Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dino Details

Pixar has spilt some details regarding The Good Dinosaur...

For those who are unaware, the prehistoric pic was set to be this year's Pixar film. In summer 2013, it ran into problems. The film's director Bob Peterson was replaced by Pete Sohn, his co-director at the time. Pixar then pushed the film back to Thanksgiving 2015, leaving this year without a feature-length Pixar film. We got hints about the film's post-Peterson story, hints that said it was completely rewritten and re-imagined.

The LA Times mentions that, "Pixar's leadership, including studio president Ed Catmull, felt Peterson was creatively stuck on the film and was proving too slow to make important story decisions." Nothing new in animation, especially at Pixar, though the skeptics assume that this will be a Brave situation... Because apparently they saw a work-in-progress version of the film before the director swit- okay moving on...

What has changed? All the article tells us is that the story has been streamlined, the dinosaurs are no longer Amish-like farmers (a cool element that I'll miss), and also Spot is now Arlo's "pet" rather than buddy. In the early concept art, Spot was walking on two legs, but here he's very dog-like. It matches up perfectly with that piece of concept art that was in the video with Pete Sohn. So we might get a very unique twist on the usual "person and his/her pet" story, eh? See, now that sounds fresh - the original storyline really didn't. It was simply the tale of a dinosaur discovering a human and befriending it, going on a journey. We've had a few of these "person and pet/non-human" stories recently, like How To Train Your Dragon and Big Hero 6, and animation's had them for ages: The Rescuers Down Under and The Iron Giant, anyone? This is Pixar going back to out-of-the-box thinking, I think. I like this change in particular.

Lastly, nature will be an "antagonist" in the film. That's refreshing to hear, and Pixar doesn't always tell us stories where there's a clear-cut bad guy anyway.

So nature being the main obstacle? You know what this is like? Finding Nemo! Nobody is evil in Finding Nemo, Marlin and Dory go up against obstacles rather than traditional bad guys, and yet I see people refer to the dentist and Darla and Bruce and the barracuda as evil. Finding Nemo, to me, is like Pixar's version of Bambi. No scheming bad guys there, we don't see or hear from "Man" other than their guns. Are they hunting for venison? Or are they doing it for the sport? Those who sport-hunt normally aren't trying to be diabolical ("Yeah! Let's kill those animals! Muwhahahaha!") unless maybe they're Ted Nugent, though the ethics of sport-hunting is a debate for another day. This is a reason why I love Bambi so much: No preaching, no "Man is evil" rubbish, "Man" is simply something scary that animals know little about. They just know one thing, "Run!" Sometimes "Man" isn't the only threat to the animals in the film's forest setting. *cough*bad winter weather*cough*

Anyways, it's good to know that the film will explore those themes. I'm also guessing that the film's story was too complex and overstuffed, hence the "streamline" comment. Less is more they say, plus this is nothing new in animation or all film in general. Look at how many concepts and ideas got left out of several Disney and Pixar films from the past.

Sohn is also getting some help from the likes of art director Harley Jessup and long-time Pixar lightning/director of photography veteran Sharon Calahan, so he's got good company there. The article also confirms that Sohn was named director in the summer of 2013, so he ascended to the throne right after Peterson was taken off of it. Peterson is still at Pixar, working on Inside Out and Finding Dory. Will he be able to take a crack at directing again? Who knows, it's still sad that he didn't get to direct this film though, since it was a very personal project for him.

So now it seems like Pixar is very confident in the picture and I hope it's great! Inside Out and this being as good as Pixar's best will make 2015 a truly special year for animation!

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