by Adam Riske
Inside Out is the type of movie that is almost review proof. I’m in awe of the ingenuity and creativity it takes to put together something like this. On their best days, the people at Pixar are miracle workers and their latest is close to one of their finest hours. If I had anything negative to say about Inside Out, it would be that the movie is so imaginative and inventive that it, at times, exhausted me but that was mainly because it cut back and forth between the lead character’s story and that of her emotions. It’s a case at times of too much of a good thing. Other than that, the movie is an unquestionable success in almost every area. It’s not a matter of whether Inside Out is good or bad, but only to what degree did you like the movie. If you think this is a bad movie, you are flat out wrong in that opinion. It’s a sensitive and magical work.
It might seem like from the previous paragraph that I loved Inside Out, and yet I don’t love it -- not yet, at least. Instead, I really enjoyed it and respect the hell out of it. The movie, for me, didn’t hit the emotional heights of the first two Toy Story movies or Finding Nemo or Ratatouille, but that’s ok. I still cried during Inside Out. We’re talking about a great movie here that I probably don’t love as much as some of the other Pixar classics because it is so new to me (I just saw it the day of this writing). This is the type of movie that begs repeat viewings to take in all of its greatness.
On a technical level, Inside Out is amazing. The animation is colorful and vibrant, the voice cast is excellent (especially Richard Kind as Bing Bong, who just broke my heart and ranks up there with my favorite characters in the Pixar cannon) and directors Pete Doctor (Up, Monsters Inc.) and Ronaldo Del Carmen create beautiful compositions for things like Riley’s core memories as to give a simple visual realization to more complex ideas. It’s very economical visual storytelling that eases the viewer into Riley’s mindset in a non-fussy way. This is a movie that could have very easily been up its own ass and it refreshingly never is. I also appreciate that the movie doesn’t devolve into third act action nonsense, which happens sometimes with the studio. Of Peter Doctor’s directorial efforts with Pixar, I think this is possibly my favorite. He tells the story with such confidence that I find myself really admiring it. He is also a filmmaker who respects the audience’s intelligence. Inside Out never feels dumb or targeted at kids, which might be one reason I think the movie will work better for adults than it will for children. There are some complex things happening in this movie that I don’t think anyone under 10 will be able to grasp.
Monsters University are evidence that the studio has lost a step or two or is on the decline. This makes me all the more thankful for Inside Out. I’m glad that this movie is so great that it can only be classified as an undisputed success as to re-establish Pixar as the top animation house working in movies today.
I'm so incredibly happy that this movie is setting Pixar back on the right track (hopefully for the foreseeable future) in a big way. The movie is so touching, moving, funny, relatable, layered and interesting that it easily falls among my favorites that the studio has ever produced. You're right, it's everything I could ever want in a movie like this and more. I loved it, and that love has only grown as time has passed since seeing it.ReplyDelete
What did you think of Lava; the short before the movie?Delete
Sorry I didn't see this earlier, but I think I agree with the consensus I see. I felt I t was cute, but just not their best.Delete
I really loved Inside Out. I felt like they were able to explain all the inner workings of the movie world (the girl's brain) with far less exposition than say something like Inception.ReplyDelete
I am not a fan of Lava, while gorgeous, I felt it was too simplistic and overly cute.
I agree about Lava. I've liked a lot of their other shorts better. Admittedly though that volcano might as well have just been me so I didn't like that part of it. Hit too close to home :-)Delete
Great review - what would you say separates this movie from the classic television show, "Herman's Head"?ReplyDelete
I should say "separate the premise of this movie".Delete
Nothing. This is exactly like Herman's Head :-)Delete
"Lava" isn't the best short Pixar has produced, but then again, any short coming from a Disney studio has to live up to "Feast" (the one before "Big Hero 6") and that's a pretty tall order. You gotta agree, though, that given the type of feature that "Inside Out" is "Lava" does a great job of putting you in the mindset of what's to come with its sad-but-uplifting story and melancholic-but-sweet repetitive song. I don't think I'd ever want to see "Lava" on its own, but attached to "Inside Out" it's an appetizing hors-d'oeuvre before the main course about to come.ReplyDelete
I'm more in awe of the premise of "Inside Out" and how mostly well executed the presentation of that premise is than of the actual movie or any character besides Riley. A lesser studio would have, somehow, made Riley aware of the voices in her head and play that dynamic for a more fantastical, over the top Hollywood adventure. Instead we get an intimate epic whose biggest strength is how anyone can relate to it. I haven't stopped looking at kids when I walk down NYC streets imagining what their four emotions are thinking/doing inside their heads. It feels weird to hear Lewis Black's voice saying 'Mom' and 'Dad' in his 'Anger' voice, and I genuinely disliked Phyllis Smith's Sadness (we're supposed to hate her, right?) for being the artificial cause of the adventure she and Joy find themselves in. Gotta hand it to Amy Poehler, though, I had no idea it was her while "Inside Out" played because she gives Joy a style that isn't just Amy's regular voice we know from TV.
This is the first movie in a long, long time (since "Titanic" and "United 93" actually) in which I could actually hear grown-ups behind me in the theater loudly sobbing and crying. Had a good time with this one.
Really liked this movie a lot. It had a clever, inventive idea and I really liked the casting choices for each of the emotions--especially Lewis Black as anger. I completely agree with Richard Kind's performance as Bing Bong: the highlight of the film for me. My only complaint would be that it felt a little short and I would have gladly welcomed an additional half hour or so.ReplyDelete
Considering Black's kind of rant-y angry man schtick in his comedy, I thought his casting was a brilliant idea. All of the voice casting was spot on, really.Delete
(I haven't seen Inside Out yet, but based on all the enormously positive buzz it seems Pixar still has the potential to be just as great as they were).ReplyDelete
1) I find your notion that this movie can't be disliked kind of pretentious, let people form their own opinions on movies even if they don't agree with yours.
2) While this film is successful, I disagree strongly on Monster's University; in my opinion, the film was utterly devoid of the originality and invention that characterizes Pixar successes like Inside Out; in fact, it had no originality period, since literally aside from having cgi monsters it was a lazy clone of college movies like Revenge of the Nerds, minus any charming novelty or humor. I found the message at the end douchey as well, that basically Mike should have listened to the jerks who told him he couldn't reach his goals. Obviously, Brave and Cars 2 were very poor, especially compared to the studio's previous output.
And yes, I do think Pixar is on the decline; Good Dinosaur looks like an unispired Ice Age clone (of all things to knock off), and the fact that we're getting a Finding Dory, a freaking Toy Story 4, and Cars 3 (they have no shame) shows that they've short on originality and quality control.
I wasn't going to say anything, but I have to agree with my friend anonymous here on his first point. I know it was probably meant to be humorous or something, but I think it's dangerous to call other people's opinions "wrong." Opinions can't be wrong, no matter how much you may disagree with them. I'm sorry, that phrasing just bothers me. :-/Delete
I could have phrased it better. I can't think of anything people would object to in Inside Out but to say they're wrong for not liking it was going too far.Delete
Wonderful review, Riske. It made me want to go out and watch the movie (it wasn't playing at the theater nearest me and would have required an extra 15 miles). I just finished and think it's one of Pixar's best efforts. I'm especially happy that they went with an original story instead of another sequel. The cuts between the inner emotions and what's going on outside were so natural and something I think other studios would have botched up. I'm not sure how kids would like this one either, even with the shenanigans going on at the same time; it's probably a movie that you'd have to be at least 16 to appreciate fully, and it seems to be targeted more at the parents in the audience than anything else. Bing Bong was just heartbreaking and the main characters were perfectly cast, with the possible exception of Sadness. The solution was inspired and not something I saw coming and I love how the emotions were all trying to protect Riley in whatever way they could using the tools they had on hand.ReplyDelete
Thanks Linda D! Really happy you liked it :-)Delete
I saw this movie the other night with two of my three small children. I can't really explain how much I loved this movie. I started crying at Lava and didn't really completely stop until the end credits. I thought Lava was tremendous and I've listened to it a few more times since then. I don't really remember the other shorts so that shows how much they've stuck with me. The message of this movie is so brilliant it is making me tear up trying to write it. You always want to protect your children and all you want them to be is happy. But they can't always be happy. They have to feel all the emotions and work through them. That makes them who they are. Maybe being a parent has made me a huge softy but oh well. It is a masterpiece. If you don't like this movie, you are dead inside and may God have mercy on your soul.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed this movie. It was creative and intelligent in it's design and storytelling. It had a great message. I'm glad you mentioned in your review that it's better for older children. I watched with my 3 and 5 year old. I think the content was a bit much to grasp for them, and that just leaves them with sadness. I'm not sure why I haven't seen anyone mention that this movie is made up almost entirely of sad moments. Despite some comedic lines and moments we sit and watch Riley's entire world literally fall apart inside and out for the first 2/3 of the movie. My 5 year old said she enjoyed it, but throughout the movie she constantly asked "what's wrong" "how will they get out of that" "what's going to happen" because every time it started to get positive it took another dark turn. If you can grasp what is going on though it all makes sense and is kind of genius and wonderful.ReplyDelete
I was listening to a local sports radio show and they were talking about Inside Out. They described the audience of children (after it was over) as having the look that "something bad just happened".Delete
I suspect the viewer's background will influence their reaction. My childhood as a middle child of a schizophrenic and an alcoholic made a lot of the scenes difficult. The idea of parental support is painful, and I am by no means alone in that.ReplyDelete
Great review, Adam - I'm really with you on this one - I don't LOVE it (or maybe didn't at first but now I do?), but I really liked it and I'm definitely in awe of it. I think my viewing experience was partially hurt by the fact that, coming off of The End of the Tour I was maybe feeling overly-philosophical about how they were treating Sadness and kept thinking "you better make this right in the end" which, of course, they did. And holy shit was I floored by how moved I was to see the moment of a child discovering the bittersweet and that sometimes your happiest memories can make you sad (and that's okay!). So relieved - and I never should have doubted it - that it wasn't just about Joy getting her groove back and putting that downer Sadness back in her place. Hmm, I think maybe I do love it.ReplyDelete