D23 Expo 2015: ‘The Good Dinosaur’ Brings Prehistoric Tears
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The first Pixar film to be presented at Disney’s D23 Expo on Friday during the studio’s portion of the animation panel was The Good Dinosaur. Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy) makes his feature directing debut on Pixar’s first prehistoric film about Arlo, an apatosaurus who becomes separated from his family, and sets off on a journey that will make him grow stronger physically and as a dinosaur.

In The Good Dinosaur, our lead character Arlo is not as strong as his dinosaur siblings, drawing his strength from his father. Unfortunately, his father passes on, and we learn that Arlo eventually becomes separated from his family. The clip that was shown reveals the treacherous waters that nearly drown him. Luckily, he is able to be washed ashore, where he eventually comes across a human named Spot.

Sohn explained how the relationship between the two is a play on a boy and his dog, but instead of the human being as the owner of a pet dinosaur, Arlo owns the human.

In the next clip we see Arlo sharing a moment with Spot, something he used to do with his father. With a light swing of his tail, Arlo reveals a cluster of lighting bugs that light the night sky. Spot, clearly fascinated by this, captures one of them, and Arlo is impressed. But then it gets to the hard-hitting emotional moments with Arlo trying to explain what family is by sticking sticks into the sand, and drawing a circle around them. He then explains how he misses them. Thinking that Spot doesn’t understand, Arlo looks away. That is, until Spot does the exact same thing, but he gently knocks over the sticks, and proceeds to bury them, signifying that they had died. Arlo, seeing that he understands, does the same thing for the stick representing their father, and together, in their families’ memory, they howl to the moon.

“Arlo and Spot journey through a world that has been greatly inspired by the American Northwest,” said Sohn. “It is epic in scope, soul-enriching and simultaneously beautiful and treacherous. In this world, we meet up with a very special family of T-Rexes, who help Arlo find a way through his personal fears and ultimately teach Arlo what he’s truly made of.”

A third clip showed us that Arlo then joins a family of of T-Rexes, Butch, the father T-Rex Sam Elliott; Ramsey, Butch’s daughter voiced by Anna Paquin; and Nash, Butch’s son, voiced by AJ Buckley with a charming drawl. In the footage, we see Arlo learns the art of hunting from Butch, who will have to attempt to draw out some very well hidden dinosaurs hiding amongst the grass.

While the dinosaurs and humans provide a lively character aspect, it is nature itself that is a huge draw for the film. Using new technology to design the life-like realism of North America, The Good Dinosaur is expected to be one of Pixar’s best, despite having gone through some production problems in the past. Pixar will release the film November 25, 2015.

“The Good Dinosaur” asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

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