Saturday, June 20, 2015

Movie Review: Inside Out

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Pixar doing what they do best, telling a great and creative story
Cons: Not all light and fun, but everything fits together perfectly
The Bottom Line:
Brilliant idea
Emotions as characters
Executed well

You Will Experience Joy While Watching Inside Out

While I have continued to enjoy Pixar’s movies, it’s been a couple of years since they had one that really stood out and was something unique and special.  I’m happy to say that’s just what we get with Inside Out.  This is a film that you’ll be talking about and enjoying for a long time to come.

We spend most of this movie inside the brain of Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias).  Our guide to her brain is Joy (Amy Poehler), Riley’s lead emotion.  Joy makes sure that Riley is always feeling upbeat no matter what is happening in her life.  Okay, so there are some other emotions in Riley’s brain, but Joy is the dominant one.

All that changes when Riley’s family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.  Suddenly, Riley is at a loss in this new town where she knows no one.  And, to complicate matters, Sadness (Phyllis Smith) is taking over memories without even trying.  When Joy and Sadness accidentally get stuck outside the master control center, they have to find their way back.  Meanwhile, Riley’s other emotions try to fill in for Joy.  Will Joy make it home in time to keep Riley from doing something really bad?

As you might have guessed from that description, this movie isn’t all laughs.  There are some pretty serious moments, too, so be prepared for that going into the film.  But actually, that fits into the theme of the film nicely.  I’m not going to get into that any more so I don’t spoil anything, but I really did like the point the film was ultimately making.

Parents will want to know that Riley does make some bad choices in the film.  But, they are all treated as such by the story.  Just know that going in, and be prepared to talk to your kids afterwards.  The film is rated PG, and it’s a very mild PG film, so there is nothing too bad in it.

Boy, this is sounding like a downer.  Let’s fix that because this really is a funny movie.  There are lots of laughs at situations that Joy finds herself in or how Riley is reacting to what is going on inside her head.  No, we don’t see too much of the other character’s thoughts, although when we do, that is hysterical as well.  Speaking of which, watch the scenes as the credits begin for some more great laughs.

And the creativity that Pixar has always been known for is in full display here.  The places that Joy and Sadness go on their journey home are absolutely brilliant and so much fun.  No, I’m not spoiling anything here either, but trust me, you’ll love it.

Everything builds to one of Pixar’s patented climaxes that will no quit.  Okay, so it’s not as full blown as Toy Story, for example, but there are plenty of complications along the way as everything begins to come together.  And yes, they do a wonderful job of setting things up early in the film.  This is storytelling at its best.  Writer/director Pete Docter and his team deserve full credit for that.  (Pete has already directed my two favorite Pixar films, Monsters, Inc., and Up.)

Complementing the story perfectly is the voice talent.  I’m not super familiar with anyone in the cast, but they are all perfect at bringing their characters to life.  Heck, Sadness gets some wonderful laughs, and you know that comes from great acting.

The animation is wonderful as well.  Obviously, most of it is stylized, but the style always fits what is happening to the characters or where they are perfectly.  And the few glamour shots they have in the film are breath taking as always.

Opening with this film in the theater is the short “Lava.”  The animation here is stunning, and the story and song are great fun.  You’ll love it.

Pixar truly has knocked it out of the park with Inside Out.  You will laugh, you might shed a tear or two, and you’ll appreciate your emotions that much more.  It truly is a winner all the way around.

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