Directed by Pete Docter; co-directed by Ronaldo del Carmen
Starring the voices of Amy Poelher, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, and Kyle MacLachlan
I love Pixar, but let’s be honest, they’ve been in a slump lately. Cars 2...well, the less said the better. I found Brave mildly disappointing, and with Monsters University, my expectations had been lowered so much that I thought, “Meh. Could have been worse.” But, still, I was getting excited for Inside Out. Pete Docter, the director of Up, was back in the director’s chair, with another original story. Since Up was considered too original back in 2009, would Docter give us another highly unique tale?
The story takes place within the mind of an 11-year old girl named Riley. We find that her actions and attitudes are shaped by five dominant emotions that run the show. Joy is in charge, ensuring that Riley remains happy. Joy has given assigned tasks to Fear, Anger, and Disgust, but couldn’t quite figure out what the purpose of Sadness is. But, young Riley’s life is thrown into turmoil when her family moves to San Fransisco. Joy does all she can to make sure Riley remains happy, but it’s difficult. One day, while trying too hard to prevent Riley’s memories from being tainted by Sadness, Joy and Sadness are ejected from the Headquarters, and must make a dangerous journey though Riley’s mind to get back home. Meanwhile, without Joy to lead them, Fear, Anger and Disgust to their best, but under their mismanagement, various aspects of Riley’s personality begin shutting down. It’s up to Joy and Sadness to make it home before Riley does something drastic, and perhaps, Joy can find that Sadness plays an important role after all.
What I Liked
EVERYTHING! This is such an imaginative landscape, with such imaginative characters. I found one set piece in the Land of Abstract Thought that made quite imaginative use of 3D. And of course, the trailers made no mention of Bing Bong, Riley’s long-forgotten imaginary friend who helps Joy and Sadness, and gets one of the most dramatic character arcs. The voice acting is all beautiful. Amy Poehler seemed destined to voice Joy. Michael Giacchino’s score is one of the most unique I’ve head in a while. Everything is great.
What I Didn’t Like
Well…let’s be honest, ever since Toy Story, the road movie has been Pixar’s go-to formula. And this is another road movie. But hey…this it’s the journey, not the destination, right?
Pixar is back. This had that emotional gut-punch that I hadn’t felt since Toy Story 3. Well done, Pixar.
As is Pixar tradition, it opens with an animated short. This time out, it’s Lava, a cute little love story between two volcanoes. It’s an unusual subject for a love story, but Pixar makes it work. 3 Nibs.