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.