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Inside Out (2015)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios)
Genres / Traits:
Animated Comedy, Animated Fantasy, Animated Feature Film, Children's / Family, Family-Oriented Adventure, Family-Oriented Comedy, Fantasy Comedy, 3-D
Directors:
Pete Docter Pete Docter
Ronnie Del Carmen Ronnie Del Carmen
Starring:
Amy Poehler Amy Poehler
Phyllis Smith Phyllis Smith
Richard Kind Richard Kind
Bill Hader Bill Hader
Lewis Black Lewis Black

8.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: February 23, 2016
I'll tell you, the folks over at Pixar sure know what they're doing. Despite what seems to be a rehashed trend of anthropomorphizing everything from toys and cars to fish and bugs, they consistently kick out compelling, highly entertaining movies. In their latest flick, they've turned that trope towards something intangible and abstract: an eleven-year old girl's emotions.

When Riley Anderson was born, a small being named Joy appeared in her head. By running a console in headquarters, she can create happy memories for the girl. Less than a minute later, Joy is joined by four other emotions: Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger. Depending on who's running the console, Riley's memories are associated with a certain emotion. Some of these memories are considered 'core' memories; they're more important than the others and fuel the five islands that form Riley's personality: family, honesty, friendship, hockey and goofball. Joy is in control more often than not, and things are going incredibly well, until her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco right after she turns eleven. Between missing her friends, her hobbies, and her dad overwhelmed with the stress of his new job, this girl's emotions are losing control. Indeed, after an embarrassing moment at class, a sad Core Memory is created. Joy refuses to let that memory take its place and shape her personality, and decides to destroy it. Unwilling to let a core memory be cast aside, Sadness tries to wrestle it from her grasp, and in the struggle the two are thrown out of headquarters into the maze of Long Term Memory. As the pair attempt to make their way back, Riley is forced to endure her new environment with only Fear, Anger and Disgust at the wheel.

It being an animated kids movies aside, making a movie about a child's emotions is a complex affair. In effect, Pixar not only had to tell two stories in one (both Riley's adjustment to starting over in San Francisco and her emotions' journey through her brain) but to give them a connected sense of cause and effect. The first time I watched this, I felt that it was this last bit where they fell short; specifically, it seemed that Riley's life was working independently of the conflict with her emotions, and the the anthropomorphized feelings' plight was just coincidentally lining up with the expected effects on her mood. However, after watching it a second time, I began to realize that while the connection was a subtle one, it was certainly there. Riley was fighting to be happy when she wasn't, and sure enough, it was a confrontation between Joy and Sadness that led to the Core Memories being lost, and as anyone who's fought depression will tell you, it's very much a lack of feeling anything at all. I admit I may have missed it initially, but Pixar handled this beautifully.

Also, the company did an amazing job of assembling five actors and actresses that truly defined these emotions and brought them to life. Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger), and Mindy Kaling (Disgust) completely embodied their respective descriptions. Not only that, but their seemingly one-dimension personalities all blended together perfectly, gifting the viewers with a chemistry rarely seen between five actors. Outside of her head, Kaitlyn Dias handled Riley herself quite nicely as well, hitting all the right notes of an angry eleven-year-old trying to adjust to a new move, no matter which of those emotions was at the helm. The only thing I'm truly disappointed in is that Pixar regular John Ratzenberger had such an inconsequential role. He usually gets a solid secondary part, but here, he got about two seconds.

Once again, Pixar does not fail to please. I don't know if I would rank it as high as some of the company's other classics, but that's a testament to the strength of their library more than a slight towards Inside Out. I definitely recommend it. 8/10.
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George Snow #1: George Snow - added 02/25/2016, 05:38 PM
There was a "show" at Epcot called Cranium Command that was this movie. It told the story of a boy's day at school when he doesn't get to eat breakfast. All his functions working against each other.

I enjoyed this. But, it's one of the weaker Pixar films IMO. The story structure seemed off. The Protagonist/Antagonist wasn't necessarily clear. I still own it though.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 02/25/2016, 11:10 PM
I remember that show!
George Snow #3: George Snow - added 03/13/2016, 05:48 PM
I enjoyed Cranium Command much more than this movie. I have it somewhere on MiniDV.

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