Inside Out (2015) (PG)
"Inside Out" is a venture into the unknown recesses of your brain. The tagline once read: "say hello to the voices in your head" which, while taken out a context would be a great poster for a horror movie, is actually not entirely accurate. These aren't exactly voices, these are crystalized, anthropomorphized emotions that inhabit the heads of all of us. But don't get confused, because we're only just getting started.
In the beginning there was Joy (Amy Poehler) and she was happy in the head of a young girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias). Then there was Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and the two started making memories of conflicting emotions. Then three more: Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Fear (Bill Hader) and then it was complete...or so Pixar's newest movie would have you believe.
"Inside Out" is first and foremost a hugely ambitious work that tries to be intellectually challenging and rigorously fun as well as emotionally powerful. It's this kind of conglomerations of all things beautiful that Pixar has mastered so well in the past and for certain "Inside Out" is miles ahead of anything that has been released by the studio in the last few years; but that doesn't make it perfect.
The first thing you should know about the movie is that it is relentlessly fun. The complexities of the human mind are mocked, flipped upside down, and puns are made from them. It's respectful, cheeky, and wildly colorful...which brings me to another point.
"Inside Out" owes a lot to "Wreck-It Ralph" for the visual imagery alone. The "islands of personality" are taken straight from the Disney movie's landscape, which in turn was ripping off "Monsters Inc." but hey, we got to stop somewhere, right?
If you watch "Inside Out" with the light-hearted abandon of a child, maybe nothing will stick out to you; but if you follow the rabbit trails down to their roots, the intellect begins to disappear. Things don't logically add up in the movie, like how Riley is a person separated from her emotions and yet unique and yet without them, she falls into a stasis of numb grayness. Then there's the issue of sentience and autonomy...how much power do these emotions really have?
Let's push those thoughts away for a second.
In Riley's head there is a control panel that all the emotions fight over to help Riley through the day. Naturally, it's Joy that we like seeing at the helm for the most of the time and the memories created are balls of yellow light.
It's kind of like "Minority Report" and "Wreck-It Ralph" had a baby and this baby was really hyper and really smart; but not complete. For that's what the movie is suggesting: a lack of wholeness. Riley is the sum of her parts, yet an individual at the same time...this is confusing.
Perhaps it's just better to stay for the ride, because the break-neck speed that "Inside Out" plows through its plot-line which is almost enough to give someone whiplash; but it's a whole lot of fun.
The newest Pixar movie is very, very entertaining and very colorful and filled with great voice acting.
I think it was missing a little maturity to pull the whole thing together. After all, for a movie about emotions that take over from one second to the next, it gives us little time to digest each moment properly before being triggered to laugh or cry.
But I did laugh and cry...so I guess that it worked rather well.
Posted by Micah Jones