“Congratulations San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza!” – Inside Out Review

Inside Out

I’ve got three words – damn you Pixar 😥

Yes, damn you.  I’ve seen this film twice and not only is it fantastic, but you played with my emotions!

Sorry folks, guess anger briefly took over my opening statement for this review.  But I can wholeheartedly say that Inside Out is a highly inventive film that deserves praise.

“Do you ever look at someone and wonder, “What is going on inside their head?” Well, I know. Okay, I know Riley’s head.” – Joy

Inside Out is pretty much what you expect from recent Pixar films – brilliant characters, a heartfelt story and a guaranteed good time.  There won’t be any surprises in that territory, especially if you’re a fan of their work.

But after watching this film, you can tell the makers did their research.  Whilst you should always further your knowledge, Inside Out could be argued as being a good starting block in understanding psychology and how the mind works.

Inside Out presents a visual and creative outlook in explaining how memories work and function without sounding too technical or getting itself bogged down by the science.

All memories are represented in the film as spherical marbles.  They change colour depending on the type of emotion and offer an instant replay of the moment.  The film has a perfect balance, dealing with elements such as long term and short term memories, REM, memory dumps and sub-concious memories.  My personal favourites are the train of thought (represented as an actual train), abstract thought which allowed Pixar animators a chance to do something non-traditional with the animation and the dream production which looks like a Hollywood film making studio.

These concepts might gloss over a young child’s mind to appreciate but to an adult it makes sense in a imaginative way.

The islands of personality is treated like theme park attractions.  Family island, Imagination Land, Hockey Island, Honesty Island and Friendship Island all become the integral characteristics of Riley’s (Kaitlyn Dias) personality.

Key to making everything work in Riley’s mind is her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith).  All the emotions share a console and have to work together to help Riley survive the day and challenging moments in her life.  In Inside Out, her emotions go through the ultimate test when Riley is uprooted from her home in Minnesota and moves to San Francisco.

Riley has to get used to a lot of new things – new house, new school, new friends whilst keeping her emotions in check.  Fear, Disgust, Anger and Sadness become more dominant and Joy (for the first time) struggles to keep the harmony as parts of Riley’s personality starts to collapse.

The film reaches its critical point when Sadness and Joy come into confrontation with each other.  Joy discovers that Sadness can taint Riley’s happy core memories.  Being naturally protective in order to keep Riley constantly happy, she tries as much as possible to keep Sadness away from them.  But it’s all in vein and Sadness and Joy are accidentally jettisoned out of the control room, transporting the emotions on an epic journey through Riley’s mind.  As Riley’s mental state deteriorates, Joy and Sadness must navigate the difficult hurdles in order to restore the harmony and balance.

Just like any Pixar film, expect to be entertained and be hit with the emotions, especially when Bing…

[quietly sniffs]

Sorry – not sure what happened there.  Let me start again…especially when Bing…

😥 😥 😥 😥

Especially when Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Riley’s imaginary friend comes along for the ride – a weird yet childlike amalgamation of an elephant, a cat and a dolphin.  He lies dormant in Riley’s consciousness, hoping one day to fulfil his promise and take her to the moon.

community-troy

I’m not crying…you’re crying!!! *runs off*

“Remember the funny movie where the dog died?” – Sadness

What possibly stops Inside Out from being the best Pixar movie ever made comes down to a few faults.

Can emotions have emotions?  As funny as that sounds I still feel it’s a valid question!  The film does take some creative liberties but it can be viewed as a bit confusing when you have additional emotions on top of the emotions they’re playing!

Joy is incredibly controlling as a character and all the other emotions depend on her for her guidance.  It’s easy to see why considering she was the first emotion to come on screen when Riley was born.  She’s our motherly narrator, therefore, there’s a sense of duty, responsibility and care for Riley and her well-being.  This might sound contradictory (especially after I made the point about emotions having emotions) but it’s her own lack of empathy and understanding towards the other emotions in the group that her personality comes off as a bit cold and unhelpful.  A little too focussed on herself, she fails to realise how important the other emotions are in the make up of Riley’s personality.  For example, she looks upon Sadness as if she’s the black sheep of the group, causing the mess they’re in.  Of course it’s understandable in relation to the plot and during the course of the film it becomes a new-found quality which she eventually learns and begins to appreciate.

The film only deals with five emotions.  Again, for time sake, it’s understandable.  However you could argue that Riley was displaying some aspects of depression and to reduce Riley’s emotions to five makes it incredibly simplistic and basic for something complex and complicated.  If Riley was younger, five emotions would probably make sense but as she gets older, you expected more emotions to define her, even if they were introduced at the end of the film.

It also takes away any kind of responsibility from Riley herself.  She’s transitioning into a young adult and pretty much all her actions are dictated to by her emotions alone.  What happened to free will and one controlling their destiny and future?  Again it could be argued that the film takes a simplistic look at that aspect.

Is San Francisco all that bad?  The film certainly made it gloomy enough!

Nevertheless my negativity are just mere nitpicks because Inside Out is still worth watching.  Not only will you have a great time but it’s a bold experiment for animated film, especially if you are looking for some originality.  Visually you can’t fault it and Michael Giacchino’s score is beautiful and simplistically on point.

While it simplifies a lot of those complexities I mentioned, as far as the morality of the story goes, it’s nice to see a story embrace those emotional qualities.  It achieves that through brilliant comedic timing and some genuine heartfelt moments.

Sometimes you have to experience something sad to get the best days of your life and Inside Out is a brilliant reminder of that.

Author: Kelechi Ehenulo

Creator and writer of Confessions From A Geek Mind. Loves sci-fi and LEGO - couldn't ask for a better combo!

13 thoughts

  1. This instantly shot up as one of my favorite Pixar films. The animation is gorgeous and the message can be understood by both children and adults. I think if this had come out when I was a kid, I would still have enjoyed it but I wouldn’t have appreciated the film as a whole as I did watching it as an adult *cringes at calling myself an adult*. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all grow up sometime 😀
      My favourite Pixar film is The Incredibles and I would rank Up and Wall-E highly. Inside Out would be somewhere up there but it gets difficult because each Pixar film is that enjoyable.

      Like

      1. It’s funny I’m not really a huge Finding Nemo fan. It’s strange – it’s a good film but never captured my attention like The Incredibles or Wall-E. Nice choice on Toy Story, I always have time for that film and I still have it on VHS! But Up and Toy Story 3 I would put it higher up on my list because of the sheer emotions it has. Both films felt very grown up which I guess I identify more with. There’s no doubt about it, Pixar know how to play with your emotions lol.

        Might have to do a top ten Pixar film list in the future!

        Like

      2. Ha! I suddenly feel so old but on the other hand, this young generation will never grasp the magical experience of a VHS tape 😀

        I still have The Lion King on VHS – will never let that go!

        Like

      3. Old is just a state of mind. 😛 They won’t! If you had a favorite part, you had to manually find it, you couldn’t just go directly to it. It was a magical time. That’s awesome! The Lion King is another great film to have on VHS. Never, ever let that go.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I wish movie studios would go back to that style of trailers. It was nice when I could watch a trailer and not know everything that was going to happen in the film before I watched it.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Would love that as well. I can’t stand teasers for a teaser trailer. If a trailer is strong enough you don’t need a teaser for a teaser trailer. Back in the day trailers weren’t perfect and revealed everything! But these days it feels like no one wants to be genuinely surprised anymore. Sad times. Least Pixar strikes the right balance with their trailers for their films.

        Like

Don't Be Shy - Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s