Thursday, June 18, 2015

Inside Out Review: Creative, Complex and a True Pixar Film

Pixar has been an animated studio rich with creativity. Whether they were showing us the life of toys in Toy Story, exploring the depth of the sea in Finding Nemo or taking moviegoers to new heights in Up, Pixar has proven that their films are must see movies. However, in the past few years, the studio has seen a bit of decline. While their recent have not been bad, it feels Pixar has been lacking in their spark of creativity. Fortunately, their newest film has a chance of getting Pixar out of this slope as the newest addition to the studio shows moviegoers the voices in someone's head. This film is Inside Out and it shows us a new meaning the idea of emotions and they affect a personality. Directed by Peter Docter, Inside Out looked like a movie that had Pixar was going back to basics; but could the creativity of Inside Out become a new hit for the animation studio?

The plot of Inside Out takes place inside the head of Riley Anderson (Kaitlyn Dias) as Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) shape the young girl's personality. However things get turned upside down when Joy and Sadness are sucked outside of headquarters after Riley develops changes in her memories. With the three other personalities trying to maintain stability, Joy and Sadness must race back to hq before Riley does something drastic.



The story of Inside Out certainly shows off Pixar's strongest traits. The studios have been known for taking simple ideas and making something creative out of them; and Inside Out is no exception. The concepts presented in this story are rich with imagination. In fact the plot left me wondering whether or not our personalities really are formulated as they are in this movie. Along with the story's simplistic concept and ideas was a matter of complexity. The main conflict to the plot deals with Riley moving to San Francisco and how she handles with the changes. The idea of life changes was a rather mature theme to deal with, but I felt that the filmmakers handled it very well. The plot to Inside Out did use elements that I found familiar to other Pixar films such as Joy and Sadness journeying back to their home. However thanks to the story's concepts and its pacing, the familiar elements did not feel rehashed as the plot of Inside Out was refreshing to sit through.

The cast of Inside Out were quite colorful and were certainly fitting for the movie. It is definitely hard to have characters based on emotions as there is chance that they could come off as two dimensional. Luckily the emotions of Riley did not suffer from this issue. Though each center on their characteristics, each of the emotions had the right amount of development and actors' performances were perfect for their designated character. Obviously Joy had the most development. At times, Joy's progression was similar to that of Woody from Toy Story. However, the conflict for Joy was understandable as it was fitting for both the character and the story. The characters inside Riley's head gave the young girl a strong presence that I could not help but relate too and root for. Along with the main cast was a strong supporting group of characters such as Riley's parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan). However the real show-stealer in the ranks of the supporting characters was the imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind). Normally a character like Bing Bong would just be used for comic relief; which he was. However there was truly something special about Bing Bong, and Richard Kind truly gave it his all in his performance. Whether it was the main cast, supporting characters or cameos, the cast of Inside Out was dynamic and worthy of any great animated feature.

I cannot say where Inside Out's animation stands with its predecessors, but there is no denying that this element was fantastic. The animation showed off the film's creativity. The models for the emotions were unique to say the least; and the imagination behind the film led to several creative sequences; particularly the abstract thought scene. Along with the movie's beautiful music was its awe inspiring score from Michael Giacchino. Though he has his subtle moments, I have always know Giacchino's scores for be bombastic and epic. However most of Inside Out's music was subtle as some of the best tracks was just a soothing tune from a piano. The music was quite refreshing as it not only created a touching melody, but it managed to express the creative nature behind Inside Out.

Inside Out was fabulous to the say the least; and (if I had not made myself clear) it was a very creative movie. The film takes a simple idea and makes it complex; all while staying true to the genuine nature of storytelling. With great characters and terrific animation, Inside Out proves that a movie like this is not just for one demographic as it is truly for anyone. Because of this, Inside Out is not only one Pixar's best movies since Up, but unless something steps up later this year: Inside Out is undoubtedly the best animated feature of 2015.