Set for release in theaters in exactly one year, DisneyPixar’s Inside Out celebrated with a special event tonight at the Director’s Guild of America in Hollywood, California. ComingSoon.net was there, so read on to hear what we thought of the newly-revealed footage! You can also check out the new logo, the following official synopsis and the stylish poster art for the studio’s new short film, “Lava,” set to hit theaters with Inside Out on June 19, 2015.
From an adventurous balloon ride above the clouds to a monster-filled metropolis, Academy Award-winning director Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up) has taken audiences to unique and imaginative places. In DisneyPixars original movie, Inside Out, he will take us to the most extraordinary location of all inside the mind.
Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Rileys mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.
Inside Out easily won over a small audience of press with a presentation by Docter and producer Jonas Rivera.
“We’re pouring our lives into this one,” said Rivera, who opened with a cute anecdote about how he originally joined the company.
He had just graduated from San Francisco State University’s College of Liberal and Creative Arts when he called up the then-decidedly-smaller Pixar, inquiring as to whether or not they might have an internship program.
“No,” a voice told him. “But come on down! We need help!”
That was 1994, the summer before the studio released its very first feature film, Toy Story. Since then, “Pixar’s First Intern” has risen through the ranks and produced 2009’s Academy Award-winning Up, directed by Docter (who had previously directed the studio’s Monsters, Inc.) Twenty years later, Rivera is standing next Docter, one year away for their second big project together: Inside Out.
It was just down the street from the Guild, the pair explain, that they went to celebrate Up‘s success. Over flaming margaritas (they showed us the selfies), they began to plan their next project.
It was important, Docter explained, to find something that was emotionally resonant for him as some of the themes he had previously explored. Looking into his personal life, he discovered something that both troubled and intrigued him about his daughter, Elie (who provided the voice of “Young Ellie” in the opening scene of Up). As Docter demonstrated with photos, Elie — whose early years were filled with smiles — began, as she turned 12, to turn away from the camera, seemingly brooding and adopting a bit more cynical attitude to her father.
The necessary sadness of that transition as his baby girl became a teen became the earliest puzzle piece in what is rapidly becoming next summer’s Inside Out. The film, as it exists now, is still largely animatics as animators race to meet Pixar’s high standards for breaking new ground in animation.
Having found their central theme, Docter and Rivera asked themselves the same question they asked to help realize Up and Monsters, Inc.
“How could we take audiences someplace that they relate to, but had never been before?”
Enter Elie’s fictionalized alter-ego, Riley Anderson. She’s not the protagonist, however. She’s the setting.
There’s an effortlessness to the way that Inside Out delivers its exposition in a simple opening. We see the birth of Riley alongside her very first emotion, Joy. It’s only 33 seconds, however, before the second emotion appears: Sadness.
In the “real world,” baby Riley begins to cry.
One by one and with rapid progression, we meet the rest of the cast and learn their importance: Anger keeps things fair, Disgust avoids bad things and Fear keeps Riley safe. It’s Sadness, though, whose value becomes the focus of the film’s thematic exploration.
In many ways, Inside Out constitutes a true work of science fiction. Docter and Rivera read everything they could about neurology and how various scientists perceive the spectrum of our emotional makeup. All of it heavily influenced the design of the film which, for the first time in Pixar’s history, embraces a 2D style of squash and stretch animation.
As if that’s not enough of a challenge for the animators, the world of the mind (and the characters within it) are actually made of tiny, tiny pieces of energy. Watching the footage on a big screen makes one appreciate the intricate design of the project, as one can make out the incredibly compact makeup of what, from a distance, appear to be solid objects and characters.
The headquarters of the mind is what Rivera described as a “combination ‘It’s a Small World’ and Apple store.” One emotion controls the mind at a time, but all stand behind the control panel on the ready. As memories are processed, they appear as billiard ball-sized spheres of light, colored with whatever emotion was in control at the time of their capture. Stored on a short term memory wall, the balls are brighter the more powerful the memory.
On one side of the controls is a very precious box in which Riley’s core memories are stored: the single most important moments that define who she is. At the end of the night, the rest of the memories are sent away to long-term, but the core ones stick around, always on the ready.
The opening five minutes has each member of the team showing off their special skills. Disgust warns baby Riley away from broccoli (“It’s green and it’s not shaped like a dinosaur!” Kaling’s Disgust exclaims). Riley is told that she won’t get dessert if she doesn’t eat her broccoli, which launches Black’s Anger into action (he’s holding a newspaper with the headline “No Dessert!”).
The inciting incident of Inside Out is an Anderson family move from Minnesota to San Francisco. Riley is none too happy about the whole affair, and Sadness begins to act up. Joy tries to deal with Sadness, but something goes wrong and they wind up getting lost in the recesses of the mind.
In addition to showcasing the scene previously revealed at last year’s D23 Expo, Docter and Rivera teased a number of other neat things that we’ll see next summer. If you read on, please be aware that the rest of what was teased may be considered a bit spoilery.
Concept art shown included an image of the long-term memory, a sprawling field of little spheres stretching out in all direction. There, too, are the Forgetters, little blue avacado-shaped creatures that are in charge of deciding which memories need to be discarded.
At one point in their journey, Joy and Sadness visit “Imagination Land.” Joy is disinherited to see that attractions like a fairy tale castle have fallen to disarray and are being torn down in place of new ones like “The Imaginary Boyfriend Generator” and the “Swear Word Library.” Another piece of concept art offered a look at where dreams are made: A movie studio with poster attractions on the outside wall with titles like like, “You’re Falling Into a Hole!” (complete with a Saul Bass-inspired design).
Joy and Sadness are able to travel thanks to a “Train of Thought,” which generates tracks as it moves forward. Unfortunately, though, the train is easily lost and tends to generate tracks in the wrong direction. This, at one point, leads to Joy and Sadness winding up in abstract though a world that looks to be Pixar’s Picasso.
“This film has had a profound effect on those who have seen it,” said Jim Morris, Pixar’s General Manager and Executive Vice President. “ it changes the way you think about thinking.”
The presentation ended with a surprise screening of Lava, the new short film that will be in theaters with Inside Out. Directed by Jim Murphy and produced by Andrea Warren (who has said to have just started work on a new, still unannounced Pixar film), Lava is a straight-up musical, based on a song Murphy wrote. He even serenaded the audience with his Hawaiian-themed song just before the shot ran.
Warren asked that we keep details to a minimum, but it’s safe to say that Lava will be a new favorite for many a Pixar fan. Warren said that he wanted to create a song that would give people the same feeling he got the first time he heard Israel “Iz” Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Imagine that, tied to the story of of a very lonely volcano who wishes he had “someone to lava.”
Inside Out (and “Lava”) hit theaters on June 19, 2015.