We all are victim to our emotions, always susceptible to a tantrum or sobfest that overruled our logical side. The trigger for these outbursts can vary in form, a bad day at school, a breakup with a boyfriend, or in my case sitting through bad movies. Whatever the cause, have you ever stopped to picture what is going on in your mind to cause this? Pixar has, and their latest film has brought those thoughts to life in a way only their studios can. Today I review Inside Out and take a look at what creative sparks lie in their studio.
Pixar has been on the sequel train for quite a while, so I was thirsty for a drink from the original pool. Inside Out emerges from that source we fell in love with years ago, and brings it back ten fold in the world of young Riley’s (Kaitlyn Dias) mind. Inside Out is a beautiful personification of the inner workings of the mind, filled with colorful visuals that pop off the screen. A high tech “head”quarters for the cortex looks like something from Star Wars, where futuristic control panels govern all the memories and thoughts that govern our being. Outside command central, Pixar gives you more of their magic in their creations; forming a maze for long term memory, a movie studio as the source of your dreams, and an obvious train for your train of thought. Tacky as some of the puns are, Pixar puts their wit back into the game to design a unique world that is sure to entertain many, as well as become the next theme park attraction.
As the emotions transverse the chaos that is our brain, Pixar not only takes you on a physical adventure but an emotional one as well. Of course being a kids movie there are a lot of comedic moments that had me, as well as other audience members, laughing. Slapstick humor involving bodily harm, one liner puns that will appear in memes, and plenty of witty dialogue that represents the internal struggle of indecisiveness. In particular Anger’s (Lewis Black) ranting had me laughing the hardest, as the simplistic yelling and rash threats to curse were to my tastes. Sadness (Phyllis Smith) had to be my second favorite, more so in how she presented her lines with that perfect twist of depression to make it funny, and yet sad at the same time.
Yet while comedy is a big portion of this movie, Pixar/Disney always manages to bring other emotions into the mix. Seeing as one of the emotions is Sadness, you can guess there are a few moments that can bring tears to your eyes as Riley’s memories unfold before your eyes. Joy offsets these moments though, with beautifully crafted sequences that cover those special times in life. And all of it is edited together at just the right times to make the emotions hit home, building slight tension, but delivering a satisfying finish. Pixar represents this emotional instability both inside Riley’s mind and outside in her actions, really capturing the look and feel of someone troubled, hence the title. It’s balanced well with the humor, and gives older audience members a tether to the film to keep their interest.
Voice acting though is the factor that really brings things to life, as each emotion is matched with their voice counterpart. Poehler’s optimism shines bright in joy as she rambles off her ideas to keep Riley happy, and you can feel the actress in the character. Phyllis Smith brings her character to life, her whispy voice selling the hopeless emotion, and yet still bringing a comedic edge to her lines that made her humorous. Lewis Black is perfect for anger, his ability to play heavily angry roles where his character consistently yells has been established, and he fits right at home with the emotion he plays so well. Mindy Kaling as Disgust was another good choice, the shallow, image obsessed emotion playing strong to that sassiness we love from her. And Bill Hader cleans up with fear, bringing the anxious tone of fear, while also providing that dry sarcasm.
For all the good this movie has there are a few quirks that took away from this movie. The first is a few of the jokes are beaten to death and lose their comedic intensity. In addition the trailers have also given you a lot of the funny moments, which for those who are heavy Disney watchers will be lost from the constant barrage of commercials. As a movie overall, Inside Out has some decent editing, but there are times where the editing needed to be tweaked. The ending of the movie was very drawn out at times, and lacked suspense for me because of the obvious ending to come. I would have liked them to sacrifice some of the prolonged and slower scenes, and give us some glimpses at the personality islands they kept bragging about, or perhaps more time in the darker recesses of the mind. Diving into that creativity may have offset the predictability a bit, and played to the strengths of this movie more.
Overall I was impressed with Inside Out and loved to see Pixar’s classic performance shine once more. Audience members of all ages are sure to enjoy this film, with the younger generations laughing in high shrills and the older appreciating the emotional side of things. It holds that creative magic we love of Disney, and keeps you entertained despite some of the longer moments. While not the best, Inside Out certainly shows promise for the studio’s future works and more fun adventures to be had. I would say it is worth a trip to the theater for any age group and strongly recommend you see this film.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 8.0