The Good Dinosaur 4

Inspirations and Influences

In a Q&A following the presentation, Sohn spoke a bit about some of the other films that have influenced The Good Dinosaur. The key word there being some. “I could name you a thousand movies, literally, because five years is a lot of time to watch movies,” he said.

But within the limited timeframe, he told us he’d looked at “boy and his dog” movies and “old frontier” films. Specific titles cited were Carroll Ballard‘s The Black Stallion, Steven Spielberg‘s E.T., and the classic Disney tearjerker Old Yeller — plus the films of Hayao Miyazaki for “their taste of tone and breadth.”

Elsewhere in the presentation, he named the works of David Lean and John Ford as inspirations for some of the wide-open natural settings, which depict “a world that can make even a dinosaur feel small.”

Meanwhile, when it came time to craft the dinosaurs, they supplemented their research of real-life dinos with creative inspiration from filmmaker and special effects icon Ray Harryhausen and, of course, Jurassic Park.

And while they aren’t a direct influence on The Good Dinosaur, Sohn spoke of being inspired as a child by Disney animated films like Dumbo. Thanks to their strong visual and emotional components, they were among the few English-language film his Korean-speaking mother could properly comprehend.

Presumably she’ll have no trouble with The Good Dinosaur, either, because Sohn told us the film doesn’t have a lot of dialogue. He pushed instead for a “visually driven” approach.

The Good Dinosaur

Footage Recap

Along with the asteroid bit shown in the trailer, Sohn shared two new clips with us.

Clip #1: Arlo in the river

This is the pivotal moment that sets Arlo on his journey. He falls into a rapidly flowing river and begins to panic, screaming for his mother as he keeps bobbing in and out of the water. Eventually, he hits his head on a rock.

Clip #2: Arlo and Spot bond

The longer clip has Arlo and Spot getting ready to settle down for the evening. They have some fun chasing fireflies, but it’s a bittersweet moment for Arlo because it reminds him of chasing fireflies with his late dad.

He tries to talk to Spot about his feelings of missing his family. At first Spot doesn’t understand, but Arlo erects a little stick family in the sand to represent his own family and Spot does the same.

Through these visual aids, Spot reveals that his parents have died, just as Arlo’s dad has died. The pair bond wordlessly over losing their parents, and Spot comes over to snuggle with Arlo.

It’s a short scene, less than 5 minutes, but it looked like Pixar doing what it does best: hitting me right in the feels. I’ll admit to tearing up a bit here. If the rest of the movie is half as sweet and moving as this scene we can count The Good Dinosaur as another win for Pixar.

The Good Dinosaur opens November 25.

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