Pixar Animation is a creative powerhouse in Hollywood. They have consistently released imaginative stories told through mind-blowing high-tech animation techniques. Currently, Pixar is juggling three feature films and, as it turns out, that may be more than the creative forces behind Toy Story and Finding Nemo can handle.
Pixar is known for telling stories that step far outside the box. While their next movie does just that, it also goes deep inside. The film, Inside Out, is completely set inside the mind of Riley. Director Pete Docter (Up, the English translation of Howl’s Moving Castle) told attendees of the D23 Expo last August that the protagonist of Pixar’s next project was also going to be the setting.
Inside Out tells the tale of a little girl who gets uprooted from her Midwest life because her father gets a job in San Francisco. Besides Riley, the other characters are the emotions that live in her head. Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and the team leader Joy (Amy Poehler) all help Riley through the tough transition she faces. The Pixar Animation website explains that her emotions reside in Headquarters, which is the center of control in Riley’s mind. The move is not only rough on the little girl, but her emotions as well, and trouble begins at Headquarters. Even though Joy tries her best to keep things together, the various emotions are in disagreement on how best to help Riley maneuver her way through a new house, city and school.
Though the concept is a potential marketing headache for Disney, Docter has a way of making the seemingly impossible look quite probable. The premise of Up was not only absurd, but the protagonist was an old man. Not the usual kid movie, super hero, self-identifying and relateable type of character. Despite this, the film grossed $731 million. Monsters Inc. created an entire world based on a typical childhood fear. That, too, was a huge hit which garnered itself a sequel, Monsters University.
With the pushing back of the original release date for the troubled project The Good Dinosaur, 2014 is the first year since 2005 that Pixar has not released a movie. Inside Out will hit theaters on June 19, 2015 followed by The Good Dinosaur on November 25, 2015, which was originally slotted for the end of this month. The November date of release was initially set for Finding Dory, the highly anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo, directed by Andrew Stanton. That movie will not be seen until 2016, sometime in the summer.
The reason for all of this shuffling, according to Pixar Animation’s president, Ed Catmull, was to give The Good Dinosaur creators some more time to improve on the project. Bob Peterson was removed as the director. Plus, the studio states, there are still some creative decisions to make.
The Good Dinosaur is set on an Earth that was never hit by an asteroid, thereby causing humans and dinosaurs to coexist. Though a replacement for Peterson has not been named, Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3), Peter Sohn, Mark Andrews (Brave) and John Lasseter have all stepped in on different sections of the film to help oversee production.
New films like Inside Out, Finding Dory and The Good Dinosaur have $200 million budgets and hundreds of people on the crews. Stanton explains that, when there are multiple projects going on at the same time, that can put a major strain on the studio’s resources. The massive amount of labor required creates an economically unsustainable situation. Successfully juggling the three films may require Pixar to pull off impossible feats that can only be rendered through the magic of animation.
By Stacy Lamy