I believe this is one of Pixar’s best works yet!
In August myself and some friends went to watch the widely anticipated Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. Unfortunately in this reviews and previews I won’t be able to comment much on the short Lava that appeared at the beginning due to turning up just a smidge late, but luckily I was just in time for the beginning of the film.
Now before I start, yes there will be spoilers but what’s a review without it!
The story of inside Out is so simple and takes complex topics in psychology and puts them into familiar concepts and imagery that even kids could understand. I was extremely surprised by how mature Inside Out was and I have to admit there were moments that made me cry. Twice.
Getting into a quick summary of the story line, Riley is the central character and she appears from the very moment of her birth into the world. From here we are then introduced to her mind and the vibrant Joy, with sadness not too far behind. Through a montage of milestones in Riley’s life as she grows up in the picturesque Minnesota, We become acquainted to anger, disgust and fear and their daily tasks in headquarters that involve controlling Riley’s actions and emotional responses through the control console.
Joy as Riley’s main emotion and is always working to keep Riley happy and I felt it came off as quite controlling at the beginning. Unfortunately it comes at the cost of Joy seriously undermining sadness’s purpose in Riley.
The key thing to remember is that Riley’s most important memories are stored as core memories and these hold together 5 islands that make up her personality traits.
Fast forward to pre-teen riley, she gets word that herself and parents will be packing up and moving to hustling and bustling San Fran, and this is where the story launches off. With Sadness constantly touching memories and making them sad, it isn’t long that devastation comes to Headquarters as Joy and Sadness are sucked down to the labyrinth of long term memories and are tasked with the mission to get back to Headquarters with Riley’s Missing core memories before all 5 islands are destroyed.
I really enjoyed the story and it’s characters, everyone had a time to shine and were each given a generous amount of screen time. What I loved the most of Inside Out was its story as simple as it was so much adventure and vibrancy was in it and I wholeheartedly believe you have become a master at storytelling once you can articulate a simple story in such an interesting and fresh way.
While I loved Inside Out and I believe it is for all ages, just as Wall-E missed the mark for appealing to kids under 5, I fell like inside Out will be just a bit too grown up for anyone in pre-school to really appreciate. While the characters themselves are appealing and will be parent’s must buys for their kids, I won’t be surprised if Inside Out would be something that completely sweeps over the heads of their children.
The animation made me reminiscent of the old cartoons I would watch on cartoon network such as Tom and Jerry and Road Runner. The movements of the characters are really exaggerated and stretched. As shown in the clip of Riley’s First Day at School, which is my favourite scene, I loved Joy’s fast and cartoon like movements. I instantly thought, wow they must have really stretched the rig for this! It felt like I was being taken to class on the 12 principles of animation with extra doses of stretch and pull and not too much that it feels awkward but finds it place in the nature of the world that they are in.
I was happy to read that the animation style of the emotions were very much done to reflect that of Tex Avery and Chuck Jones, Animator’s responsible for the likes of the Looney Tunes. From the stomping of anger to the slumps of sadness the animation is extremely well done and representative of the emotions. I by far loved how the particles were subtle but noticeable in their animation, dispersing and trailing off after them in movements that were fast paced.
When I first saw the designs of the emotions from a teaser, I have to admit I wasn’t too fond of them, from far they looked like weirdly furry things. But there is nothing like a trip to the cinema to change your perception, with a much larger and closer look; I realised how wrong I was to assume that there wasn’t much thought in the design. The little particles that disperse from these characters are gorgeous in close ups! Even Joy’s eyebrows look like they are glittering! The attention to detail is superb and the types of design they explore when Bing Bong, Joy and Sadness get stuck in abstract thought seeing them turn from Picasso-esque 3D block models to 2D drawings and then the final stage of being reduced to shapes that represent themselves such as a star and teardrop was definitely a highlight as it was a very funny moment.
While watching the film I wanted to take particular notice to how much music affects a scene and the progression of the story. The delicate notes of suspense and the rapturous Bing Bong Song. While I can’t comment much on musical scores that swept me of my feet, from the little I know of sound design it was something to really pay attention to and note how it changes your overall understanding of a scene.
Inside Out is an emotive piece of work that hits home with slices of wit and drops of universal experience. It is about change and how we as people adjust to it. How every emotion that we experience has its place and time in our lives. Inside Out explores the damage that can be done from ignoring our emotions and not letting them have their place and time, while it would be daring to wallow in sadness it can also be exhausting to always appear happy. While most of us would love to be joyful any and everyday, sometimes it is ok to feel Sad.