Friday, June 12, 2015

Meet The Dinos: Revised 'Good Dinosaur' Cast Revealed

The new and revised cast for The Good Dinosaur has been revealed today!

Of course, many an animation fan and blogger knows what The Good Dinosaur went through over the past few years. Before its director change and rewrite in the summer of 2013, it had a full cast, one of the actors attached was John Lithgow (no stranger to animation, for he voiced Michael Eisner, I mean, Lord Farquaad in Shrek) and he said in an interview long after the director change that he was still set to voice the father apatosaur...

That is not so anymore. In fact, a good number of the cast isn't back...

The original cast looked like this...

Lucas Neff = Arlo
John Litghow = Poppa
Frances McDormand = Momma
Neil Patrick Harris = Arlo's brother Cliff
Judy Greer = Ivy, Arlo's sister
Bill Hader = Forest, Arlo's oldest brother

So... The new cast...

Raymond Ochoa (he's been in episodes of shows like 10 Items or Less and Hank) is the new voice of the teenaged protagonist Arlo, and it's a suitable choice since he's a teenager himself. Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Boardwalk Empire) is voicing Arlo's father, Frances McDormand (Almost Famous, Raising Arizona, and DuBois in Madagascar 3) is still voicing the mother. She's the only one who has come back. Arlo only has one sibling now, a character named Buck, who will be voiced by teen actor Marcus Scribner (Black-ish).

I guess the dinosaurs being Amish-like farmers wasn't the only thing that went with Bob Peterson's take on the film. I guess they whittled down the amount of siblings because maybe there were too many characters? Or does the new story reduce the roles of the siblings? I don't know, we shall see...

As for the other faces outside of the apatosaurus family...

Steve Zahn will voice the pterodactyl, Thunderclap, whom we briefly see in the teaser. The trio of T-rexes we saw in those leaked images (two of which were in the teaser) are named Nash, Ramsey, and Butch. They'll be voiced by AJ Buckley (CSI: NYDisturbing Behavior), Anna Paquin (Rogue in the X-Men films, also the voice of the protagonist in the English dub of Steamboy), and Sam Elliott (needs no introduction!) respectively. The kid that Arlo befriends, Spot, will be voiced by child actor Jack Bright, who also did one of the kids' voices in Monsters University. Reports have said the character won't speak, so I assume the kid will make noises and such.

That's a pretty strong cast overall! A nice mix of bigger names, smaller names, and some I'm not too, too familiar with.

It's a bit strange considering that Lithgow said he was still set to voice Poppa, and that was after the director change and everything, and he made note of the "re-imagining" of the film's storyline. I wonder why all the actors for the characters that remained went? Was the story that radically reimagined? All we pretty much knew about the pre-Sohn version was that the meteor missed Earth, Arlo's from an Amish-like family of farmer apatosaurs, something awful happens and gets Arlo separated from his family, and then he meets a human being - bugs that are "pests" to the farmers...

Beyond that, we of course knew little else. The changes we've seen so far are significant, such as Arlo not coming from an Amish-like family and Spot the human being more like a wild animal than a typical caveman. Then of course, there's nature being more of an antagonist. The T-rexes seem like a threat, but we'll see what kind of role they'll play in the story. I'm reckoning they'll be like the anglerfish or seagulls from Finding Nemo, animals that are just hungry, not diabolical. I wonder if the T-rex trio, Thunderclap, and the raptors were in Peterson's version. If they were, I'd assume they were significantly different.

It seems like they kept a good chunk of the first act stuff and some of Peterson's main ideas, so I'm thinking everything else will be pretty different. A sort of Ratatouille-like overhaul, where a ton of things were changed. The finished film, directed by genius Brad Bird, still keeps some of the original creator's ideas and characters but from my understanding the main story was very much unlike the earlier version. On the other hand, something like Brave still highly resembled what its original director set out to make, but was structured differently by the replacement director with some changes here and there, but with the main story kept.

Nothing new for animated films, though. This happens a lot, whole films are re-imagined time and time again. Disney Animation themselves have an arm's-long list!: Classics like Pinocchio, The Rescuers, The Black Cauldron, Beauty and the BeastAladdin, The Lion King, The Emperor's New Groove and newer films like Bolt, TangledWreck-It Ralph, and Frozen!

Also, another tidbit I happened to miss... Thomas Newman, who scored Finding Nemo and WALL-E, is not going to be scoring this film. Who is his replacement? Not Michael Giacchino. Not Randy Newman.

Mychael Danna, of Life of Pi fame!

For a good while I was hoping that Pixar would venture outside the Randy-Thomas-Giacchino circle for their future films. Patrick Doyle did the score for Brave, and I was hoping that they would branch out more, so I'm very happy to hear that this will be Danna's first Pixar score. If you've seen Life of Pi, you'll know he's a great choice! Thomas Newman certainly would've knocked it out of the park, but hooray for Danna! Hopefully Thomas returns to score Finding Dory.

Now, let's see Pixar get Alexandre Desplat, Hans Zimmer, Marks Mothersbaugh, John Powell (who was, at one point, supposed to score this film), Alan Silvestri, and several others into the mix one day...

Anyways, what's your take on the new cast and absence of Arlo's other siblings? What do you think of Mychael Danna scoring the film? Sound off below!

1 comment:

  1. It's a shame that they recast most of the characters and got rid of the two extra siblings, but I guess that they didn't have the time to develop them. It's going to be interesting to see if casting Ochoa will make Arlo sound like a more convincing Teenager.