There are currently four movies identified as “upcoming” on the official Pixar website – though we know more are in development – and of them, only one is a new installment in an established franchise (the Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory). The other two movies are The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out; each of those are original works from the acclaimed computer-animation studio, scheduled to open theatrically in 2015, with Inside Out being the first out of the gate.
Inside Out is the latest Pixar film to be directed by Peter Docter – of Monsters, Inc. and Up fame – with Ronaldo Del Carmen (story artist on Brave and Monsters University) listed as co-director. Equally promising is the news that the project is co-written by Docter and the Oscar-winning scribe Michael Arndt, with the latter having also been responsible for the script on Pixar’s threequel, Toy Story 3, in addition to having co-written last year’s critical/box office sensation, the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire.
What makes Inside Out an unusual addition to the Pixar movie catalog is that it’s a psychological adventure – quite literally, much of the action takes place within the mind of an 11-year old girl named Riley, making this the second Pixar original work to feature a female protagonist, after Brave. A new synopsis posted on the official Pixar site (hat tip to /Film for picking it up first), offers more details on the Inside Out story:
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 Riley’s 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.
One side of the premise for Inside Out – a kid must adjust to life in a new city – isn’t all that innovative, but then incorporate the bit with anthropomorphized emotions, and suddenly you have a film that sounds far more imaginative and ambitious. Docter’s last Pixar movie, Up, weaves a poignant and thematically-rich yarn via fantastical elements; likewise, it sounds as though Inside Out uses its more approachable, family-friendly, components to offer what, on some level, is a complex look at how young people think and deal with change in their lives.Judging by the Inside Out concept art premiered at the 2013 D23 Expo (which is featured above), each of the emotions that make up Riley’s consciousness will bear a slight resemblance to their voice-acting counterparts; in typical Pixar fashion, said character designs are colorful and eye-catching, as well. All in all, Inside Out looksand sounds pretty intriguing, thus far – and we’ll be all the more excited to see it in over a year, having gone without a new Pixar release in 2014.