Last Thursday (June 19), we were treated to select, work-in-progress scenes from Disney-Pixar's "Inside Out"(which comes out June 19, 2015) from the creative team behind "Up," Oscar-winning director Pete Docter and Oscar-nominated producer Jonas Rivera. While we don't want to give away everything we saw (where's the fun in that?), we will kick your imagination into overdrive with some of the highlights.
Before we get started, you're going to need to know the story (if you don't already), and it's best to let the studio tell it to you straight:
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.
Now, without further ado, seven things you need to know about Pixar's "Inside Out":
You've Never Seen Anything Like It
The art direction in the completed segments we saw knocked our socks off; it's colorful, creative, and, yes, reminiscent of "Up" in the "human" segments. But it's the scenes inside Headquarters that are wildly imaginative, both visually and design-wise, with a kaleidoscopic color palette and sleek, smooth lines. Jonas Rivera described it as "It's a Small World" meets "The Apple Store." That's pretty accurate.
The Idea Was Inspired by Pete Docter's Daughter
Ah, puberty. It's awkward, frustrating, and... inspiring? At least Docter thinks so. When he experienced the sudden shift of his daughter, Ellie (who voiced young Ellie in "Up"), from happy-go-lucky kid to easily annoyed, moody adolescent, he thought it would make for an emotionally rich, complex journey that everyone could relate to. So, basically, we should all start stocking up on tissues now.
Get Very Excited for the Cast
You already know what star is doing what voice, but you haven't heard them actually voicing the characters. Just get excited about that first trailer or clip, when you actually get to hear them. It'll be a fun moment.
The Character Design Is Something Entirely New
Take a look at that photo of Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness above. They look solid, right? Well, looks can be deceiving. The characters are actually made up of particles, which roil and move as they go about their business. The idea being that they are always fluid and changing, even when they're standing still, just like emotions. Also, because the characters are made of energy, they can flex in ways that are impossible when using real-world physics. As Rivera put it, it's a headache for the animators, but really fun for us to watch.
Pixar Did Their Research
A lot of the design and story elements are inspired by or come directly from the fields of psychology and cognitive science. The filmmakers spent a lot of time studying the human brain; so don't be surprised when you actually learn something scientific when you watch the movie. It'll likely be the most adorable science lesson you've ever gotten. Plus, you won't even realize you're learning.
Riley's Head Is a Magical Place
At some point in the movie, Joy and Sadness embark on a journey through Riley's head (we're not going to say why; we don't want to give too much away), and they travel through one fantastical realm after another. In Riley's long-term memory, they encounter The Forgetters, creatures who toss out faded memories. They then make their way through Imaginationland and Dream Productions, come across Riley's Train of Thought, and even visit her Subconscious and Abstract Thought. We saw glimpses of most of these, and the best analogy we can come up with is "Disneyland in your brain." Run with that.
A New Pixar Movie Wouldn't Be Complete Without a New Pixar Short
With every new entry in the Pixar feature-length canon comes a short-form tale. This time, we get "Lava," a Hawaii-inspired musical tale of love and longing, told from the perspective of a lonely volcano. Think Israel Kamakawiwo'ole meets... well, just think of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Over the Rainbow" and you'll get the emotional tenor of "Lava." Another reason to stock up on tissues.
"Inside Out" (and "Lava") hit theaters June 19, 2015.