With all the horn-blowing I have been doing for Inside Out, it sometimes slips my mind that we’re actually due for a second Disney / Pixar film in 2015 with The Good Dinosaur being released in late November, marking the first time we get two Pixar features in the same year. So far, we’ve been treated to mere descriptions of the film, and it has been plagued with pretty serious problems during production which I will not go into here, but I am sure you can seek them out if you want to. Anyway, earlier today the first teaser trailer was released. We obviously don’t get too much to go on here, but the idea has interested me since I heard about it, so it is good to get a first look.
The pitch that has been making the rounds is that The Good Dinosaur will show a world where the asteroid which led to the extinction of the dinosaurs (those which didn’t become birds, anyway) narrowly misses the Earth instead. This is essentially what we get to see in the teaser – and it is a moment that is actually played for a bit of comedy, which was surprising to me. The dinosaurs we see react to the passing of the asteroid look fairly realistic. This is in contrast to our main character, Arlo the Apatosaurus, who has a distinctly cartoonish aesthetic to him. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I must admit that the contrast was a little jarring. It is my understanding that Arlo exists in a time period many years after the asteroid, sufficient to develop the ability to speak, and also to allow for the evolution of early humans. So, maybe in the interim the dinosaurs end up looking less realistic.
As a teaser, we get practically nothing of the story, but the basic plot details have been provided from other materials. Essentially, Arlo is set out on a journey and meets a human boy that he befriends along the way. The plot then plays out like your standard “A Boy and his Dog” story, except with the roles reversed: Arlo is the articulate character, and the boy merely snarls and barks. This could be worthwhile idea if executed correctly, but could definitely flub without the proper tone. Pixar is rarely guilty of missing on its original story ideas, but we’ve definitely gotten stories that tend towards the “meh” range of the spectrum, and from this first look and some of the behind-the-scenes action on The Good Dinosaur, I am afraid we may be heading in that direction. Pixar films generally get played very close to the chest, so we may have to wait a long time to see a more in-depth preview, but until that time I will remain a little hesitant towards this one.