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Two dinosaur movies coming out in the same year? Is it just me or do I sense a rise in popularity for dinosaurs on the horizon?
Anyway, this teaser marks our first good look at the film, which has been going through a bit of development hell and behind the scenes drama. The film has been in development since at least 2009, and it was supposed to be released in late 2013. That release date was eventually given to Frozen, and it was pushed back to Spring 2014. Then, it was pushed back all the way to November 2015!!! Details are sketchy, but apparently the original director had a hard time with his vision of the film and eventually he just had to back away from the project. Or he was told to get lost. Like I said, details are sketchy. However it went down, the entire film was basically restarted from scratch. And now finally, after so many delays, we get a good look at the visual aesthetic of this movie in motion.
The trailer starts in space, with the infamous asteroid that ended the reign of dinosaurs barreling towards an inaccurate depiction of Earth 65 million years ago (but I’m glad they at least changed the continents a bit and didn’t just copy and paste a modern earth in the sequence). And this is where we get our first look at the dinosaurs.
Oh, so it’s going to be that kind of movie.
Upright kangaroo hadrosaurs? Hump backed sauropods with swan necks? Do you know what this means?
Yes, we’re getting dinosaurs right out of Sinclair’s 1960’s World’s Fair Dinosaur models. Those gloriously retro and nostalgic yet nauseatingly inaccurate depictions will never go away will they (well, what was I expecting from a film being made by a bunch of middle aged toy collectors?).
Anyway, the trailer ponders the question of what would happen if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs didn’t hit the earth as we see the celestial object just fly by the planet harmlessly while only garnering the momentary attention of the grazing dinosaurs. We then cut into a few snipets of the film, at first seeing a shot of pterosaurs flying over a forest (is it just me or do I see a Nyctosaurus in that flock?) We then see something that really caught me off guard.
It’s a T. rex….running with bison.
You know what, this actually makes sense. I’ve heard theories that even if the asteroid didn’t hit the earth dinosaurs may have still gone extinct due to other factors (volcanoes and climate change being among those). However, it is just as likely that dinosaurs as a group would have survived those trying circumstances (much like they survived the end of the Triassic and end of the Jurassic mass extinctions) but many of the larger dinosaurs would have still been wiped out. This would lead to a world which both dinosaurs and mammals took over the open ecological niches and eventually a world where both large dinosaurs and mammals coexisted. This kind of world also leaves it open for humans to appear, since mammals could still take advantage of the trees and eventually produce primates and eventually humans. Wow, this movie is going in deeper than I thought!
Of course, this theory only holds true if large dinosaurs like sauropods and tyrannosaurs did go extinct in the climate change, and such dinosaurs seem to be main characters in the movie….
Nah, I don’t care. Still keeping with this theory.
Another thing to note is that the bison seen in this snipet don’t seem to be modern plains bison, but instead Bison latifrons, the Giant Bison or the Long Horned Bison, which lived during the Ice Age.
Well, that’s certainly interesting.
Here’s a look at some Tyrannosaurs from the film, and yeah, I think this pretty much gives away the whole visual aesthetic. Those of you looking for some realistic dinosaurs may want to continue your search somewhere else. Heck, the one on the right looks like a slightly more ferocious version of Barney! The dinosaurs from Ice Age 3 looked more realistic than this!
Wow, that actually isn’t an exaggeration.
But is it crazy that I’m totally fine with this cartoony look?
I’m sure a lot of people were hoping for a more realistic and accurate visual style, and I can certainly understand why. But a more realistic take holds the risk of your movie looking generic. This movie does have a unique style, and an animated film having it;s own distinct style is actually quite rare these days. ESPECIALLY in CGI. Heck, one of the major complaints of the 2000 Disney Dinosaur film was the fact that it looked so bland and generic.
Those unnatural uncanny valley human lips probably didn’t help matter either.
Here we get our first look at the main character Arlo, a young sauropod, and his baby human friend Spot. We’ve seen some promotional art work of these guys before so I knew the visual style in this film was not going to be on the realistic side.
Yet, despite the cartoonish look of the main characters, the backgrounds seem to evoke something else entirely. From what I could see in this trailer and the production art work I could find, the environment this movie takes place in is very different than the habitat movies usually have dinosaurs featured in. Most dinosaur films show the creatures inhabiting a jungle like environment, or perhaps a swampy habitat akin to Florida, or at least a savanna. In other words, very hot and usually humid ecosystems, and the beginning scene of the trailer set in prehistoric times reflects that. But the backdrop later looks very temperate, with pine trees and snow capped mountains and an overall very chilly feel. Heck, it almost looks like Alaska! I applaud the film makers choosing a different location to put their dinosaur characters in, as a tundra landscape is much more interesting than a generic jungle.
The backgrounds are also much more detailed than the dinosaurs. While the environment is very photo realistic, the characters are much more cartoony and stick out like a sore thumb. It kind of reminds me of…
So, what do I think of this first trailer. Personally, despite the childish designs, inaccurate dinosaur depictions, and messy behind the scenes drama, I’m really excited for this movie. I’m certainly going to keep an eye on it for the time being, and I eagerly await more footage to surface. And with the movie coming out only a few months later this year, I’m sure we’ll be getting more soon.