Going to try and be pretty vague in this review, but there may be some very MINOR spoilers.
Title: Inside Out
Genre: Animated, Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Voice Cast: Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Mindy Kaling
Question: This seems to be a tough and original concept to fully grasp. Can Pixar make a story where emotions are the stars work?
When I first heard about this movie. I thought Pixar had lost its mind. I kept asking. What is this movie about? Emotions? How will this work? It was a strange, but interesting concept to me. Pixar has good history, but there are by no means perfect.
A young family of three move from their beloved Minnesota home to the bustling streets of San Francisco. Now the young girl, Riley, must adapt to her changing world and the flood of emotions it is causing at a pivotal time in her life. Meanwhile, her emotions are trying to keep this stressful situation in check. Things go wrong and an imaginative adventure follows.
What I didn’t like
From my POV, I can’t really fault the movie on much. It had everything I expected and more. It didn’t dumb things down for children. However, there are moments where the film became much too clever for children. That they got into heavy ideas about thought and the workings of the human brain. Things that would take kids out of the movie and maybe even bore or frighten them.
This animated movie often works for a younger audience, but I feel the older viewers are going to get the most out of it.
The characters are a bit rigid, but that’s because of the very design of the film. For example, Joy is happy, just about all the time, Sadness is sad. They don’t convey very much beyond the emotion they represent. I can’t really call that a flaw in this movie because the characters are meant to work like that, they are emotions, not too complex.
For people who don’t love animated movies, I can see this film getting a bit boring. This is not for the casual animated movie fan. This movie is for hardcore animation lovers and children (7-16 yr olds).
What I liked
Just about every aspect of this movie worked for me.
I laughed at its humor most of the time. I was intrigued with how it depicted complicated thoughts, imagination, dreams, and theories about the human psyche. There were moments that made me tear up.
There was a valuable lesson that I think all audiences should be able to understand and consider within their own lives.
The quality of the animation was top-notch as far as Pixar goes. (Pixar has a unique look and it works brilliantly for them. This movie doesn’t try to break new ground animation wise, but uses what it has already mastered exceptionally well.)
The emotions are voiced by a talented cast. There is some conflict between them which is natural. I like how they work together and yet don’t.
The lesson at the end is really cool. Very realistic and valuable to understand. There is some character development with the main emotion character named Joy. She learns something new and I really like the concept they present to the audience.
This movie doesn’t dumb itself down. The humor was a bit silly at times, but it was never dumb, slapstick, or crude.
By far the best animated film I’ve seen so far in 2015 and after viewing the trailers for many of the other animated films of 2015, I doubt anything is going to top this movie.
Did Pixar make this unique concept work? Yes, absolutely. It was original, heartwarming, and entertaining throughout. Worthwhile for the younger audience, and mature enough for the older crowd. Well done, Pixar. Well done indeed.