Articles, Film Reviews

Inside Out (2015)

If you’ve lived under a rock for the past twenty years, first things first: congratulations! How did you manage that? Now that we have that out of the way, I need to tell you about Pixar. Pixar is an animation company that combines the wonderful happiness of 80s-90s Disney (The Little MermaidThe Lion King, etc.) with the crippling sadness of 40s Disney (PinocchioDumbo, etc.).  They take traditional genre concepts like superhero movies and sci-fi odysseys and make films that shatter all preconceived notions of what the genre was capable of.  Also Cars 2, but nobody is perfect.

Inside Out is Pixar’s latest feature and I don’t know how much further I can go before saying it’s great.  Generally I try and hide my opinion on the movie until the third paragraph, but golly this movie is swell.  Personally, I prefer a film that delivers a variety of emotions, rather than just one (I’m looking at you, Lars von Trier) and Inside Out literally does that.  The movie personifies the emotions of an 11-year-old girl, and follows them on their quest to keep her stable.

“Oh no, Phil!” I hear you screaming, “Doesn’t that make the characters one dimensional and boring?”  Nay!  The writers of the film examine the different motivations of an emotion and masterfully craft them into fully developed characters.  Example: Joy.  While Joy is definitely joyful, she’s also manipulative and controlling.  Her blind optimism is almost tyrannical and causes problems for the rest of her emotion kin.

I generally try and balance these reviews with the good and the bad.  Here’s my issue with Inside Out: there’s really nothing wrong with it.  In the 24 hours since seeing it, I’ve been desperately trying to come up with something I disliked about it, and failing miserably.  There was a brief moment in the movie where I thought they were going to Deus Ex Machina out of a problem, but then I remembered rule 19 of Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling (a must read for any aspiring narrative writers) that says, “Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out are cheating.”  This is a guiding philosophy throughout the movie; no problems are easily fixed and the solutions are always surprising.

There are so many more wonderful things in this movie that I haven’t mentioned. The only way I could manage to do that would be to write the script of the movie word for word, and even then I don’t think I’d do it justice.  Inside Out is a great story, brought to life with great performances, and beautiful animation.  Pixar continues their tradition of showing up their live-action competition in virtually every way.

Quick Review: Pixar’s Inside Out isn’t a great “animated movie”; it’s a great movie, period.

Grade: A+


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