This summer, Pixar proved once again that they really know how to make an audience cry. Inside Out is an absolutely wonderful and emotional piece of work, and on multiple occasions invites movie-goers to just start bawling. Judging by the footage we saw earlier today, Peter Sohn’s The Good Dinosaur may wind up having a similar effect when it comes out later this year.
Given that it is the next big release from the San Francisco-based animation company, The Good Dinosaur was a natural fit for the animation presentation at today’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. And while the upcoming release didn’t bring any A-list voice stars along to promote the flick, it did bring some of the most touching footage. It was rough enough when it was explained by Sohn that the father of the movie’s main character, Arlo, is killed during the course of the story, but one of the scenes shown really drove the emotion home.
In setting up the clip, Sohn explained that Arlo has gotten stranded away from home after being stuck in a raging river, but winds up finding a companion for his way back in an early human he names Spot. These two characters can’t really relate on any kind of intellectual level - given that Arlo can talk and Spot can’t - but the scene showed that they still can understand each other.
The footage began with Arlo first playing with Spot and some fireflies in a field, but then sitting with the little guy at night. Arlo tries to explain that he’s missing home and wants to get back to his family, but gets frustrated that his new friend can’t really understand him. He decides to make a physical presentation of his family using the dirt and some nearby sticks, standing each one up in the dirt to represent his parents and his siblings. He completes this bit of art by tracing a circle around them.
Seemingly understanding what Arlo is trying to say, Spot decides to make a presentation of his own. He grabs two tall sticks, and one short stick and places them in the ground with a circle around them. Sadly, he doesn’t stop there, as he winds up knocking over the two taller sticks and then covering them in dirt. It’s clear that Spot’s family is gone. Sympathetic to the situation, Arlo grabs the stick that represents his recently-deceased father and slowly does the same things. After this, he begins to cry - but he’s comforted by Spot, who not only comes over to hug him, but also urge him to howl at the moon.
The Good Dinosaur ran into some troubles as it was making its way through development at Pixar, but given the company’s high reputation there’s hope that they’ve taken something potentially messy and made it something beautiful. The D23 Expo presentation made the movie look a bit simple plot-wise, but it could definitely wind up benefitting from delivering some emotional punches like the one shown in the footage.