Paleontologists are ruining dinosaurs for us. They keep making new discoveries which completely change what we thought we knew about dinosaurs. The biggest and the baddest carnivore was the T-Rex, right? Nope. Shortly after the first Jurassic Park came out, an amateur paleontologist discovered something even bigger, appropriately calling it Giganotosaurus. 11 years later, Gigantosaurus was dethroned by the Spinosaurus, a dinosaur we’d known about since 1915, but the only specimen was destroyed during WWII. A newly discovered Spinosaurus skull in 2006 revealed the beast “was probably considerably longer, and hence perhaps heavier, than T. rex and other large theropods.” By late last year, paleontologists decided the Spinosaurus was still ginormous but not at all as we had imagined it. In fact, it might have been the first semi-aquatic dinosaur. “I think that we have to face the fact that the Jurassic Park folks have to go back to the drawing board on Spinosaurus,” co-author and University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno said in reference to Jurassic Park III. “It was not a balancing, two-legged animal on land. It would have been something very peculiar.”
Don’t even get me started on the feathers thing. In popular culture, dinosaurs have always been depicted as giant lizards. However, as of last summer scientists at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences were blowing minds with a discovery that all dinosaurs could have had feathers. As The Washington Post summarized, “Scientists previously believed that only avian dinosaurs — that is, the direct ancestors of our modern birds — sported feathers along with their scales. But the discovery of fossilized feathers on a newly identified dinosaur far removed from the bird lineage means that feathers likely were more widespread in the dinosaur world.”
Of the feathered dinosaurs, Kirk Johnson, a paleontologist for The Smithsonian, told The Washington Post, “Oh boy. They look so ugly. It’s really ruined the whole dinosaur thing. They looked pretty cool but now it’s like, ‘really, that’s what dinosaurs look like? Some sort of weird punk rocker.’ It’s pretty awful.”
Try to forget all of that, though, when you watch Pixar’s new trailer for The Good Dinosaur, which looks kind of like a Land Before Time character hanging out with one of the kids from The Croods and prancing around in gorgeous, at-times photo-realistic environments. No, seriously, that’s about all this trailer wants to give up at this point, offering little hint of a story or indication as to whether there will be any dialogue in this movie. Good for them. Just hook us on the visuals at this point along with the general reminder that after Jurassic World dinosaurs seems so cool right now, minus feathers of course:
There will be dialogue, unless they’re playing a really long con by announcing a voice cast consisting of Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn, A.J. Buckley, Anna Paquin, Sam Elliott, Frances McDormand, Marcus Scribner, and Jack Brigh. If you really know your production history trivia, though, you’ll note that at one point the cast was supposed to include Bill Hader, Judy Greer, John Lithgow and Neil Patrick Harris. You might also remember that The Good Dinosaur is the movie the cost 67 Pixar employees their jobs. The original director, Bob Peterson, was taken off the project, and the release date was pushed back from May 30, 2014 to November 25, 2015, leaving Pixar with no new movie to put out in 2014. So, Pixar had to lay some people off, and the big wigs completely reworked The Good Dinosaur and dropped everyone from the cast other than Frances McDormand. Peter Sohn is now the credited director.
That all sounds bad, making this seem like Pixar’s version of Ant-Man. However, animated movies go through radical changes like this a lot, such as the version of Finding Nemo with William H. Macy as the dad and Woody being a total d-bag in the original treatment for Toy Story. That being said, while The Good Dinosaur looks enjoyable it has the feel of one of Pixar’s slighter efforts.
Here’s the official logline:
“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.
This is incidentally, Pixar’s last non-sequel for the foreseeable future. It is due out November 25, 2015. What do you think?