‘Inside Out’ Movie Review – Pixar Does It Again
Pixar, though perhaps a little tarnished since its early days, has arguably gone without a failure. To me, it’s very similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even the movies that aren’t as good still wholly entertain, and perhaps more importantly to the studios, succeeds in earning a boatload of money. With Pixar’s upcoming slate chalk-full of exciting movies, Pete Docter’s (Up) Inside Out could be considered a tipping point. It could turn out to be one of Pixar’s only flops (Cars 2 is generally considered a flop), but, more frightening, it could demonstrate the importance of non-original movies (i.e. sequels). Fortunately, Inside Out quashes both of these qualms in a highly engaging and beautiful film, again demonstrating why Pixar is the animation studio to beat.
Inside Out literally delves into the mind and psyche. It’s a film whose main characters are Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), and Anger (voiced by comedian Lewis Black). They play the controllers of emotions in the young mind of Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias).
Riley starts off as the perfect child – she’s got a happy family, plenty of friends, and is good at hockey (the story starts in Minnesota). But, of course, we have to get some kind of trauma. Contrary what you’d think (especially given the fact that Docter is famous for his heartstring-tugging introduction to Up), this doesn’t involve death. Instead, Riley is forced to move across the country to urban San Francisco.
Her mind can’t cope with it. This is one of the only knocks I have on the film, but it does rely a little too much on happenstance, since I thought most people got into a funk when they moved (especially at a young age). Small potatoes, though.
Anyway, Joy and Sadness find themselves racing through Riley’s body trying to find their way back to the control center. While they’re absent, Riley is basically devoid of these emotions. Fear, Disgust, and Anger have to run Riley and help her cope with the emotional move.
Pixar has had an array of great movies ranging all the way back to their first movie, Toy Story. The 1995 film was clever, emotional, and innovative.
You can easily make arguments for all three of these adjectives when you look back on Inside Out. The concept itself is very interesting and engaging. Kids will easily connect with the movie, but it’s the older audiences that will truly appreciate some of the aspects the movie explores. You can tell the story was thought-out because it dives into the subconscious, memory recall, dreams, and, most noticeably, depression.
This goes hand in hand with the emotional connection. Although not as tear-jerking as some other Pixar movies, there are moments in Inside Out that get a little dusty.
I touched a little bit on innovation with the premise – since this movie is nothing like what we’ve seen from Pixar before. Storytelling aside, Docter and the animation team did a great job bringing the mind to life. The film is stunningly beautiful. I admittedly don’t think about the animation when I think of Pixar (I, like I’ve already mentioned, usually think about the great stories). This time around, the cinematography and editing helps create a colorful and rich movie.
It’s sad to know this year’s The Good Dinosaur will be one of the last original Pixar movies we get in awhile. Pete Docter’s Inside Out is another notch in the belt to show how great Pixar is at creating original and innovative films. Why can’t they just trust this? We’ll probably not know the answer to that but it’s beside the point: you owe it to yourself (whether child, parent, teenager, or college student) to go explore Inside Out.
Inside Out released in wide release this weekend. Leave your thoughts and comments below.
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