While watching Inside Out, directors Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen’s lovely film about how emotions drive the brain of an 11-year-old girl, I had that sense of “haven’t we met before?” Naturally, I did what any 11-year-old girl would do: I Googled “emotion brain Disney.”
The above movie popped up: Reason and Emotion, Disney’s 1943 World War II anti-Nazi propaganda cartoon and Oscar nominee that shows how feelings cloud logic. The gist of Reason and Emotion is that we Americans should control the emotion inside our head lest it control us — and make us vulnerable to Hitler’s vile fearmongering. In 1943, Emotion is represented by a louche caveman who gets slapped trying to pick up a pretty girl, while Reason is personified as a prim stuffed shirt.
In recent interviews, Docter named Reason and Emotion as one of the many inspirations for his new movie, though, of course, there’s a vast difference between the two. While the central figure of Reason and Emotion is a draft-age man, Inside Out’s is a young girl experiencing the prepubescent flood of different emotions for the first time. And while the Disney short suggests that Emotion should take a back seat and let Reason drive, Inside Out says that emotions like Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith) are too important to relegate to the rear. Check out the movie above and see a completely different view from Disney of the voices inside our heads.