Have you ever wondered what it might look like if Neil Gaiman wrote a film based on Herman’s Head? Me neither, but that’s what the description of Pixar’s next movie, Inside Out, immediately brought to mind, and now I can’t think about anything else.
2014 will be the first year since 2005 that Pixar doesn’t release a new film, but from Variety’s account of the studio’s presentation at the Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival, this one will be worth the wait.* Inside Out, which is due out June of next year, is being directed by Pete Docter (of Up - so be prepared for feelings), and is based on changes he saw in his own preteen daughter. That’s the age, for many, when childhood starts to fade away, and kids often become moody, darker, and they start to internalize a lot of those feelings. (Otherwise known as the transition into assholedom.) Inside Out is an exploration of that transition, and takes place entirely within the mind of an 11 year old girl named Riley. As Docter puts it, “In truth, Riley is not our main character; she is our setting.”
The film instead focuses on the driving forces inside Riley’s head. These are color-coded basic emotions that drive Riley’s thoughts and feelings, while helping her process and grow. And they are the most perfectly casted archetypes you could hope for:
That’s Fear (Bill Hader), Sadness (The Office’s Phyllis Smith), Joy (Amy Poehler), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black)
The movie sounds spectacular and original in its concept, and visually, I don’t expect it to disappoint. Variety describes one scene in which Joy and Sadness team up to explore Riley’s subconscious:
This epic road trip entails crossing such areas as Imagination Land (“a giant amusement park full of everything Riley has ever daydreamed about”), a movie studio where nightmares are made, the Train of Thought (a free-ranging locomotive that can go zooming off in any direction) and Abstract Thought — the zone Docter had the most fun translating to the screen.I would be worried about getting my hopes too far up, but this is Pixar. Even their less-than-stellar work (Brave, I’m looking at you) is still a billion times better than most of the crap you could see instead. From the way Docter describes it, it sounds like this is going to be one of those movies that will make adults and kids alike feel far more feelings than I’m comfortable with.
I thought I was making a film about my daughter, but the truth is, I’m more making a film about myself in relation to my daughter and understanding that. The film is told from a parent’s point of view, and being a parent, I just sort of slipped into that, I guess. It’s definitely made me think again about the way I grew up, my adolescence, and even on a day-to-day basis what I’m doing and why.
*It’s worth noting that Pixar has another movie being released next year, with the tauntingly awesome title, The Good Dinosaur. That’s how excited I am for Inside Out— that I could ignore a Pixar movie with the title THE GOOD F*CKING DINOSAUR.