
          I agree about the Falcon, I just meant 'really' about the first thing we each thought of.
  • DAVIDPD
    Oh boy...not looking too good for THE GOOD DINOSAUR. I will hold out a little hope, but this is not good to hear.
    • OfficialJab
      I hated the original shot they released, and this doesn't seem to have changed the dinosaur much. He doesn't really look like a Pixar character to me, more like one from a cheaper studio. Hearing about Pixar focusing more on nature is promising though.

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