A Peek Inside Inside Out

Inside_Out_(2015_film)_poster

For countless centuries humankind has strived to unlock the mysteries of the mind, only to discover is that while we can speculate and conclude, we may never truly know what goes makes us all tick.  That’s not to say we don’t have an idea of how we work, after all we’re the ones who live this life and somehow we get through just fine without truly knowing how we do it.  What we generally find is that, at the end of the day, the cliche is true, “we’re all human”.  Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up) takes all these swirling notions, and… emotions and turns them into the beautifully clever movie Inside Out.

In Inside Out, Docter sets out to answer for us that ageless question of, “What’s going on inside that head of yours?” Great effort was made by Docter to take concepts by both Freud and Jung and combine them into something easily digestible by audiences, as their concepts are often quite convoluted, conflicting, and complimentary at the same time.  That’s not an easy task, some people spend their entire thesis trying to sort such things out.  To do this he reached back to one of his earlier works that many might be familiar with Cranium Command.

To do this the movie is set inside the mind of Riley, an 11 year old girl (based on both Docter himself and his daughter) whose life is drastically changed when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.  Much like Cranium Command, Riley’s mind, and similarly those of her parents, dogs, cats, etc. are all controlled from a control room, Headquarters, by her emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.  In fact, even the teaser poster for the movie resembles the logo for the closed attraction. Their job is to help define and maintain Riley’s personality.  They do this by creating and storing core memories which drive the aspects of that personality.

Unfortunately, after moving, Riley’s once “perfect” world starts to fall apart under her and she has to learn to cope with the changes and learn to incorporate them into who she is, rather than let them ruin her life.  As Riley’s world starts to fall apart, so do the core aspects of her personality, depicted as floating island “lands” from a theme park, including a familiar “hub & spoke” design where Headquarters is the Hub.  Those lands crumble, and fall into an abyss of lost and forgotten memories.

The emotions look to Joy, their leader and Riley’s first emotion, to solve the problem.  From there things start to go wrong as Riley’s core memories are rejected by the system in Headquarters and through a series of mishaps both Joy and Sadness are whisked off with those core memories to long term memory with no way back to Headquarters.  Leaving Fear, Anger, and Disgust in control.  From there things turn sour for quite a bit for both groups, and this reflects to Riley in the real world.  Thankfully with the help of one of Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong things eventually get fixed, and Riley learns to accept, and move on.

Inside Out great, if not fantastic.  While I wouldn’t consider it Pixar’s best work it is near the top.  It’s extremely clever, with some amazing throw away lines mostly at Jung’s expense.  Everyone who has grown up, become a teenager, lived through a life altering change, etc. should relate to this movie.  In other words, pretty much everyone on the planet.  Something so relatable is really the pinnacle of every artist, and this might come to be known as Docter’s pinnacle work.  Go see Inside Out, you’re going to enjoy experiencing these emotions.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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A Look At Monsters University

Monsters_University_poster_3

It was 12 years ago that we first met Mike Wazowski and Sulley in what is now the 5th highest grossing Pixar film of all time, Monsters, Inc.  – reviewed in Episode 49 of the Disney Film Project Podcast.  In it we get introduced to these friendly monsters that are in a lot of ways just like us.  Only, with the exception that they’re monsters, living in a city populated by monsters, in world of monsters, all of whom were brought up to think that humans and especially children are toxic.  This Top Scarer team quickly learns that the world around them isn’t quite what it appears to be, and the quickly watch the house of cards tumble around them.

Now, on June 21st we get to learn how they met, in the long awaited… not sequel, but rather prequel, Monsters University.   Abandoning the idea that they met way back in the 4th grade as implied by a line in the original movie, but explained away by director Dan Scanlon, Pixar chose to go with the characters meeting in college. Twelve years is a long time, and it would never work for live actors because they don’t age in reverse, but fortunately these characters have all been sitting on computers at Pixar waiting all this time to once more stretch their legs.

The principal voice actors Billy Crystal and John Goodman return as Mike and Sulley.  And along with them come a new cast of characters played by a wide array of voice and acting talents: Helen Mirren, Dave Foley, Alfred Molina, and Nathan Fillion among them.  Together they help to bring to life a movie that reflects a much different world than that of the energy crisis ridden city of Monstropolis.

What we instead get is the journey of two younger monsters both learning to survive in the world around them.  One trying to live his dream, and the other trying to live up to his family’s expectations.  Two monsters who couldn’t be more different, on a journey to become the great friends we know them to be from Monsters, Inc.  And the most important aspect of the original movie is carried forward into this one: heart.

The view of college life in the movie does fall into the typical movie trope that everything that matters in college is decided and defined by fraternities and sororities.  But that hardly detracts from the points the movie is trying to make – it’s just the easier and more familiar path to take when making a college movie.  With all that said the portrayal of “the greek life” is minimal, and at times mocking.  The classroom scenes range from being reminiscent of both Harry Potter and Sky High.

Overall, I really think fans of the original won’t be disappointed with Monsters University.  It’s not nearly as new and fresh as Monsters, Inc. was when it came out, nor is it as good.  But it is a solid movie that makes it’s points, teaches us some lessons, tells us what we want to know going in, and even answers some questions we’d maybe been wondering along the way.  It was both fun and funny to watch, and I look forward to seeing it again this weekend.

httpv://youtu.be/xBzPioph8CI

In addition to doing the web designer and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.  You can join him and his fellow hosts for a Live Review of Monsters University on Thursday, June 27, 2013.

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Disney Film Project Podcast Review

Disney Film Project Podcast
Disney Film Project Podcast

Films, for those who aren’t aware, are some of my favorite things in the entire world. My affinity for almost all things Disney mostly stems from my love of Disney movies. From there it grew to parks, music, tv shows, and beyond, but for me, it all comes back to the big screen. Imagine my excitement when a little over two years ago I learned that friends of mine were putting together a podcast revolving around reviewing and critiquing Disney films! I have to admit that I was a tad jealous that I wasn’t involved in the podcast, but that soon dissipated.

The Disney Film Project, from whence the Podcast was born, started as the brainchild of owner and proprietor, Ryan Kilpatrick. He began the project with this as his goal: “This is my attempt to view all the Disney films, both shorts and features. Read along to see what I learn as I embark on this voyage, and see what I discover as we watch the true genius of Walt Disney.” Ryan would often conduct what he called tweetwatches in a FriendFeed chat room where he would live tweet a movie and a bunch of us would all press play and watch along at the same time. We would jump in to the chat with questions and comments in awe of Ryan’s often exhaustive research regarding the film we were watching.

Eventually, the project grew into what quickly became one of my favorite podcasts, the Disney Film Project Podcast. Ryan recruited a fantastic crew of film buffs to be his co-hosts in Briana Alessio, Todd Perlmutter and our very own Cheryl Perlmutter as the glue that holds them all together as the show producer. From the very first episode on Beauty and the Beast back in January of 2011 up to this weeks episode 117 featuring Mulan, it has been entertaining along the entire way.

Disney Film Project Podcast hosts
Disney Film Project Podcast hosts

The podcast typically focuses on one film per episode, whether live action, animated feature, direct to video sequel or even Disney Channel Original Movies. Occasionally there are episodes that cover a theme like Halloween specials or multiple films in one, but for the most part on average a good hour or so is devoted to a single film. Each week it is apparent the effort that goes in to this podcast from the hosts of the show and their amazing research skills (always try to find a Star Wars connection).

I am one of those crazy completionists, so I diligently watch each film a few days prior to listening to the upcoming episode so it is fresh in my mind. This has been an interesting task as some of the films have been downright awful (I’m talking to you Condorman, Inspector Gadget, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 1 & 2 (and I’m sure eventually 3) and Hunchback of Notre Dame II), but even in the movies that are laborious to watch, the podcast episodes still shine. Sometimes it is even more enjoyable to hear a film completely torn apart. Along with those notoriously not good films you of course encounter the gems of classics like Mary Poppins, Darby O’Gill and the Little People (with my personal favorite, Sean Connery!!!), Cinderella, and fan favorites like the Avengers.

One of my favorite things about the Disney Film Project Podcast is that I always learn something new, whether it is a film I’ve never seen before, or one like The Little Mermaid I’ve seen dozens of times. These four take their time and do their homework to bring something fresh and new to each episode they produce. I have been fortunate to be on two episodes of the podcast for Cinderella and Up. If you want to go back and start from the beginning, you can download the mp3s via iTunes. DFPP is also available for streaming via Stitcher radio on smartphones, through the podcast app subscription on ios devices, and also streaming directly from the Disney Film Project website.

If you are looking for a new podcast that will keep you well informed and entertained when it comes to the films of the Walt Disney Company, including subsidiaries like Pixar, Marvel and Touchstone, look no further than the Disney Film Project Podcast. Go listen to what the wonky sluices over there have cooking up on their blog with new movie reviews, for films new to Blu Ray, in theaters or on the Disney Channel. This is one podcast you should definitely give a chance if you are at all a fan of Disney films and desire to learn more or even just to see if you can guess what their ratings are and if they match yours. Head on over and check them out now!

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Let Me Save You Eight Minutes…

Yesterday the ‘Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun’ Parade stepped off for the first time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The ‘Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun’ replaces the popular and high energy ‘Block Party Bash’ Parade with a lack luster eight minute blink and you missed it “parade”.

Let’s start with the similarities between the current offering and ‘Block Party Bash’…

  • Starting time – Both parades begin at 3:00 pm.
  • Starting location  – Starting on Hollywood Boulevard and ending near Star Tours the route snakes its way around  the center of the park. 
  • Slightly rethemed parade floats – The large floats are all the same, while the smaller floats have gotten a fresh coat of paint.
  • Reused costumes and props – Okay, the costumes, props, and scooters are pretty much EXACTLY the same…

So if all that is the same, what’s new?

  • Music – The songs we all loved to hate have been replaced by a tweaked “I Don’t Want to Work”…over and over again.
  • Characters – While the large floats have the same characters from The Incredibles, A Bug’s Life, Monster’s Inc, and Toy Story, Carl, Russell, and Dug from Up, Remy from Ratatouille, and Lotso from Toy Story 3 have been added.

 

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While I really enjoyed the characters that were added, but I can’t help but miss all the excitement that ‘Block Party Bash’ brought to the streets of Hollywood Studios.

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