Inside Out

Pixar in 2015

Inside Out, Lava, Pete Docter, Pete Sohn, Pixar, Pixar in 2015, Sanjay Patel, Sanjay's Super Team, The Good Dinosaur, Toy Story, Toy Story 20th, Upcoming Pixar

Posted by Simoa • December 29, 2015

2015: the first year with two Pixar releases, significant especially when you consider their yearlong absence following 2013’s Monsters University. But the two feature length films – Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur – represent a lot on their own besides Pixar’s return to the silver screen.

InsideOut53a470f0039ddPixar’s short films this year were significant too. “Lava”, a tribute to the Hawaiian islands and music from director James Ford Murphy, premiered with Inside Out this summer. Though seven minutes long, it’s Pixar’s first full fledged musical. Pixar’s anthropomorphic characters have long been personified since Luxo, but no Pixar character, human or otherwise, has ever sang before! It’s almost unavoidable to compare this short to “The Blue Umbrella”, which also concerns two living objects finding love, but the love story in “Lava” is on a grander scale. The short’s subject matter is somewhat divisive, but it does provide breathtaking visuals. Can we expect more Pixar musicals? Seems likely!

“Sanjay’s Super Team” however, is unlike anything Pixar has yet produced. In the visual department, it’s a sumptuous blending of 2D and 3D with eye watering colors and excellent character designs. Still images prove to be as dazzling as the film in motion.


It’s not only the gorgeous art style that makes this short film so phenomenal. This is the first time a Pixar film has featured a person of color. If “Lava” could signal more musicals, “Sanjay’s Super Team” could do the same for more diverse characters and perspectives in Pixar films. John Lasseter has said as much about broadening the studio’s canon. Most notably, director Sanjay Patel, joining Peter Sohn as the first nonwhite directors to helm Pixar features, drew on his childhood experiences to tell this story.


This is a deeply personal, heartfelt story about little Sanjay’s struggles to distance himself from his father’s customs. It also mirrors the struggles of adult Sanjay, who was initially reluctant to show something so personal, but who was convinced in the end by his father and Lasseter. The short’s seven minute run-time produces an expertly crafted narrative with glimpses of the Hindu faith. The audience may be strangers to Hinduism, but we can understand Sanjay eventual appreciation of his father’s inner world and how both father and son bond at the short’s conclusion. And for us first generation American kids, the short film is especially meaningful. “Sanjay’s Super Team” is truly a bold step in the right direction.

Click through to read the wonderful responses!

Click through to read the wonderful responses!

2015 also marks 20 years of Toy Story, the first full length Pixar creation as well as the first computer animated film. We recently asked our readers to share their memories of the film; an exercise in nostalgia. But nostalgia aside, Toy Story brims with a timeless appeal. A revolutionary success in 1995, expanding the boundaries of animation and technology, it’s as beloved today as it was twenty years ago.

Earlier this month, Toy Story at 20: To Infinity and Beyond aired on ABC. Strikingly, none of the Pixarians expected the movie to ever become as big as it did. There were constant roadblocks to success and they had to take untested leaps of faith in order to create the movie they believed in. Toy Story and Pixar are world renowned today. That both came to be because of naive risk-takers is inexpressibly inspiring.

The third installment also celebrated five years back in June. Toy Story 3 was the impeccable finale to a trilogy about a motley band of toys and the boy who loved them. Us 90s kids, particularly the ones looking ahead to college, could see ourselves in Andy. Woody, Buzz, Slinky, Rex, Hamm, Potato Head, Jessie…those were our toys. The third film was a bittersweet goodbye to childhood, but not to Woody and the gang.

June 18th was Toy Story 3‘s fifth year anniversary date. Inside Out was released in theaters the following day.

poster 3A film that ventures into the mind of a preteen girl is a tall order, especially when the filmmaker is a man. But Inside Out was borne out of Pete Docter’s desire to better understand his daughter.

The film is really framed as a struggle for parents. Joy, exuberant and star shaped, dominates Riley’s Headquarters. Her number one priority is to keep Riley happy at all times, which ultimately unravels in the wake of chaos from major life transitions. Joy’s attempts to push Sadness away not only speak to parents wishing to shield their children from pain and Sadness, but to everyone who does the same.

This is perhaps the first film, animated or otherwise, that places less importance on attaining happiness, and more on learning to embrace Sadness. It’s such a simple idea; it’s OK and even necessary to be sad. But too often we struggle in vain to never feel sad at all times.

INSIDE OUTInside Out could prove to be as revolutionary as Toy Story, if not more so. This is a remarkably inventive concept; one that further proves animated films can indeed have depth and still be entertaining. And just like the 1995 film, neither Pete Docter nor anyone else expected it to resonate as it has. Could they have known that those struggling with mental illness would be able to use the film to explain the conflicting array of their own emotions? Or that it could be used to help children identify their emotions and learn that the negative ones are beneficial too?

Imagine if your emotions cared about you. (Oh Anger, you do care!) Imagine that your emotions are these distinct personalities made up of glowing particles that help you navigate the world. Imagine you have Personality Islands that power you up, explain your passions and longings. Imagine all the bright, clever silliness of an elaborate Pixar world juxtaposed against a somber coming-of-age tale.

INSIDE OUT - Pictured: Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

INSIDE OUT - Pictured: Joy. ©2015 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Growing up is often devastating. The equilibrium of Riley’s mind gradually collapses – she loses Joy, interests, and friends. Her islands of personality literally crumble and fall away, disappearing forever into the yawning abyss of the memory dump. Suddenly Riley isn’t the same little girl anymore. What a bleak vision of adolescence. But though the process of growing up is painful, messy, and requisitely sad, the rewards are abundant. Riley’s mind does repair itself after all. Through adversity, her inner life is strengthened.

Inside Out is important for its focus on a young girl. Riley isn’t ever boxed into any wrongheaded notions of femininity or lack thereof. She’s just allowed to be a person who’s also a girl. There were skeptics when the film’s premise was announced, those who believed that a film focusing on a girl’s feelings would reinforce cliché stereotypes. But the film proved those skeptics wrong. The mundane realties of a preteen girl on the brink of leaving childhood are given weighty consideration. Mindy Kaling, providing vocal work for the fabulous Disgust, put it best: after reading the script, she tearfully told Docter and producer Jonas Rivera that making a film that says it’s OK for girls to be sad about growing up is profound.


And it passes the Bechdel Test by placing Joy and Sadness at the center; two female characters fighting to protect a young girl. Two female characters who are both flawed, yet earnest and nurturing. The film also offers a quiet, yet resounding affirmation that girls, and everyone, but girls especially, can feel a multitude of ways. And to think this came from Pixar, the boys studio.

Inside Out is arguably Pixar’s most ambitious project since 2009’s Up, which was also directed by Pete Docter. Like Up and Docter’s other film Monsters, Inc., it achieves a seamless balance between absurdity and heartbreak. It’s really nothing short of astonishing. The technical aspects are a marvel, it being the most vast, complicated set that’s yet existed in a Pixar film. That’s to say nothing of the actual story which accomplishes a major feat. It shows us something we all know but have never seen, and it’s a fun, exciting, emotional journey.

On opening day, AMC Theaters screened a brief video in which Docter thanked audiences for watching the movie. It was such a humble, surprising gesture. The video isn’t available to watch online unfortunately, but here’s what Docter had to say:

“Movies, like the ones we make at Pixar, are made by people. And the reason we make them is to talk to folks, to share something about our own experiences of life and to pass that feeling onto others. But that doesn’t happen unless there’s someone out there to listen. I feel so lucky to make movies, and on behalf of everyone at Pixar and Disney, we want to thank you for coming to watch our work. Movies have the ability to take you to different worlds, make you laugh or cry, and remind you you’re alive. None of this would happen without you. Thank you for coming, and we hope you enjoy the film.”

This is the first time a Pixar director has done something like this, and it made Inside Out screenings all the better. Thankfully it wasn’t the last time, as Pete Sohn also introduced The Good Dinosaur to audiences when that film premiered in November.

Sohn described growing up as a child of Korean immigrants and how that helped to inform Arlo’s story. His mother’s TheGoodDinosaur5612ef11d27c8English was limited. When he went to the movies as a child with his mother, Sohn often had to whisper translations of what was happening onscreen to her. But this wasn’t the case with most animated movies. In movies like Dumbo, neither words nor translations were needed. Animation is a universal language that everyone can understand. Sohn wanted to recreate that kind of wordless beauty for this film. He wanted to show how two characters could communicate without speaking the same language and how poignant that communication could be. And in The Good Dinosaur, Spot’s inability to speak only lends more authenticity to the primal bond – and love – that he shares with Arlo.

It’s definitely not an exaggeration to say that people were expecting The Good Dinosaur to fail. Its troubled production history worried a lot of people, particularly because veteran Pixar filmmaker Bob Peterson was unceremoniously removed from the director’s chair. While fans were concerned and saddened, they were confident that a good movie could still emerge. Others were far more cynical, certain that moving the film from its original May 2014 release date to November 2015 spelled disaster. The first year without a Pixar movie? Here Pixar was failing in a very public way, and some people felt it was justified comeuppance.

The Good Dinosaur isn’t the first Pixar movie to be scrapped halfway through production and to switch directors. It’s been done twice before with stellar results (Toy Story 2 and Ratatouille). Even Brave and Cars 2 were worthy if flawed efforts. But there are those who think the film did fail, especially since its story was so simplistic, threadbare even, compared to Inside Out’s voluminous narrative.

But here’s something people don’t seem to realize: Pixar shouldn’t be expected to reinvent storytelling with every single film. Leave the ambitious flair to Inside Out; the second Pixar feature of 2015 does something quite different, even if it isn’t groundbreaking. (And in less noticeable ways, it actually is).


The Good Dinosaur’s premise is original. Dinosaurs never went extinct. And that’s not all. The herbivores evolved into farmers while the carnivores like T-Rex are now ranchers. The movie even turns into a western halfway through! In this delightfully bizarre setting, an uncomplicated story begins to evolve. Given the movie’s prehistoric timeline, the straightforward storytelling makes sense. The Good Dinosaur eschews glossy modern appeal to tap into something so much more earthy and primitive.

The movie isn’t primitive simply because dinosaurs still roam the earth. It’s that barrier between languages that makes it so. It isn’t wordy, which is so refreshing. Arlo and Spot start off as enemies. Pixar films are usually about the unexpected friendship between two characters and it’s a trope they pull off extremely well, because the results are different every time. But the stakes are higher in this film because of that language barrier and the harsh world that Arlo and Spot inhabit. They depend on each other for survival, but it grows into something more. Understanding begins to blossom between them in ordinary and profound ways. They become each other’s surrogate family although the world would discourage it. Even if the time and the story are unsophisticated, there are still some potent, timeless takeaways to be had.

This film is a study in brilliant contrasts; cartoony dinosaurs juxtaposed against hyper real, painterly animation; unvarnished story juxtaposed against magnificent artwork; a huge, frightening world that is tranquil and still. There are quiet moments within even as the danger threatens our timid dinosaur hero and his ferociously endearing human boy (two characters who are brilliant, surprising contrasts as well).


And yet, for all its oddity, The Good Dinosaur is grounded in realism and emotional clarity. Nature is pristine and gorgeous, but also a formidable foe that must be reckoned with. Arlo and Spot bond over their loss of family without ever needing words.

Here’s a movie with talking dinosaurs and a wild boy that doesn’t resort to scatological humor in order to hold the attention of the youngest audience members. Here’s a movie with talking dinosaurs that’s possibly the most sensitive, tender story Pixar has told since their first film twenty years ago.

To borrow from Poppa, sometimes you gotta get through your expectations to see the beauty on the other side.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage of Pixar’s awesome year. Check back here for what’s ahead as we leave 2015!

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Pixar at D23 (UPDATE: Toy Story Land)

Coco, D23, Disney Parks, Finding Dory, Inside Out, Lee Unkrich, Pete Docter, Pixar Employees, The Good Dinosaur, The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, Toy Story Land

Posted by Simoa • August 15, 2015

D23 is this weekend, and there’s no shortage of awesome Pixar news! New logos, images, release dates, and synopses have been revealed for their upcoming slate, and the excitement for them has only increased. Without further ado, here’s all the brilliance fans were treated to.

“Riley’s First Date?” Pixar Animation Studios heads back inside the mind with an all-new short. “Riley’s First Date?” made its world premiere at D23 EXPO 2015. Director Josh Cooley, along with Inside Out filmmakers Pete Docter (Up, Monsters, Inc.) and Jonas Rivera (Up), introduced the short, which revisits Riley, now 12, who is hanging out with her parents at home when potential trouble comes knocking. Mom’s and Dad’s Emotions find themselves forced to deal with “Riley’s First Date?” The short will be included as a bonus feature in the digital HD & Blu-ray releases of Disney·Pixar’s Inside Out, which will be available digitally Oct. 13 and on Blu-ray Nov. 3, 2015.




Anticipation for Disney·Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur was amplified when director Peter Sohn and producer Denise Ream shared breathtaking sequences with fans, including never-before-seen footage of a trio of T-Rexes in action. In theaters on Nov. 25, 2015, The Good Dinosaur features Arlo, a sheltered Apatosaurus who finds himself far from home among a host of intimidating creatures.


Ellen DeGeneres (“The Ellen DeGeneres Show”), the voice of everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang, took a dip with D23 EXPO, celebrating Disney·Pixar’s upcoming film Finding Dory. Joining DeGeneres on stage this afternoon were Ed O’Neill (“Modern Family”), who lends his voice to Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”), the voice of Bailey, a misguided beluga whale; and Kaitlin Olson (“Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), who voices Destiny, a kind-hearted whale shark. Oscar®-winning director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, WALL•E), co-director Angus MacLane and producer Lindsey Collins (co-producer WALL•E) offered new details of the all-new story, which reunites Dory with friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale? Also featuring the voices of Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy, Disney·Pixar’s Finding Dory swims into theaters June 17, 2016.


And finally, Lee Unkrich’s Dia de Los Muertos film has a title, logo, and plot details!

Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and producer Darla K. Anderson (Toy Story 3) revealed the title of their upcoming film today at D23 Expo 2015. Disney·Pixar’s Coco is the celebration of a lifetime, where the discovery of a generations-old mystery leads to a most extraordinary and surprising family reunion. Also worth noting that the protagonist of Coco is Miguel, a 12 year old Mexican boy, making him Pixar’s first Latino protagonist.


image via pixaranimation on Instagram.

There’s also the clever, amazing logo for The Incredibles 2!

There is so much to look forward to, we don’t know where to begin. Check back in here for more updates on D23!

UPDATE: It was revealed yesterday that a new Pixar themed ride would be opening at the Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. Guests get a toy sized view of the world, made to look like Andy’s backyard, with a Slinky Dog rollercoaster and other amazing attractions. Concept art for the new land appears below.

toy story land 2

It’s always a good time to be a Pixar fan, but now even more so!


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Inside Out blu-ray & DVD

Blu-Ray, DVD, Inside Out

Posted by Simoa • August 6, 2015

Thanks to our friends at Stitch Kingdom, we now have a release date for the Inside Out blu-ray and DVD! As poster 3Stitch Kingdom reports, Amazon has listed November 3rd for the DVD, but there’s no release date for the blu-ray as of yet. The Pixar Post also had details about the blu-ray special features from a site called Zaavi. No official announcement has been made regarding either, yet the special features are exciting to be sure! You can view them below.

2D Disc 1

  • Lava
  • Riley’s First Date (directed by Josh Cooley)
  • Audio commentary with Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen, and Jonas Rivera
  • Paths to Pixar: The Women of Inside Out
  • Mixed Emotions

2D Disc 2

  • Story or the Story
  • Mapping the Mind
  • Our Dads the Filmmakers
  • Into the Unknown: The Sound of Inside Out
  • The Misunderstood Art of Animation Film Editing
  • Deleted scenes with intros and outros
  • Mind Candy
  • Selected Score
  • Remember trailer
  • Experience trailer
  • Japanese trailer

Not only will these special features be lots of fun to watch, but they will also prove to be informative/educational. We’ll learn even more about the process of making Inside Out and the studio itself. Also worth noting that the DVD comes in November, which is when The Good Dinosaur makes its debut! We definitely can’t wait.


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Box Office Watch: Inside Out breaks record and takes in more than 200 million worldwide!

Box Office, Inside Out

Posted by Simoa • June 28, 2015

It appears Jurassic World won the box office battle against Inside Out. If it was a battle at all. Our post last week babiessummarized this “battle”, but only because people were genuinely concerned that Inside Out would be the first Pixar film to not open at number one. Jurassic World did end up surpassing Inside Out last weekend, but the latter still broke records and scored impressive earnings.

After its initial $34 million, Pete Docter’s major emotion picture became the highest grossing original film (not a franchise film or sequel, Pixar or otherwise) of all time, with more than $90 million. The record was previously held by James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), which opened with $77 million. In Pixar’s books, 2004’s The Incredibles grossed $70.5 million on opening weekend.

As of right now, Inside Out‘s domestic run totals a whopping $184,945,000, with $266,445,000 worldwide. Scott Mendelson of Forbes reports that Inside Out is well on its way to $300 million domestically.

Continue jumping for Joy!

(Numbers via Box Office Mojo)


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Box Office Watch: Inside Out vs Jurassic World

Art, Box Office, Inside Out, Pixar Employees

Posted by Simoa • June 20, 2015

“Could Inside Out be the first Pixar film to not open at #1?”

That was the question on a lot of folks’ minds after Jurassic World scored a staggering $200 million worldwide on its opening weekend. It was a natural concern considering Inside Out was released yesterday, exactly one week after Jurassic World. But as always, Pixar has overturned expectations! Pete Docter’s latest emotional ride grossed over $34 million, with projections of $90 million throughout the weekend. What’s more, Universal’s sci-fi epic dropped to second place with $29 million. This puts Inside Out in second place behind Toy Story 3 ($41 million) and first place as the highest grossing weekend for a non sequel Pixar film.

Pixar story artist Austin Madison depicted the competition and eventual Pixar victory in these two awesome drawings!

It was a close call, but we can all jump for Joy! We’ll bring you more updates on Inside Out‘s box office earnings.

Figures via Box Office Mojo

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Art of Inside Out Giveaway: Winner!

Giveaway, Inside Out

Posted by Simoa • June 19, 2015

Inside Out is now playing in theaters everywhere! A truly Joyful day of course, and we’re so happy that everyone has fallen in love with it! And now there’s more reason for Joy, because we have a winner for our Art of Inside Out giveaway.

io trailer 1

Congratulations to Blake Roark! You’ll receive an email shortly.

We’d like to thank everyone for participating. Be sure to tell us all your thoughts and emotions on Inside Out!

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Inside Out: highly emotional and highly clever

Inside Out, James Ford Murphy, Lava, Pete Docter, Review

Posted by Simoa • June 18, 2015

For all the technical feats and visual artistry of Pixar films, storytelling remains the true marker of their success. “Story is king” is the mantra oft repeated at Pixar, for good reason. A film can be beautifully animated, but it needs a beautiful story to truly shine. Inside Out, the studio’s fifteenth feature from Pete Docter, has both in abundance. And what a beauty it is. This film follows in the tradition of gorgeously crafted storylines that have come to define Pixar. And it also marks Pixar’s triumphant return to the silver screen after their yearlong absence.

Inside Out takes place inside the mind of 11 year old Riley Andersen (Kaitlyn Dias). While Pixar films have taken us to the outer reaches of space and the depths of the ocean, along with other unique and imagined settings, Inside Out invites us to journey through a place we’ve never seen, but know exists. It’s here in Riley’s mind that a whole world blooms.

Living in this world are her five emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger. They are the real main characters of this story, not merely feelings, but actual personified beings. Joy (Amy Poehler) is the first emotion that newborn baby Riley experiences, causing her to laugh. Her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan) are over the moon with love, and Joy is as well. She begins to envision a euphoric life for just her and Riley. This vision is short lived however, when Sadness (Phyllis Smith) arrives on the scene and makes Riley cry for the first time. Joy is understandably less than thrilled, trying to regain control; this theme is echoed throughout the film.

As Joy informs us, Headquarters only becomes more crowded. Fear (Bill Hader) shows up, perpetually frantic and always steering Riley away from anything unsafe. Disgust (Mindy Kaling) is around to make sure Riley avoids everything gross. Anger (Lewis Black) is mainly concerned with Riley getting a fair deal; when she doesn’t, his temper flares and flames erupt from the top of his head. Each of these emotions has their own distinct purpose for guiding Riley through her everyday life, but Sadness doesn’t seem to have one. Joy isn’t all that interested in finding out what that purpose could be but assures us that Sadness is just fine where she is.

The focus shifts once again to Riley, a sweet and boisterous kid who’s had a happy childhood and life thus far. Lining the walls of Headquarters are Riley’s memories, little spheres that glow a certain color corresponding to each of the emotions. Nearly all of them are yellow, for Joy. The core memories depict important moments in Riley’s life which power up each of her personality islands. These islands include family, friendship, honesty, hockey, and goofball.

Chaos soon strikes, disrupting life in Headquarters. Riley and her family are moving – from their beloved Minnesota to San Francisco, where her father is starting a new job. Fear isn’t the only one panicking about this major life event. Joy manages to stay upbeat and positive, constantly looking on the bright side of things while the others complain and fret. They, as well as Riley, don’t have a lot to be happy about. The new house isn’t warm or inviting; her parents are upset and stressed out about various things; and dad has to leave for work before they’ve even settled in. Still, Joy is determined to keep things happy. After some initial disagreement, the others decide it’s for the best as well.

Life outside Headquarters often informs life within, and vice versa. With Riley experiencing a wealth of changes due to the cross country move, Sadness wants to take a more active role in Headquarters. But she’s prevented from doing so by Joy. When the two of them clash during Riley’s first day of school, a disastrous event by all accounts, they’re ejected from Headquarters, leaving Fear, Anger, and Disgust to man the controls. Joy and Sadness, lost within Riley’s mind, need to journey together in order to restore balance to Headquarters.

Balance is key in Inside Out. The film does an excellent job of balancing the two unfolding storylines, shifting from Riley’s mind to the outside world with ease. There’s also a balancing of visuals, from the realistic outside world to the bright, cartoony mind world. The basic animation principles of squash and stretch are used to their greatest advantage here. Mind workers that Joy and Sadness meet are simple in design, but brightly colored and very cartoonish. The mind is so incredibly vibrant and perfectly realized. This is in my opinion, the most imaginative and creative Pixar world yet. Just the sheer size and scope of it are overwhelming, without spoiling any of the fun you have within it. Joy and Sadness travel through a variety of concepts – Abstract Thought and the subconscious for example – which spring up before them and us as actual places. The sequences in both of these locations are particularly inventive and in the case of Abstract Thought, extremely clever and hilarious.

In fact, clever and hilarious can be applied to Inside Out as a whole. The film is able to balance poignancy with levity; each of the laughs it induces are well earned. Trust me when I say this movie is hilarious, one of the most fun times you’ll have at the theater all year. The various ways it answers certain questions about the mind is all done in a silly but brilliant, and of course, clever fashion.

The voice work of the cast cannot be overlooked either. They all turn in great performances, embodying each of the emotions so perfectly. You want the “little voices” in your head to sound just like this. Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith are able to strike a balance between humor and heartache. It’s amazing and a little ironic how much you feel for these emotions. Richard Kind as Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong, who I’ll let you discover and fall in love with on your own, is also stellar, giving one of the most memorable and heartbreaking performances ever heard in an animated film.

The film’s score, composed by that wizard Michael Giacchino, is whimsical and bright. The music is so beautiful to listen to, and matches the gentle moments, along with the more fast paced action ones.

At the core of Inside Out is the relationship between Joy and Sadness. For years Joy has called the shots in joy sadness 1Headquarters, has never understood the purpose of Sadness, and has often tried to keep her from ever driving the console in Riley’s head. When they’re suddenly thrust into the vast reaches of the mind, she starts to learn more about Sadness and just how important she is to Riley, and also to all of us.

What Pete Docter, co-director Ronnie del Carmen, screenwriters Josh Cooley and Meg LaFauve, and the entire story team have been able to achieve is no small feat. It’s a tall concept, but the story is executed quite simply, without abandoning any emotional complexity or depth. It dazzles the eye, mind, and heart. You will have fun watching this film, but you’ll come away with some profound insights as well. And you will cry.

It is the resounding emotional poignancy of this beautiful film, combined with the animation, art, and humor that undeniably makes Inside Out an instant classic.

“Lava”, the musical short film attached to Inside Out is similarly lava1dazzling in the visual department. The story is really quite simple, but a big delight nevertheless. While the short isn’t regarded as favorably as others, I found it charming, heartfelt, and endearingly sincere. You can add volcanoes to the list of anthropomorphic Pixar characters finding love in the most unlikely ways. And once again, the visuals are breathtaking. The love song echoes Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s haunting rendition of “Over the Rainbow” which James Ford Murphy cited as inspiration. It’s also really catchy; you’ll find yourself humming the tune long after the short ends.

“Lava” features the musical talents of Kuana Torres Kahele, Napua Greig, and James Ford Murphy on ukulele!

Inside Out and “Lava” are released nationwide in theaters tomorrow, June 19th. Be sure to share your thoughts with us! And stay for the credits too!

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Inside Out All Access event

Andrew Stanton, Behind The Scenes, Events, Inside Out, John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, Pete Sohn, Pixar, Pixar Employees, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • June 17, 2015

It’s Inside Out week! The highly anticipated flick opens nationwide this Friday, June 19th. This writer has seen it all accesstwice, and to echo much of the praise it has received, it’s a masterpiece. An all access screening was held yesterday three days ahead of the film’s release in theaters all over the country. We hope our incredible readers were also in the audience! This all access screening included a behind-the-scenes visit at Pixar as well as a Twitter Q&A session with Pete Docter and Amy Poehler (Joy), who are currently in Australia as part of the film’s press tour. Those in attendance received a free poster as well as a lanyard and Inside Out badge which grants access to more goodies online at Disney Movie Rewards!


The tour of Pixar, with Pete and producer Jonas Rivera as hosts, was awesome. There was lots of Inside Out artwork and storyboards, as well as Docter and Rivera sharing their labor of love and all the time and research that went into it. The two of them always bring warmth and camaraderie, and the same was true here. I can’t think of any other people who would be more qualified to give a tour of Pixar! (Besides John Lasseter of course).


In the Story Corner, which is a wall papered with numerous story sketches from various Pixar films, is a tribute to the late, great story artist, Joe Ranft. Regarded as the soul of Pixar, and a hero to many in the animation world, his influence is still deeply felt at Pixar. His sketches of what happens in a story meeting is framed on the wall, and it was such an enjoyable and sweet addition to the tour.

Highlights from the video included “running” into some favorite Pixarians, such as Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out‘s co-director, who Pete praised. He let the audience know how great del Carmen’s contributions were, and that if we loved the movie it was thanks to him, and if we hated it, it was thanks to him! (Definitely only the former).

We also got to drop in on Andrew Stanton and his Finding Dory team in editorial, which included co-director Angus McLane, and producer Lindsey Collins. While the visit was brief and there was no footage of the upcoming film, Andrew did joke a little bit about the grueling process in cutting down the story until you get it right. “You know what that feels like,” he said to Pete. “We don’t!”

Afterwards we dropped in on Pete Sohn and The Good Dinosaur team! He informed us that 1/8 of the crew was present, and we got to see one shot of animation being finaled. Sohn gestured to the animators in the room, listing the beloved Pixar characters they’ve animated and brought to life. There will be so much more to see of this movie ahead of its November release and we can’t wait. The Good Dinosaur‘s original director Bob Peterson even made a cameo, informing Pete that his Roz voice was his regular voice. The audience loved it, as well as his Dug impression. It was especially wonderful to see Peterson and we can only hope he’ll be sitting in the director’s chair again soon. (You can even spot his name in the credits to Inside Out).

We got to see John Lasseter’s famous office, a toy collector’s dream. The big man himself wasn’t in his office, but Jonas and Pete found him in the story room for Toy Story 4, with some help from that movie’s co-director, Josh Cooley. John very funnily hid the room from the camera, and did his best to “shoo” us away. The development on this film is highly secretive, but John promised we would know more in time. He also got to show off his Inside Out Hawaiian shirt!

This video, which ran just under twenty minutes, was an excellent preview before seeing Inside Out. Heading into Pixar via cameras is often the only way to get inside, and all that positivity, humor, and cheerfulness never disappoint. We also get to see just how collaborative things are over there. It’s always a team effort when making a Pixar film, and the whole team is lauded for their contributions.

Following the film was the Q&A with Pete Docter and Amy Poehler via satellite. They were both exuberant and definitely not short on praises for the other. Amy mentioned the collaborative spirit at Pixar and got a lot of laughs at our screening. When asked which emotions guided her as a young girl, she said that she was carefree and joyful like Riley, but with some anger as well, owing to her Boston roots. That inspired some cheers from us fellow Bostonians! It’s obvious why she was chosen to play Joy, but Pete explained that Joy was a tough character to write. At preview screenings, audiences loved the movie but hated Joy or found her annoying. Luckily, Amy’s performance saved the day; Joy is flawed but still lovable. She took cues from Tom Hanks’ performance as Woody to help her with the character, and it pays off. For those who have seen the film, the parallels between Joy and Woody are certainly there.

Check back here for our review of Inside Out, as well as the short film, “Lava”!




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Giveaway: Art of Inside Out [Closed]

Art Of:, Inside Out

Posted by Simoa • June 9, 2015

Inside Out is ten days away! To celebrate, we’re giving our readers the chance to win a copy of the art book. This is certainly a worthy addition to anyone’s art book collection. It’s filled with the most gorgeous concept art and boasts impressive work by seasoned artists Ralph Eggleston, Ronnie del Carmen, Albert Lozano, and Josh Cooley.

To win a copy, comment on this post telling us who your favorite emotion is and why. Be sure to include your name and email address as well. This giveaway is open to US residents only. Comments must be posted before Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST.  The winner will be announced the following day with an email by June 19th, Inside Out‘s release date.

Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed. We’ll post the winner shortly!

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Inside Out screening

Inside Out, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, Upcoming Pixar

Posted by Simoa • June 1, 2015


Last Friday, I was lucky enough to attend an advance screening of Inside Out at the SVA Theater in New York. The theater, which is part of the School for Visual Arts, hosted the screening in conjunction with the Academy of Motion Pictures. Following the screening, there was a discussion with Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera, moderated by noted animation historian John Canemaker.

As one of the event’s organizers informed us, we were the second audience after the one at Cannes to see the full film! And just like that audience, ours received the film quite enthusiastically. Inside Out is just the perfect film to end Pixar’s two year hiatus on movie screens.



Docter and Rivera were able to provide further insight on the film and its production. Originally, Joy and Fear made the journey into the mind world, with Docter recalling his junior high days, when fear motivated many of his decisions. That version of the story wasn’t working however, although it did spawn a lot of humor. He joked about leaving Pixar and what he would miss the most. He mentioned that his coworkers were people he’d had many joyous times with, but that he also got angry at them too. Realizing that losing contact with friends made him sad allowed him to crack open the story. Sadness replaced Fear, proving to be far more rewarding for the film.

Other important takeaways from this discussion included just how personal the film was. Docter was inspired by his daughter, but Rivera also spoke about what the film meant to him as a father. He said the film should resonate with anyone who has kids or has ever been a kid, and I wholeheartedly agree.

The two also praised Michael Giacchino’s music. He too had a profound connection with Inside Out, having to step away from composing at times because it was so personal.

The film is definitely a strong contender at next year’s Oscars. And it certainly was worth the four year wait.

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