On the family movie calendar, a new Disney/Pixar offering can be a pretty big deal. This summer, the studio will roll out “Inside Out” on June 19. For those wanting to see it before the rest of the world, Disney and Fathom Events are presenting a special early screening in theaters across the country on Tuesday, June 16.
Bringing to mind a classic Woody Allen film, “Inside Out” takes place inside the head of 11-year-old Riley as she navigates through life. Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) keeps Riley happy while Fear (Bill Hader) focuses on safety. Disgust (Mindy Kaling) ensures that the young girl doesn’t eat or drink anything harmful while Anger (Lewis Black) just wants everything to be fair. When Joy and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) get lost in an unknown part of Riley’s mind, however, they must navigate through unfamiliar territory to get back.
This Fathom Events special screening features 15 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from Pixar plus the new short film, “Lava.” At the conclusion of “Inside Out,” director Pete Docter, producer Jonas Rivera and star Amy Poehler will do a live Q&A via satellite from Australia. Attendees will also receive a poster and lanyard with a special code that allows access to digital extras.
This film represents an interesting direction for Pixar. The studio expanded traditional animation boundaries with the original “Toy Story” twenty years ago, and they continue to do so. Their formula involved giving anthropomorphic qualities to machines (“Cars”) and insects (“A Bug’s Life”), not emotions. Still, humans and their emotions have a pretty good track record in Pixar presentatios.
Look, for instance, at “The Incredibles,” which came out years before Marvel Studios began its box office dominance. This superhero tale focused on a powerful family forced into hiding. Stuck in a dead-end office job, an overweight Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) jumps at the chance to get back into action. When things go wrong, though, his family races to the rescue.
2009’s “Up” featured a senior citizen rebelling against society. When the city attempts to force him out of his home, Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) sends his domicile soaring with the help of hundreds of balloons. “Ratatouille,” the charming tale of a rat with culinary aspirations, really tugged at the heartstrings as well. The human and rodent characters mixed well in this good-hearted (and good tasting) tale.
Pixar, in other words, knows how to tell a really good story. Their writers and directors can make viewers misty-eyed over monsters whose job is scaring human children. “Toy Story 3” ventured into real emotional territory as Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang nearly met their end in a furnace. It’s also hard not to cry when Andy, their long-time owner, gives his beloved toys to a little girl as he heads to college.
With Amy Poehler and director Pete Docter connected to the project, “Inside Out” seems like a pretty safe bet. “Inside Out” will roll out nationwide on Friday, June 19.