The Student has Become the Master
The very title of the 15th animated movie by Pixar, Inside Out, says enough about the studio; everything that’s impossible becomes possible. At Pixar, everything is inside-out in a unique, peculiar, childish, playful and simple way. And being and staying simple, having children accept you as a part of their world is the hardest part, while at the same time being incredibly sophisticated and innovative, enough to leave the “know-it-alls” breathless. All that seems an even greater accomplishment if you consider the fact that Pixar is owned by a corporate giant like Disney. Up until the acquisition of Pixar, Disney was producing great, but expected movies about fairytale heroes (Alladin, Bauty and the Beast), novel heroes (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame), “historical” heroes (Mulan, Pocahontas), movies about prehistory (Dinosaur), mythology (Hercules), comic book heroes (Tarzan), the animal world (Lion King).
Pixar – A Breath of Fresh Air
Pixar entered the animation scene with new technologies, digital animation, and a whole new world of toys, bugs, monsters, fish, cars, rats, old people, robots, and now – human emotions. Those were uncommon animated movie subjects at the time, and they’ve become as much mainstream as pretty princesses, unicorns and elves all thanks to Pixar. Since they’ve managed to present emotions like discust and anger as human-like animated characters, there is no reason for them not to give the same antrophomorphic form to oxygen molecules, cluds, sun rays, plants, thoughts, ideas or nuclear atoms. When compared to the creative freedom Pixar has brought to the animation world, all other mainstream studios and production houses seem as shackled slaves on a slow movie mass-producing galley. Being born in George Lucas’ studio, and raised in the computer playroom of Steve Jobs, Pixar couldn’t have had better parents and partners. Both Lucas and Jobs were adventurers who kept turning impossible challenges into reality. Today Disney owns three powerfull sources of film fantasy; LucasFilm, Marvel and Pixar. And people in charge are sensible enough to let all three studios do their own thing, whithout interfering (even though there is times when they enforce their conservative moneymaking approach). Pixar will probably survive as an oasis of creative freedom until it stops bringing in profits, which they have been doing more that successfully since 1995. and the first Toy Story.
Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness Inside Out
The heroes of Inside Out are an eleven year old girl called Riley and her emotions: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. Riley lives in San Francisco with her parents, where she moved to from Minnesota. Both she and her emotions battle the issues she faces when trying to adapt to the new school, new people, new climate, city and house. A completely new world, especially for a child. Growing up is probably the biggest adventure a person goes through, and it marks the rest of a persons life. Each change during that period is inevitably a new drama, maybe even a future trauma. The story is set in two worlds. The first one is the real world in which we watch Riley going through her new life in San Francisco, and the other one is even more real, even though it might seem completely fictional. That is Riley’s mind, in which the other five heroes of the movie (Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness) constantly struggle to keep Riley happy.
Created by Pete Docter
The idea was born in the mind of Pete Docter, director, animator and Oscar winner (Up). He had moved from USA to Denmark with his parents as a boy, and was fighting the traumas of adapting to the new world until he started highschool. He recognized the same symptoms of fear, insecurity and anxiety in his daughter, when he became a parent himself, which gave him an idea for a movie about a child and it’s emotions which struggle to help overcome the crisis. What’s interesting and typical for Pixar’s creative process is what happened after that. Docter formed a team who’s task was to translate the idea into a story. Their attempts were then taken by storyboarders and writers (and they were rotated so much that in the end the entire Pixar brain thrust was involved in the movie creation). This way of working is at the same time both personal and individual, but also teamwork where everything is shared and where everyone gets to contribute to the project creatively. This approach is probably what gives Pixar the endless energy to constantly produce fresh and unique animation with ease. Pixar’s creative workshop is the biggest oasis of creative freedom in the Hollywood corporate machine.