After “Monsters University,” next summer’s wholly unnecessary prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” (which imagines our monstrous heroes scaring their way through college), Pixar will embark on a cluster of highly original films that bring to mind the combination of adventurous storytelling and outrageous concepts that gave us, in sequential years, “Ratatouille,” “WALL-E” and “Up,” with these new films tackling everything from imagined earths, the sparks of imagination, and the Mexican holiday of Dia De Los Muertos. The first of these films (and the only one so far with a title) is 2014’s “The Good Dinosaur,” directed by “Up” co-director Bob Peterson and Peter Sohn, who gave us the glorious Pixar short “Partly Cloudy” and was the voice of Emile in “Ratatouille.” Details have been few and far between, although it has been acknowledged that it takes place on an alternate earth where the meteor missed and dinosaurs have evolved alongside humans. But recently the LA Times sat down with the creative principles behind the movie and got a few more nuggets of information.
Peterson, Sohn, and the film’s producer, John Walker (who produced a little movie called “The Incredibles”), talked with the paper briefly with typical Pixar caginess about the upcoming film. “It’s time to do a movie where you get to know the dinosaur, what it’s really like to be a dinosaur and to be with a dinosaur,” Bob Peterson told the Times.
And how! The initial concept behind “The Good Dinosaur” was inspired by a trip Peterson took to the World’s Fair as a child. At the Fair, Peterson was dazzled by some animatronic dinosaurs. (Peterson was most likely gawking at the dinosaurs from Ford’s Magic Skyway exhibit from the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, which saw Fair visitors board real Ford Mustangs for an epic ride through time. The pavilion, the second most popular at the Fair, were created by none other than Walt Disney.)
While the creative principles are still hammering away at the story (the filmmakers wouldn’t even confirm that the film takes place in a world where dinosaurs coexist with man; it does), Sohn would say that, according to the Times, “they are toying with the idea of what dinosaurs represent today.” “The title is deceptively simple,” Sohn told the outlet. “It has more meaning than it seems.”
Like every other Pixar film, “The Good Dinosaur” has been an incredibly research-heavy affair, with the crew visiting natural history museums and examining fossils (while probably begrudging the “Ratatouille” crew, who got to go dick around Paris for a while). Peterson’s process while writing has been to have his laptop with him at all times, pulling over to type away.
“If there’s a bunch of dinosaurs in a Whole Foods parking lot in this movie, you’ll understand why,” Peterson joked. Although, if dinosaurs are brought up around man, that could actually be a viable plot point.
We’ll find out closer to the film’s release date of May 30, 2014.