Pixar Review 18: Inside Out

inside out6Feeling a little emotional guys?  I am because I’m so happy at the amazing movie I just saw!  I LOVED Pixar’s latest movie- Inside Out.  I know it sounds like hyperbole but it may be my favorite Pixar movie.  Yes, it may even be better than my beloved Up.  I really believe that is true.

Inside Out is great in every way.  I loved the characters, world, humor, story, everything.  There is nothing I would change.  If you are expecting criticism in this review you will be sorely disappointed.

I am going to do my best to keep this review spoiler free.  My thought is to then go back in a couple of weeks, once most you have seen it, and post a spoiler review about the small details and goings-on of the plot.

Basically the story of Inside Out is about a girl named Riley (love that Pixar picked a girl).  She is a happy 11 year old who is still a little girl and hasn’t grown out of making monkey sounds with her Dad and being goofy.

inside out12Unfortunately Riley’s parents are moving her from her hometown of Minnesota to San Francisco, California.   This naturally brings up a lot of emotions for a young girl and in this movie those emotions look like…

inside out5In the world of the story our minds (not brains) are made up of a mission control of sorts that are run by our 5 emotions:

Joy voiced by Amy Poehler

Sadness voiced by Phyllis Smith

Fear voiced by Bill Hader

Anger voiced by Lewis Black

Disgust voiced by Mindy Kaling

All the voicework in Inside Out is first rate.  What I found so remarkable is these characters should be very one-note.  They are after all emotions.  This should make things very predictable, even grating, but they aren’t at all.  Sadness is an especially dynamic character and you come to realize that great relationship between joy and sadness in our lives. It’s brilliant.

inside out 17The world of the mind is not only staffed by emotions but also is the receptacle for all different kinds of memories.  The memories are little glass balls that glow with whatever emotion the memory entails (a happy memory being yellow for joy, fearful memory purple for fear etc).    There are also memories for data, long-term, short-term, even a hilarious joke of a song that you can’t get out of your head!

inside out8There are also core memories that are the most important for forming Riley.  Those core memories are then the supports for the personality islands.

inside out9Riley’s personality islands are goofball, honesty, family, friendship and hockey.  (I know this sounds complex but it really isn’t).

The 5 emotions are responsible for keeping all the memories in check, the islands floating, and making sure Riley is ok.  Unfortunately things go awry when the core memories are lost along with Joy and Sadness.  This creates a delightful parallel story between Riley who is all the sudden without the emotions to cope with this huge change and the journey of Joy and Sadness getting home and helping Riley.  Plus, Disgust, Anger and Fear have to try and manage Riley as best they can without Joy.

inside out 15
Riley speaking before her new class
inside out 10
Joy and Sadness lost in the department of long-term memory
inside out16
Anger, fear and disgust trying to keep things together.

Joy and Sadness end up going through imaginationland, as well as several other parts of Riley’s psyche and subconscious that I won’t spoil.  But along the way they meet an old imaginary friend of Riley’s called Bing Bong voiced by Richard Kind.  This was an unexpected, unpredictable and wonderfully dynamic character.

inside out11I’ll leave the rest of the plot for you to uncover on your own.  Let’s just say all the plot strands end up in an ending that is as good as the beginning of Up.  For real….

I cried, it made me think about my own emotions and feelings, and it made me laugh really hard.  Everything has layers in Inside Out including the jokes.  For example,  there may be a joke about the subconscious that may go over a kids head but anger getting red, fiery and steamed up will make them laugh- so something for everyone in nearly every scene.

One thing that Pixar does so well (and old school Disney did also) is take kids seriously and this movie does not ‘cutify’ Riley at all.  She is a real person with feelings and emotions that affect her family.  Seeing into her mind is the equivalent of seeing into her heart and it is a lovely place.  She is creative, different, normal and vulnerable.  We also get little peeks into the command centers of other characters.  They aren’t that different from Riley (again that respect for kids.  I love that).

inside out 14And like I said the ending is perfection.

From an animation standpoint it is stunning.  I loved the way the emotions were drawn so that they looked a little fuzzy at the edges, a little ephemeral. I think Riley and her parents are some of the best humans Pixar has done and the world with the memory globes is gorgeous.  There are scenes where we get into dimensions where the animation is astonishing and surprising and I loved the way they did the ‘memory dump’ and the almost charcoal like globes down there.

inside out4 The music by Michael Giacchino does the job but isn’t quite as good as the score for Up which is one of my favorites of all time.  It didn’t make me think of my Grandpa like Up did but I am thinking about what my core memories are.  We all have them.

And like I said all the voice performances are perfect.  The emotions should be one note and predictable but they aren’t.  Just like most emotions they are layered and complicated.

But again also very funny.  I laughed my head off.  I loved a scene where they found tiles of opinions and facts.  They get spilled and the conductor tells them ‘they often get mixed up”.  That’s the kind of humor we get all over the place (or pizza being on broccoli!).

Very rarely do I see a movie more than once in a theater.  The last time I did was Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is a top 10 movie for me (I saw it 3 times in a week…).  I guarantee you I will see Inside Out at least 4 times in the theater and will pre-order it on blu-ray as soon as I can.  I LOVED it.  I couldn’t wait to see it and now I can’t wait to see it again.

Your kids will love it.  You will love it.  It’s one of the greats.   This will definitely be my favorite movie of the year.  I can promise you that.

Overall Grade- A+

Here is my youtube review

42 thoughts on “Pixar Review 18: Inside Out

  1. I’d probably want to go see this in the theaters, but our Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, is starting tomorrow, and I generally try to abstain from watching films in Ramadan. So I’ll probably see this when it comes to DVD like usual.

    Wow, that Bing Bong character picture was unexpected, lol!

    There’s talk about with how well ‘Jurassic World’ is doing that ‘Inside Out’ may become the first Pixar film to not get the #1 spot on the weekend box office on its first weekend. What do you think?

    1. I hope you have a good Ramadan. It might be in the theater after a month. Like Cinderella was at my theaters until just a week ago, and I think Inside Out could have similar legs.

      None of the Pixar movies have gotten #2 spot? Interesting. As far as Jurassic World I knew it would do well but am a bit baffled by just how well it did. I know people have seen it now 2 or 3 times and I really don’t get that. I certainly think Inside Out deserves to be 1 but if we were going off of that scale than the Transformers movies would all be flops 😉 . The box office is a weird thing. If I was going to call it I think Inside Out because of the young kids factor and nothing else for them in theaters will be 1 and make 150 mil with Jurassic World doing the normal 50% cut for week 2 at 100 mil. But I’m terrible at predictions.

      But I do think it will be one of their most financially successful movies outside of the Toy Story films because they don’t really have any competition until Minions in July. Will it get the 1 billion mark of Toy Story 3? This year things are just so big that it might especially if it stays in the theater a long time like Frozen. I could picture it being in the top 10 through the end of the summer.

      Regardless it is a great movie! I hope it gets nominated for best picture not just animated film.

      1. Thanks for the Ramadan wishes!

        Usually every week, I make predictions as to what I think will be the top 3 in the weekend box office. But, I don’t predict how much I think the movie’s gonna make, just which will be #1, #2, and #3. So far this year, I think I’ve been right twice, lol. But, I do think Inside Out will beat Jurassic World. I feel everyone who wanted to see Jurassic World would have seen it the first weekend.

      2. So don’t let the fact it will be 2 cloud that it is a huge hit. 91 million dollars is most ever made opening weekend for an original film. The previous was Avaar at 77. It way outperformed most of the estimates I saw so I’m very pumped. I think it will have great legs too and will stay in the theater a long time like Cinderella or Frozen. It has no competition in the states for nearly a month when Minions comes out and early reviews from Asia are less than favorable on that one. Anyway it’s a big hit for Pixar. Hurray! http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/inside-out-pixar-box-office#.fqzpvP8pbj

  2. Reblogged this on Smilingldsgirl's Weblog and commented:

    Just wanted to share my Inside Out review with all of you. It is a really special movie. One that comes along every decade. Go see it with your whole family. You will love it!

    1. It’s so wrong. I tried to keep the review spoiler free but I get waiting. It’s so weird when movies like Avengers and Paddington open first in Britain and there is such a delay for Inside Out. What a bummer

  3. From my standpoint as a retired clinician, I’m glad you said that the characters aren’t one-dimensional, because the way they’re drawn is highly stereotypical: especially Sadness, who is not only blue, but also short, fat, pigeon-toed, and wearing glasses. My son who majored in psychology is a moviegoer, so he may have seen it, or may have plans to do so. I’ll be interested in hearing what he thinks.

    1. Yeah let me know what he thinks. I think the voice performances and the way they grow and interact with each other perhaps makes up for a somewhat predictable character design. I know you don’t go to the movies much but this may be one to give a shot. I loved it. Well, and in a way you want them to be easily identified as those emotions. It wouldn’t really work for instance to have sadness orange. She needs to be the stereotype but then build on that.

      1. Blue is appropriate for the Sadness character: It’s a long-standing tradition that has no attached value judgments. But not short, fat, pigeon-toed and wearing glasses. In this combination and context, those attributes only reinforce negative prejudice. It will take careful handling by the scriptwriters to navigate that minefield.

        For several years, my health has prevented me from going anywhere but to a doctor, a dentist, or to get my hair cut, so I’l have to wait for this one to come out in a home-theater format.

      2. I get what you are saying. I think they totally pull it off. In fact Sadness is kind of the hero of the story. I still see why they designed it the way they did wanting to create an easily identifiable character type but like I say it could have been so one note but it isn’t. I just saw it again and loved it even more.

        Sorry about your health. That’s rough. I’ll keep you in my prayers

      3. I’m looking forward to seeing it. Sometimes Psych-Son brings a movie when he comes to visit. Back when I was writing “Irish Firebrands,” he brought “Stranger than Fiction,” which I think was a not-so-subtle hint for me to get the book done! 😉 But it was another year or so before that story got done.

        Thank you for your kindness. My condition has become more brittle over the past month, so every prayer is greatly appreciated. 🙂

      4. Oh that’s too bad. I’m glad you have some family there to help you.
        I love Stranger than Fiction! Perfect movie to get you. I love the thought that if my life was a book would I want to read it and I love movies about work

  4. Great review. Encouraged by all the praise the movie is getting. Hopefully it doesn’t turn out to be another Mad Max situation. But on a side note, I agree, Perks of Being a Wallflower is a great movie.

    1. Yeah I went in with super high expectations and for me they were met (one of the rare instances). Mad Max was way out of my comfort zone where animation is in my wheelhouse so very different experience for me. Hope you like it.

      1. It was good, but I feel like something was missing but I don’t know what. The concept was used in an even more interesting way than I expected though.

      2. That’s an interesting combination of responses. I’m glad you liked it

    2. We should do some kind of collab sometime on Perks or other movies we both love. I’d like to do more of that with bloggers

      1. lol yea the combination is kind of confusing. the world that was created was awesome. the story is where i feel something was missing…but yeah that would cool thing to do

      2. Ive heard that from a few people. Story worked for me. Different strokes I guess

  5. I am so excited for this movie and it’s killing me a little that I have to wait til tomorrow afternoon to see it! You are not the first Disney blogger I’ve read who said it was possibly their favorite Pixar movie. That makes me even more excited!

    1. Good! It’s hard to imagine anyone disliking it although I’m sure there will be someone.

  6. Awesome review! I just saw this film earlier today and I got to say that I lived it a lot. I liked how it focused more on the emotion characters (which is interesting considering I thought it would focus more on the human characters). Oh, and I thought it was sad when SPOILER ALERT: Bing Bong has to stay in the like of charcoal in the pit. END OF SPOILERS. Anyway, great review once again! I give this film an A+ as well.

  7. Tonight I concluded my “Fortnight of Animation” with ‘Inside Out’, and it was a fantastic conclusion to a very successful project. My only regret is that I didn’t leave a comment here when I first saw the film, but honestly there was a LOT of layers to it that I wanted to peel back and mull on because I wanted to be sure of it’s quality. But now that I’ve had time to ruminate on it, I fully believe this has successfully joined the ranks of the other Pixar classics! 🙂

    More detail on the spoilers review.

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