Inside Out by Pixar, scheduled for release in June 2015 promises to be a delight for the senses. Originally announced at the D30 Expo in December 2011, the project has been a long-time in the making. An innovative concept, the main action occurs inside the mind of a young girl as her life is subjected to dramatic changes.
While her body goes through the physical motions of her life’s events, the actual drama takes place on the inside. The emotions she experiences take on the roles of characters that direct her every move and feeling. Inside Out is Pixar’s second production to feature a female as a main character.
An unusual departure for Pixar, Inside Out promises to be a delightful experience. The movie is more of a psychological journey. The story is enacted within the psyche of 11-year-old Riley. The film is about the abstractions of the mind, rather than the physical brain. Emotions and the power they wield are portrayed as forceful caricatures.
On Monday, December 8, Pixar finally revealed the closely guarded secrets about Inside Out, their 15th production. Produced by Jonas Rivera and directed by Pete Docter, Michael Giacchino is composing the music; his second collaboration with Docter after Up. Ronaldo Del Carmen (Brave and Monsters University) co-directs. The screenplay is by Oscar winner Michael Arndt and Pete Docter.
A star-studded line-up performs the different characters as emotions. Amy Pohler voices “Joy” Riley’s primary and most important emotion. “Fear” is portrayed by Bill Hader, “Sadness” by Phyllis Smith, “Anger” by Lewis Black, and “Disgust” by Mindy Kaling. Each emotion that contributes to Riley’s consciousness will reflect its voice-acting counterparts. In characteristic Pixar style, the visual characters in Inside Out are sure to be colorful and heart-warming.
Pete Docter has always been preoccupied with the workings of the human mind. What people think, what drives them to do and act; these human quirks have always fascinated him. He is intrigued in particular by how certain emotions get a grip on the psyche and will not let go. He is driven to find the root causes and explain them.
He demonstrates how the emotions of his little protagonist are the characters, her mind is the stage, and how she is controlled by them. It is an ingenious device that exhibits everyday life occurrences in new ways.
Docter says Inside Out has been one of his biggest challenges as it has to depict the inner and outer workings of the action simultaneously. It embodies abstract emotions as physical characters by giving them solid shapes and energetic movements. They all compete to control Riley from their “Headquarters” inside her mind.
Uprooted from her familiar life in the Midwest, Riley is forced to move across the country when her father takes up a new job in San Francisco. Like all young children, she hates change and also like most, she lives more in her mind than outside of it.
Her inner companions send Riley into turmoil as both she and they struggle to cope with her new life in a strange city, new house and the intimidating challenges of a new school. “Joy,” Riley’s prime emotion, while attempting to keep a positive outlook, is in constant conflict with the others. They conspire, cooperate, fight, confuse and flounder sending her into emotional states that baffle her parents.
Docter’s inspiration came from experiencing his daughter Ellie’s entry into adolescence. He was moved by her changing from a joyful child to a withdrawn teenager. Ultimately it became a film stemming from his reflections and perspectives as a parent and adult; his own experiences of childhood and change in general. From being a film about his daughter, it became more a film about himself in relation to and his understanding of his daughter. Hence the story is told from the parents’ viewpoint.
The team researched relevant scientific theories on mind, memory and emotions. They consulted psychologists and based their film on solid premises. The film conveys these complex ideas in simple layman’s terms, and is more poetically than scientifically designed.
2014 did not see a film from Pixar. They will make amends by releasing two movies next year. The Good Dinosaur is their second, which releases in November of 2015.
Pixar’s Inside Out is an intricate insight into the workings of young minds that promises a delightful experience for its fans. It explores the coping mechanisms they use to deal with the disturbing process of growing up. It will be accompanied by a short film Lava.
By Bina Joseph
Photo by Tom Arthur – Flickr License