Disney

Donnie Dunagan is a hard-nosed Marine, a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War who served for a quarter-century. First drafted in the '50s and subsequently promoted 13 times in 21 years — a Corps record at the time, he recalls — Dunagan found the Marines a perfect fit. That is, so long as he could keep a secret.

A dark reminder of the past Dunagan left behind still lurked unspoken: He was Bambi.

Ever since the Silly Symphony cartoons of the 1930s, music has played a big part in the creation of the Disney magic. Snow White sang about her prince, Pinocchio wished upon a star, and Mickey conducted “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” in Fantasia. Films and television programs developed by the Disney studio used music to help tell the story.

The new Pixar animation Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter (Monster's Inc., Up), is the playful and ambitious story of the emotional life of a young girl, Riley, who is uprooted when her parents move to a new city so that her father can take up a job. Like a lot of science fiction, however, the fiction drags because the science never really makes any sense.

A new animated feature from Pixar aims to do the near-impossible, as any parent would tell you: get inside the mind of a preteen girl. Inside Out is about an 11-year-old girl named Riley, but the real stars are her emotions — five colorful characters representing joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust.

Pete Docter, the creative force behind Up and Monsters, Inc., wrote and directed the film, and actress Amy Poehler plays Joy. Both of them laugh about one of the biggest challenges of the movie: deciding how many emotions to include.

Pixar's Inside Out is the perfect tool for coming to grips with what has happened to Pixar itself. The film's most valuable insight is that it's natural to feel sad about growing up, which is true even when the thing growing up is a movie studio that has shepherded countless childhoods.

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