Special thanks to Disney for the magical trip to Los Angeles to cover the World Premiere of Moana and its press events.
Inner Workings is the silent short film that appears before Disney’s Moana.
The main character, Paul wakes up and starts his day by doing all of the routine things we all do. It’s sort of the American Dream gone right but horribly wrong. The main character in the short is the brain, with a adorable supporting cast of the heart, kidneys, bladder, and guts.
As Paul goes about his daily routine, the heart takes the reins and gives him fun, but the brain eventually steals the reins back after a humorous yet heartbreaking sequence of “if this, then death” realizations. Paul eventually makes his way to work at Boring, Boring & Glum where the Brain has its “A-HA” moment and returns the reins to the heart.
What happens next is this beautiful balance of head and heart. It’s the way life should be.
The short uses color in a way that evokes strong emotion. Paul’s world is toned down and very grey while the organs live in a bright and beautiful world. When Paul’s world changes, so does the color palette.
The end song, “California Loco” reminds me of Gloria Estefan’s music from the late 80s and it literally makes me want to get up and dance.
My favorite character in the short is the girl who sells sunglasses. She has curly red hair and is shaped like a true pear. She has a tiny waist, explodes at the hips, and has a big, straight nose. CLEARLY the director, Leo Matsuda who was a story artist on Big Hero 6 and Wreck-It Ralph saw me out in public somewhere at some point in time and modeled this character after me. Seriously, the likeness is uncanny.
Leo Matsuda’s childhood was spent in Brazil pouring over the whole World Book Encylopedia set, but the biology book was the most worn, and the artwork in that book is what inspired the hand-drawn portions of Inner Workings. After struggling with wanting to use a “basic white man” as his subject, but being unable to draw anything that resembled what he hoped Paul to look like, Leo finally settled on a version of Paul that looked an awful lot like himself.
Producer Sean Lurie says that in the process, he was the heart and Leo was the brain and they came together to create a beautiful short that will both evoke emotion and get you on your feet.
Any time a bladder is involved there is humor to be had, but this short really takes on all the emotions you would want a full length film to take on, and it does it beautifully in a very short period of time.