Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle McLachlan, and more.
Directed by: Peter Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen Story by: Peter Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen Screenplay by: Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and Pete Docter Music by: Michael Giacchino
Premise: Riley’s inner emotions thought life was great and couldn’t get better – until the family makes a sudden move from Minnesota to San Francisco. Joy, the leader of Riley’s emotions, tries to keep everything cheerful and happy, though more and more things start to go wrong. When Sadness’s touch suddenly starts turning Riley’s happy core memories blue and Joy tries to stop it, everything escalates when the core memories accidentally get swept up and away. Caught along with the core memory spheres, Joy and Sadness struggle to get the memories back to HQ as Riley’s internal structure, that which makes Riley Riley, starts collapsing. (Rated PG)
1) Voice Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Pixar chose a great cast not only for the humans in the film, but for their emotions as well. Amy Poehler is perky and very peppy as Joy. Phyllis Smith oozes her Sadness. Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling are a blast as Fear, Anger, and Disgust. It is Richard Kind you have to watch out for though, as he pulls at your insides as Riley’s old imaginary friend, Bing Bong.
2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: As they’ve shown over and over again, Pixar knows animation. The whole concept of personifying our emotions and making each of them distinct was a challenge they handled quite well. Each emotion had it’s own physical traits and even textures. As we meet other denizen’s inside Riley, the variations increase. Bing Bong, as an imaginary friend, was given multiple textures, which are fun to figure out.
There’s also a close up of Joy late in the film where you can see her hair is something different than what you thought, and her skin is more like fairy dust, and looked amazing! (I have a secret theory she’s an in-joke tying back to Disney’s Tinker Bell, but have no proof. Fear and Anger are possibly based on others as well, though I’ve not been able to track down my memory balls on them yet. Yay for homage!)
As always, Pixar pays a great amount of attention to detail. Be it animated versions of San Francisco or the awesome Cloud City inside Imagination Land. The shortcut to the train station and what happens inside the abstract room made for some fun art choices.
The whole concept and setup for Riley HQ and how the audience is introduced to the wonders of the job as Joy meets Riley after she’s born were nicely done. Loved how Joy and the audience discover what happens to memory as Riley gets her first happy moment – visible joy, what a treat!
There were some nice understated bits of information that were shared in the animation. While bits probably easily picked up by our subconscious, they might not pass you by. Pay close attention to Riley’s team and then the teams for her father and mother. Subtle clues of the lessons Riley’s team must learn that her parent’s teams already have. Also, note the leaders in each group and their expressions and mannerism, speaking of different levels of confidence, and even of their very essence and how none are exactly the same. Well done!
The animated short before the main film was very cute. It’s called LAVA.
3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: One of the fun things about Pixar and several other animation companies is how they’ve adopted the Japanese philosophy that animation is a medium that can be used to tell stories to people of all ages. The one thing Pixar has definitely mastered is the multiple level set up, where you make it fun and bright and fast for the kids, but also deep, layered, and fun for the adults as well.
A ton of themes are woven into the plot – family, hardships, growing up, teamwork, nostalgia, assumptions and how they can be wrong, taking things for granted, being forgotten, and more. All these themes dive and merge and separate much like they do in real life, which gives them a high resonance factor with the audience. Especially to the adults, as they’ve been on both sides of the equation.
They don’t have you weeping openly by the first five minutes like “UP”, but the time does come. So, if you tend to cry at movies, take some tissues with you. You’ll need them!
At first glance the plot for “Inside Out” seems straight forward, but it’s not. Lots of lovely surprises, humor, and fun.
Conclusion: “Inside Out” is another great addition to the Pixar lineup. Lots of fun for the kids as well as angst and fun for the adults. They poke fun at all sorts of things. Definitely worth watching! And stay through the first half of the credits. Watching other people’s and animal emotion groups is a hoot!
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)
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