INSIDE OUT REVIEW
Get ready for Pixar to play with your emotions again! Funny, endearing, it looks like another winner on the cards.
After young Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.
I will confess. I am a huge Pixar fan. I love how they are always able to make films that have something for every one. Telling simple and predictable stories in such complex and wonderful ways with humour, heart and fantastic animation. BUT that isn't to say they are perfect. Cars may have been watchable but it was certainly one of Pixar's weakest entries. I still haven't bothered to view the sequel. Unlike Toy Story and Monsters Inc.
Of course when going to the cinema, you don't just get a Pixar movie. Oh no! You have a delightful animated short first. Their latest offering? A Hawaiian sing song volcano short called Lava. BUT this time, it didn't do much to get things going. This musical interlude nearly put me into a lull before Inside Out had even begun. I can't believe I'm saying this but Lava was actually quite a drab affair.
The animation and visual design may have been beautiful BUT it was literally five to ten minutes of ukulele and two volcanoes falling in love. Awww. Nope. Funny enough, did anyone else notice that the male volcano bared a striking resemblance to Jabba the Hutt. BUT after the hilarious Geri's Game, the origins of Lupo the leaping lamp and hell even that Blue Umbrella with that annoyingly catchy tune; I felt Lava just didn't quite hit those levels. Regurgitating the same predictable tripe.
Not a good start. My fears rising. BUT finally Inside Out started and . . . Not bad, not bad at all. The opening act may have been a little slow burning but it was wonderful watching baby Riley develop over the years and most importantly her emotions. Her first emotion being Joy. Poehler (Parks and Recreation) played her with aplomb. Her enthusiasm and sheer bonkers personality really brought the character to life.
Before we know it, the other emotions are not far behind. I don't think there was one character that didn't steal the show at some point throughout the film. They were all perfectly cast. BUT Phyllis Smith (The American Office) certainly made a memorable impression voicing the appropriately coloured blue emotion Sadness.
What I love about Pixar is the detail that they put into every project. I won't say too much
(If I can help it). BUT the little things. Riley's train of thought being an actual train. The islands of personality. The memory balls. The 'forgetters' that deal with the faded memories. The long term memory servers. Brilliant.The mind workers. Oh the mind workers. Ever wonder why your mind will suddenly think of a jingle or a song out of nowhere? Blame these little devils. A recurring joke involving a gum commercial jingle delivered the laughs throughout.
I loved how the world of Riley's mind and her own world tied in. The impact of her move affecting every emotion. An unfortunate sorting incident with the memory balls and Joy and Sadness are sucked into the back of Riley's mind. Without their presence, the poor girl will not be able to express those two emotions. Cue one crazy journey.
Smith and Poehler worked well together. I loved how Joy always questioned the purpose of Sadness and did everything to make sure she didn't ruin anything. "Why does anyone need such an emotion?" The debate was handled with the right balance. After all, this is still a kid's film. Of course, on the positiveness of having such an emotion. In other hands, who knows?
The animation was superb. The abstract thought sequence in which the emotions were forming into all sorts of shapes and two dimensional objects was brilliantly done. The 3D was hardly a must. It certainly made things more prominent on screen but the animation was good enough anyway.
BUT for all the praise, there were still little niggles. The middle act did meander in places and although Pixar has the ability to take us on these fantastic journeys. These journeys are starting to get a little predictable. You could almost time when the bickering would begin. That moment when a character would experience a revelation. And of course, it ends oh so cornily.
I loved Richard Kind as the fluffy and affable imaginary friend Bing Bong who helped Joy and Sadness on their quest. And also could anyone else believe that Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers was in this?! I wish there was more of the mind stuff between other people. A scene in which Mum and Dad try to deal with a frustrated Riley was fantastic. The closing credits certainly offered an insight into all sorts of people and animals with hilarious results.
Speaking of closing moments. Words . . . . Escape me. Pixar still have the ability to reduce a man to tears. I'm not afraid to admit it. The opening of Up, the finale of Toy Story 3 and now this. These films should come with a warning. Contains mild threat and scenes that will turn you into a blubbering wreck.
It's great to see an original take on a film. Not a rehash, remake, regurgitation or sequel. A breath of fresh air. Although Some might suggest a similar comparison to Osmosis Jones. Maybe? It was still a fun, entertaining and charming family movie that will keep the little 'uns and the big kids occupied for a couple of hours. Go see it.
This may change to a 4. WATCH THIS SPACE.