Inside Out is the latest film from Pixar Animation Studios. In case I haven't mentioned it enough times, I am an enormous Pixar fanboy. I've seen all of their feature films multiple times (even Cars 2) and almost all of their short films, the only exceptions being a few Cars Toons and a Ratatouille related short. Inside Out is currently my favourite film of 2015 and you can check out my review here. It's the Pixar film I've been waiting to see ever since I walked out of Toy Story 3. I love it so so so much and have even seen it 5 times, making it the first film I've ever seen more than three times in cinemas. It's a masterpiece and has instantly rocketed up into my top 25 films of all time. Cinema doesn't get much better than this.
Like all Pixar films before it, Inside Out is packed with Easter Eggs, some more subtle than others. After 5 viewings I feel safe to say that I've found more than a few of them. While I'd love to say that I've nearly found every Easter Egg in this movie, I know that simply isn't true. It's just not. Pixar put an uncountable amount of Easter Eggs in their films. Because of this, there's a theory out there on the internet called the Pixar Theory, and it can be perfectly summarised here. Maybe it's Pixar having fun (that's the likely outcome) or perhaps it's true. I like to think it is.
While The Good Dinosaur is more than likely going to completely ruin the Pixar Theory, for now it exists, and I'm here to talk about how the Studios' latest film fits into it, as well as letting you all in on a few other secrets as well. Before I begin, I must warn you that this article is going to be SPOILER HEAVY. If you haven't seen the film then I really recommend that you do. Somebody has described it to me as life changing and I think I'm going to have to agree. Pixar have truly returned to form, so let's see just how this film fits into the whole scheme of things.
Let's begin with the Luxo Ball, which got its name from the short film Luxo Jr. The ball appears in most Pixar movies and yes, it does indeed make an appearance in Inside Out. During the scene in which Riley is running through her house as a small child, keep an eye out for the ball hiding in the corner of the room, along with several other small, green toys that could possibly be the toy soldiers from Toy Story, although I'm yet to confirm that. The shot moves very very fast, but once you see it, there's no unseeing it.
Also around this time we get to see Riley jumping on the couches, pretending the floor is lava. There's a high angle shot of the living room that lasts for a few seconds and it's in this shot that we get to see a pile of magazines on Riley's table. And just who's on the cover of one of these magazines? Why, it's only Colette from Ratatouille, sporting her famous chef outfit and hat. It's a hard one to find, but it makes Inside Out officially canon in the Pixar Theory. It officially exists in the same universe as Ratatouille, which exists in the same universe as Up, which exists in the same universe as.... okay, I think you get it.
At the end of the film, Riley's islands of personality return with a few new additions and upgrades. One of these is an expanded version of family island. On that island? Why, it's only the famous van and pizza planet truck previously seen in Monsters Inc and A Bugs Life. It's the pair's third appearance in Pixar films, confirming links between the three movies. Did Pixar finally confirm who owns that van? I, uh, guess so, although at the same time I don't as there's no explanation as to why a Pizza Planet truck is there. But anyway, the film's director, Pete Doctor, has confirmed three appearances of the truck. I'm yet to spot the other two, but I'm on the look out. Looks like I have to see the film a sixth time.
Also near the end of the film is the famous A113, which has appeared in nearly all Pixar and Disney movies, and even appeared in an episode of The Simpsons. For those not aware, A113 is the room many of the animators were trained in, and it's often thrown into films as a gag. It took me until my fourth viewing to find it, but A113 is spray painted onto a wall behind Riley when she's running away. I guess the reason it took me so long to find such an obvious Easter Egg is because at that point in the story I always get so overly invested in what's going on. However, that's not at all a bad thing. I just love this movie so much.
Pixar are always throwing in hints at upcoming films, and in Inside Out there's three noticeable ones. Two of these are for The Good Dinosaur, which hits Australian cinemas December 26th. During the scene where Bing Bong shows Joy and Sadness the house of cards, a pile of board games can be seen in the background. One board game is titled "Find Me" and has a picture of a clownfish and another is titled "Dinosaur World." Earlier on in the movie we also see a scene in which Riley and her family stop to take a photo in front of.... yep, you guessed it: dinosaurs. Not just any dinosaurs, but dinosaurs from Pixar's upcoming film. Genius.
Two other notable references to other Pixar films can also be found during Inside Out's hour and a half runtime. On Riley's first day of school, one of the cool kids is wearing a very similar shirt to the one Sid wears during Toy Story 1 and 3. In fact, it's almost exactly the same, except, y'know, a female version of the shirt. Knowing Pixar, this is definitely not a coincidence. One of Pixar's short films, For The Birds, gets a reference in this film as well. During the opening credits, as Riley and her family drive through the country, a group of small, chubby birds can be seen sitting on a power line. Those unfamiliar with Pixar's brilliant short film, and one of the first I ever saw, will struggle to notice. The rest of us, however, will get a good laugh out of it.
These last few Easter Eggs are merely fun gags, although all of them are a delight and cannot go without mention. This first one wasn't something I noticed myself, but was instead one I got told about. If you've ever been to Disney Land then I'm sure you've heard of the Haunted Mansion. It's one of the park's most famous rides. During Riley's nightmare early on in the film, the theme song from this ride is played in the background. Also, at dream productions later on in the film, there's a few hilarious posters to be found. One of these is a parody of the film 'Vertigo' titled "I'm Falling Into A Very Dark Pit." Just a parody or perhaps foreshadowing for what's to come?
And finally, these final two Easter Eggs are simply plays on words. Well, sort of. When Riley is talking to her friend over a non-Skype version of Skype, one of her contacts is named DocPete, which is undoubtably a reference to the film's director, Pete Doctor. The other one comes and goes every so often, and that's a poster in a shop window that says 'Sure Locks For Homes,' an obvious play on the name Sherlock Holmes. It's the fun things like this that makes me appreciate and love Pixar even more.
So there you have it. These are just the Easter Eggs I, myself have noticed. I'm sure there's plenty I'll notice as I continuously rewatch this film over the next few years, as I'm sure I'll do just that. Not only have I noticed more things on repeat viewings, but I've also gotten new things out of it as well. It speaks to me differently upon each viewing, and it may just be one of Pixar's deepest movies to date. There's a lot going on to digest after one viewing, and for the record, my favourite emotion changes every viewing. That doesn't mean my favourite character wasn't once Bing Bong though. Bing Bong is my everything.
Jurassic World is set to hit cinemas next week and I couldn't be more excited. I've been a long time fan of the franchise, so much so that I literally know 90% of the first Jurassic Park film off by heart, if not more. While I feel I know way too much about it, I'm psyched out of my mind for this new installment. A fully functioning theme park, the I-Rex, tamed velociraptors. This film is shaping out to be great, and Steven Spielberg's constant praise for it only increases my hype.
Just a couple of days ago, Jurassic World had its world premiere in Paris. While the film is under heavy embargo (which essentially means that anybody who's seen it is forbidden from talking about it), a few people have let slip on the film's quality. There's been a couple of tweets here and there that give us a little tease at what's to be expected in this much anticipated fourth installment of one of the greatest franchises of all time. Some of the tweets are below.
The early buzz is looking good (and these aren't all the tweets), but what I'm here to discuss is if early buzz is really trust worthy? Usually, and I'm not saying this is the case, a film can seem much better or worse than it actually is if the experience of watching it was fantastic. This could be the case for Jurassic World, although I sure as hell hope it's not. I'm going to look back at a few films from the last few years that received some early buzz you might not have expected. These are the genuine reactions from critics and audience members who attended preview screenings well before a film came out, whether that's at a festival or a premiere etc.
Tusk, Kevin Smith's body horror movie, graced our screens last year and it was quite a sight to behold. It's graphic, it's disturbing and it's full of Smith's typical raunchy humour. The film was hated and completely flunked at the box office. It's rotten on rotten tomatoes and currently sits at a gradually decreasing 5.4 on IMDb, which puts it as Smith's lowest rated film, even lower than Cop Out. Yet, after the initial screening at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, the film received glaring reactions, such as the ones quoted below:
"TUSK, a body horror comedy that amounts to Kevin Smith’s sweetest film"
"So @tuskthemovie is totally bananas and really great. So committed to itself. A big #walrusyes"
"TUSK: Comedy slapstick that heavily borrows from The Human Centipede and/or Cronenberg’s The Fly. But who cares. It was so much fun!”
"Justin Long gives a career best performance in Tusk. Really, really strong work in an absolutely berserk horror-comedy.”
So Tusk is a film that's mostly hated, but was initially loved. Hmmmm. Next up? Paul Thomas Anderson's stoner comedy, Inherent Vice. it's one of my favourite films of all time, and in my opinion it's Anderson's best film to date, yet it received mixed reviews. The film was initially hated on, many calling it a mess and one critic even saying "But the sense of being blissfully out-of-it, which can have its pleasures, soon drifts into another aspect of drug use: detachment."
The words zonked, incoherent, never ending and many others were thrown around, leading one to question whether Paul Thomas Anderson had finally made a dud film. In my opinion, and this seems to be the general consensus, he hasn't yet. As the film came out and was released in more and more cinemas, people started digging it a bit more. Few are hailing it as Anderson's best, but they can't help but say they were entertained by it. Let's give it a few more years. Maybe the haze will wear off and people will start to love it more, just like they did with The Big Lebowski, another favourite of mine.
My next example is Fifty Shades of Grey, which has been one of the most talked about movies of the year, and not for good reasons. The erotic novel turned movie was hated from the moment the trailer came out. It's most certainly not a good movie, which is why it's actually rather hilarious when the first lot of reactions were positive. Don't get me wrong, none of them were ecstatic about how flawless the film was, but many claimed it to be a self aware and entertaining film.
"The stylish and mostly satisfying film adaptation by director Sam Taylor-Johnson will be too, and deservingly so... , but it certainly knows how to keep a girl happy during its running time."
"The movie adaptation of the smash-hit S&M novel is less tawdry than some are probably hoping, but about it nonetheless"
"This hotly anticipated bondage-porn romance is in many ways a significant improvement on E.L. James' novel."
"If Hollywood still has doubts about whether women can dominate at the box office, the steamy — if occasionally stilted — adaptation of E.L. James' S&M romance novel permanently."
Saying that the film is an improvement over the book isn't that big of a compliment, but it's truly odd to hear a film as terrible as it is getting so much praise. It's ridiculous that a film like that even exists, yet the fact that it initially got positive reactions is what I find harder to believe.
My final example of early buzz that proved to be wrong is Green Lantern, the 2011 DC superhero film starring Ryan Reynolds. I don't hate the film, although I wouldn't say I like it either, but most do consider it a train wreck. I like Ryan Reynolds as an actor and I am incredibly pumped for his interpretation of Deadpool, yet he doesn't work as Green Lantern. When the character hits our screens again in a few years time, let's hope the adaptation actually works. However, some of the initial reactions to the film goes as follows.
" GREEN LANTERN fucking ROCKED. The 3D was AWESOME. As a lifelong DC fan, the opening ten minutes made me squeal like schoolgirl. … Believe it. The first ten minutes will make you believe. The 3D is also outstanding. … GREEN LANTERN was terrific fun. The fact that it works at all is a miracle, but it really does cook. The first ten minutes sold me. … The 3D in the opening ten minutes is wonderful. But YOU MUST see it with polarized glasses. The color is great. … It’s not campy at all. The humor is earned. And Mark Strong as Sinestro was AWESOME. … I LOVED GREEN LANTERN. Don’t know why, but it kinda’ felt like THE LAST STARFIGHTER."
"Frakking-Un-Believable!!! I’m still spinning w/ delight & utter fangirl satisfaction!! #GREENLANTERN IS GO!!!” … #GREENLANTERNCORPbe sure to stay until the end of the 1st credit roll for the BIG PAYOFF!! U won’t be disappointed!! …. Torn between #MarkStrongas #Sinestro & #RyanReynolds as #GreenLantern on who rocked more! Hmm? Think we have a tie. Better be a sequel;)"
One of the most hated comic book films since Howard the Duck received the highest of praise after a preview screening, although we probably should've suspected something was up when one person used the word "amaz" to describe just how much they enjoyed it.
These are just a few examples of when early buzz was way off. I'm not trying to tell you that you should never trust early buzz, and I'm certainly not trying to convince you that Jurassic World is going to be a bad movie. It looks fantastic. What I am saying is that you don't need someone else's opinion to see a movie. Go see it. Don't go see it. It's up to you. I ignored every last one of these until I saw the movies for myself. Sure, some of them can be assuring, but one person's opinion will never be enough to sway mine. I hope the Jurassic World early buzz is correct. I honestly do. I'm just not letting it pre-decide how I'm going to feel, much like the majority of people did with these movies.