Sunday, September 6, 2015

Inside Out - Review

Hidden within the mind of a girl named Riley are her five emotions: Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust, and Sadness. These anthropomorphized figures work together in a base of operations and control Riley's thoughts and feelings, trying to do best for her well-being each and every day. However, a family move from Minnesota to San Francisco causes much confusion among the emotions, eventually causing an accident that sends Joy and Sadness into the recesses of her mind. The two stranded beings must get back to their headquarters before further dismay and damage are inflicted. INSIDE OUT is a return to form for Pixar Studios after two disappointing features, some negative press coverage, and a noted less-than-pleasing brand strategy for the future. It harkens back to what made their films work: having heart and humor go hand in hand and telling stories that adults can relate to and kids can understand and be enriched by. The movie is utterly riddled with amazing ideas, taking in the full scope of our mental processes and bringing them to animated life in some shape and form. For example, memories are encapsulated as marbles; they can glow with a certain emotion, shine bright enough to be a core element to a person's character, or fade away in time. This plus so much more are wonderfully crafted by director Peter Docter and his amazing crew. There are sequences that range in sheer beauty, from a moment that mirrors the love of blissful motion to a mind-bending look at temporary imagination that pushes the boundaries of the Pixar art style. The voice actors are perfectly suited for their roles with Amy Poehler (Joy) and Phyllis Smith (Sadness) as the true standouts, since they both have the most scenes in the movie and expertly care the weight of some heavy subject matter.

Unfortunately, there are some aspects that prevents the film from being placed in the upper echelons, sharing space with the likes of WALL-E and THE INCREDIBLES. In the third act, Riley is forced, by her remaining emotions and the film's creators, into thinking that the best solution to the recent move is to run away from home. This real world plot is way too old-fashioned nowadays to take seriously, thus causing the climax to be severely lacking in tension. Even kids over the age of six viewing the movie would roll their eyes at this development. Further injuring the climax is the parallel action inside Riley, where the characters engage in a really odd last-minute scuffle that inadvertently pokes a noticeable hole into the entire story. I also was a bit ticked off that Joy didn't receive a little more comeuppance after somewhat being a bully throughout the majority of the movie and especially at one moment where she acts very much like a heel. Despite these reservations, they don't erase the fact that I was very much moved and impacted by INSIDE OUT. It delivers an unique message for all to share and may cause you to stream down both happy and sad tears. When you notice that you or someone else in the theater needs to bust out the tissues, you know that Pixar is back in the game. Well at least in features anyway, as the animated short preceding the film is incredibly lazy and totally unimpressive.


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