Inside Out

Disappointingly safe, but pretty darn enjoyable!


Inside Out

Starring: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith
Directed by: Pete Docter

Consensus: 3.5 Stars
A-Okay!

Inside Out

Starring: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Phyllis Smith
Directed by: Pete Docter

Consensus: 3.5 Stars
A-Okay!


Rated

PG

Starring

Amy Poehler
Phyllis Smith
Bill Hader
Lewis Black
Mindy Kaling

Written by

Pete Docter
Ronaldo Del Carmen
Meg LeFauve
Josh Cooley
Amy Poehler
Bill Hader

Directed by

Pete Docter
Ronaldo Del Carmen


coming up

What to Expect

So expectations of Inside Out have mostly been connected to one major “Up”side (pun totally intended), and that would most definitely have to point to Pete Docter.

Docter, who’s been an ingenious bundle of talent, having helmed a bunch of shining examples of creativity within the stratosphere of Disney and Pixar’s never-ending collaborations, as one would know, was responsible for Up – which inadvertently turned out to be one of the most heartwarming animation films the year 2009 could have produced. Aside from being a part of the story credits in Wall.E, he was also the director of the critically and commercially immensely successful Monsters, Inc. Post (the albeit slightly flawed) Up, however, Pixar – alongwith Disney – have unfortunately been involved in pushing through newer installments of but old franchises (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters University), if only for gaining more traction for the boom in sale of popular merchandise.

Which is both okay, and (mostly) not okay.

This is probably why Inside Out looks like that movie that’s dead set to redeem Pixar’s n- did someone scream Brave? Oh. Yeah. It’s not exactly an excellent film. It’s just a film that was dead-set to impress the kids, that’s all. Which pressures me to come back to the main question: are Pixar’s glory days now gone? Has it now become more of a business institution than a hub for creative ideas en masse?

Oh yeah. Inside Out has a big job ahead of itself.

What’s it About?

Well, meet Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), who – with her parents – has just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. But also meet Riley’s emotions way inside of her head. There’s Joy (Amy Poehler; television’s Parks and Recreation), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger, Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling; television’s The Mindy Project). Each memory has a job to do, and everything’s going well, when due to a mishap, Joy and Sadness are sucked out of “headquarters”, leaving Riley with some not-so-competent alternatives in Disgust, Anger and Fear.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) and Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) catch a ride on the Train of Thought in Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), INSIDE OUT opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The merging of two distinctly unique emotions

So let’s really get the Bad out of the way, since there’s nothing really intersecting with Inside Out really being bgly in any form. The movie has an extremely gorgeous beginning, which is pretty much put down in order to explain almost every aspect of the movie’s production design. Now while the inclusion of the extreme spoon-feeding in the first half of the film is completely arguable, there definitely are so many gorgeous – and in your face – visual references that are completely understandable. This does allow the humans to question the need to dumb down content for kids.

Pre-teenage and teenage years are captured just as beautifully, and the structure of a human’s progressive psychological breakdown makes for an extremely smooth ride all along. Riley’s character’s psyche has a paradoxical organization within all that chaos, and it’s definitely clap worthy that Docter and his team have paid so much attention to detail trying to bring out the humane within each emotion the average human is represented by. This has a teensy downside (which is more of a nit that I’m picking): Riley isn’t exactly a full-bodied character, and the audience doesn’t exactly find the need to invest in her. The argument that can be placed here is that we’re still very much connected to Riley through her emotions – which is extremely true. Most of the journey, however, focuses on the inevitable (mis)adventure jointly faced by Joy and Sadness when pitted against each other. This becomes a problem when there are only a few moments when we get to see the effect of the hard-work the emotions go through in order to salvage Riley’s sharp mood swings.

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), the main and most important of 11-year-old Riley’s five Emotions, explores Long Term Memory in Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), INSIDE OUT opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Walking down the (long-term) memory-lane.

The respite is formed majorly by the inclusion of the brilliant second half, which does exactly what it’s supposed to – make the audience feel for the consistently dysfunctional situation Riley and her mind is left with. There is an extremely well-defined pang of sadness and pain that has the potential to touch most hearts, which is where Docter and his execution of the material deserves the most brownie points. This half, in fact, joins most quasi-loopholes the audience may have problems with, and makes a brave decision to lay it down without the saccharine-heavy emotion, and head instead for a slightly subtler form of dramatization. Add to that the gorgeously detailed animation and how incredibly fascinating the whole concept is, and you’re successfully hooked throughout the minor bumps in the road.

Now before I move over to the vocal performances of the film here’s what I have to say: I’m quite well-aware that animation films aren’t supposed to be the kind of output reviewers are supposed to be extremely critical toward. What I am going to counter that with is that there’s always a limit to dumb down elements of knowledge to kids – and this had the potential not to be. A clear example would be Wall.E’s mostly silent, relatively “undecipherable” plot-points that could still make complete sense because of the gorgeous (and obviously heavy handed) visual references that one could see throughout the film’s runtime. And most animation films do tend to rest completely on symbolism, which this film kinda played it safe over, for reasons I can understand, but cannot completely agree with.

But hey, that’s me.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, INSIDE OUT is in theaters June 19, 2015.

EVERY EMOTION EVER!

I think Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling are some of the most toweringly efficient comedians, and it’s quite apparent that they’ve just as usually managed to give in their all to make their characters stand out of the crowd. Phyllis Smith has an extremely stereotypical image in quite a few of her works, and those who are even vaguely aware of Smith – and not of her presence in the film – will unfortunately most definitely audibly spot her, simply because of how typical her voice ultimately sounds, day in and day out of her performances. Next up is Richard Kind, who plays the adorable imaginary friend Bing Bong to an extreme level of perfection, despite being a character who’s only invested into through half of the film’s runtime. Lewis Black and Bill Hader contribute to their but fairly restricted roles with their all. Riley’s mother doesn’t exactly have much of a screen-time, but Diane Lane voices her role with an extreme amount of grace. Kaitlyn Dias does a good Riley, but since there’s not much of the humans as there are their psyches, I can’t exactly comment well based on their extremely limited screen-space.

The others aren’t as bad.

Worth it?

Well, I’m going to continue being a classic nit-picker, but despite the obvious flaws of deliberate exposition and inconsistency with character arcs, the movie does manage to be extremely fascinating and a definite watch, simply for the rather well-defined concept and its usage within mainstream animation, if not anything else. The movie benefits from a terrific second half, which brings quite a few rather unnecessary threads in the first together, adding to it some superior, Docter-trademarked emotional heft that has a strong potential to melt most hearts. Of course, there’s the question of why did the makers play quite a few elements safe when they didn’t exactly need to, but hey, when the overall product is an enjoyable one, people won’t exactly mind.

Is this the redemption we were all looking for from Pixar and Disney? Maybe not. But it isn’t exactly that rocky either. Quite the opposite, really!

Consensus: 3.5 Stars
A-Okay!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like Us on Facebookand Twitter!


Rated

PG

Starring

Amy Poehler
Phyllis Smith
Bill Hader
Lewis Black
Mindy Kaling

Written by

Pete Docter
Ronaldo Del Carmen
Meg LeFauve
Josh Cooley
Amy Poehler
Bill Hader

Directed by

Pete Docter
Ronaldo Del Carmen


What to Expect

So expectations of Inside Out have mostly been connected to one major “Up”side (pun totally intended), and that would most definitely have to point to Pete Docter.

Docter, who’s been an ingenious bundle of talent, having helmed a bunch of shining examples of creativity within the stratosphere of Disney and Pixar’s never-ending collaborations, as one would know, was responsible for Up – which inadvertently turned out to be one of the most heartwarming animation films the year 2009 could have produced. Aside from being a part of the story credits in Wall.E, he was also the director of the critically and commercially immensely successful Monsters, Inc. Post (the albeit slightly flawed) Up, however, Pixar – alongwith Disney – have unfortunately been involved in pushing through newer installments of but old franchises (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters University), if only for gaining more traction for the boom in sale of popular merchandise.

Which is both okay, and (mostly) not okay.

This is probably why Inside Out looks like that movie that’s dead set to redeem Pixar’s n- did someone scream Brave? Oh. Yeah. It’s not exactly an excellent film. It’s just a film that was dead-set to impress the kids, that’s all. Which pressures me to come back to the main question: are Pixar’s glory days now gone? Has it now become more of a business institution than a hub for creative ideas en masse?

Oh yeah. Inside Out has a big job ahead of itself.

What’s it About?

Well, meet Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), who – with her parents – has just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. But also meet Riley’s emotions way inside of her head. There’s Joy (Amy Poehler; television’s Parks and Recreation), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger, Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling; television’s The Mindy Project). Each memory has a job to do, and everything’s going well, when due to a mishap, Joy and Sadness are sucked out of “headquarters”, leaving Riley with some not-so-competent alternatives in Disgust, Anger and Fear.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) and Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) catch a ride on the Train of Thought in Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), INSIDE OUT opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The merging of two distinctly unique emotions

So let’s really get the Bad out of the way, since there’s nothing really intersecting with Inside Out really being bgly in any form. The movie has an extremely gorgeous beginning, which is pretty much put down in order to explain almost every aspect of the movie’s production design. Now while the inclusion of the extreme spoon-feeding in the first half of the film is completely arguable, there definitely are so many gorgeous – and in your face – visual references that are completely understandable. This does allow the humans to question the need to dumb down content for kids.

Pre-teenage and teenage years are captured just as beautifully, and the structure of a human’s progressive psychological breakdown makes for an extremely smooth ride all along. Riley’s character’s psyche has a paradoxical organization within all that chaos, and it’s definitely clap worthy that Docter and his team have paid so much attention to detail trying to bring out the humane within each emotion the average human is represented by. This has a teensy downside (which is more of a nit that I’m picking): Riley isn’t exactly a full-bodied character, and the audience doesn’t exactly find the need to invest in her. The argument that can be placed here is that we’re still very much connected to Riley through her emotions – which is extremely true. Most of the journey, however, focuses on the inevitable (mis)adventure jointly faced by Joy and Sadness when pitted against each other. This becomes a problem when there are only a few moments when we get to see the effect of the hard-work the emotions go through in order to salvage Riley’s sharp mood swings.

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), the main and most important of 11-year-old Riley’s five Emotions, explores Long Term Memory in Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), INSIDE OUT opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Walking down the (long-term) memory-lane.

The respite is formed majorly by the inclusion of the brilliant second half, which does exactly what it’s supposed to – make the audience feel for the consistently dysfunctional situation Riley and her mind is left with. There is an extremely well-defined pang of sadness and pain that has the potential to touch most hearts, which is where Docter and his execution of the material deserves the most brownie points. This half, in fact, joins most quasi-loopholes the audience may have problems with, and makes a brave decision to lay it down without the saccharine-heavy emotion, and head instead for a slightly subtler form of dramatization. Add to that the gorgeously detailed animation and how incredibly fascinating the whole concept is, and you’re successfully hooked throughout the minor bumps in the road.

Now before I move over to the vocal performances of the film here’s what I have to say: I’m quite well-aware that animation films aren’t supposed to be the kind of output reviewers are supposed to be extremely critical toward. What I am going to counter that with is that there’s always a limit to dumb down elements of knowledge to kids – and this had the potential not to be. A clear example would be Wall.E’s mostly silent, relatively “undecipherable” plot-points that could still make complete sense because of the gorgeous (and obviously heavy handed) visual references that one could see throughout the film’s runtime. And most animation films do tend to rest completely on symbolism, which this film kinda played it safe over, for reasons I can understand, but cannot completely agree with.

But hey, that’s me.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, INSIDE OUT is in theaters June 19, 2015.

EVERY EMOTION EVER!

I think Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling are some of the most toweringly efficient comedians, and it’s quite apparent that they’ve just as usually managed to give in their all to make their characters stand out of the crowd. Phyllis Smith has an extremely stereotypical image in quite a few of her works, and those who are even vaguely aware of Smith – and not of her presence in the film – will unfortunately most definitely audibly spot her, simply because of how typical her voice ultimately sounds, day in and day out of her performances. Next up is Richard Kind, who plays the adorable imaginary friend Bing Bong to an extreme level of perfection, despite being a character who’s only invested into through half of the film’s runtime. Lewis Black and Bill Hader contribute to their but fairly restricted roles with their all. Riley’s mother doesn’t exactly have much of a screen-time, but Diane Lane voices her role with an extreme amount of grace. Kaitlyn Dias does a good Riley, but since there’s not much of the humans as there are their psyches, I can’t exactly comment well based on their extremely limited screen-space.

The others aren’t as bad.

Worth it?

Well, I’m going to continue being a classic nit-picker, but despite the obvious flaws of deliberate exposition and inconsistency with character arcs, the movie does manage to be extremely fascinating and a definite watch, simply for the rather well-defined concept and its usage within mainstream animation, if not anything else. The movie benefits from a terrific second half, which brings quite a few rather unnecessary threads in the first together, adding to it some superior, Docter-trademarked emotional heft that has a strong potential to melt most hearts. Of course, there’s the question of why did the makers play quite a few elements safe when they didn’t exactly need to, but hey, when the overall product is an enjoyable one, people won’t exactly mind.

Is this the redemption we were all looking for from Pixar and Disney? Maybe not. But it isn’t exactly that rocky either. Quite the opposite, really!

Consensus: 3.5 Stars
A-Okay!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like Us on Facebookand Twitter!

What to Expect

Emotions are love. Emotions are life.

Emotions are love. Emotions are life.

So expectations of Inside Out have mostly been connected to one major “Up”side (pun totally intended), and that would most definitely have to point to Pete Docter.

Docter, who’s been an ingenious bundle of talent, having helmed a bunch of shining examples of creativity within the stratosphere of Disney and Pixar’s never-ending collaborations, as one would know, was responsible for Up – which inadvertently turned out to be one of the most heartwarming animation films the year 2009 could have produced. Aside from being a part of the story credits in Wall.E, he was also the director of the critically and commercially immensely successful Monsters, Inc. Post (the albeit slightly flawed) Up, however, Pixar – alongwith Disney – have unfortunately been involved in pushing through newer installments of but old franchises (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters University), if only for gaining more traction for the boom in sale of popular merchandise.

Which is both okay, and (mostly) not okay.

This is probably why Inside Out looks like that movie that’s dead set to redeem Pixar’s n- did someone scream Brave? Oh. Yeah. It’s not exactly an excellent film. It’s just a film that was dead-set to impress the kids, that’s all. Which pressures me to come back to the main question: are Pixar’s glory days now gone? Has it now become more of a business institution than a hub for creative ideas en masse?

Oh yeah. Inside Out has a big job ahead of itself.

What’s it About?

Well, meet Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), who – with her parents – has just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. But also meet Riley’s emotions way inside of her head. There’s Joy (Amy Poehler; television’s Parks and Recreation), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger, Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling; television’s The Mindy Project). Each memory has a job to do, and everything’s going well, when due to a mishap, Joy and Sadness are sucked out of “headquarters”, leaving Riley with some not-so-competent alternatives in Disgust, Anger and Fear.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) and Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) catch a ride on the Train of Thought in Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), INSIDE OUT opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The merging of two distinctly unique emotions

So let’s really get the Bad out of the way, since there’s nothing really intersecting with Inside Out really being bgly in any form. The movie has an extremely gorgeous beginning, which is pretty much put down in order to explain almost every aspect of the movie’s production design. Now while the inclusion of the extreme spoon-feeding in the first half of the film is completely arguable, there definitely are so many gorgeous – and in your face – visual references that are completely understandable. This does allow the humans to question the need to dumb down content for kids.

Pre-teenage and teenage years are captured just as beautifully, and the structure of a human’s progressive psychological breakdown makes for an extremely smooth ride all along. Riley’s character’s psyche has a paradoxical organization within all that chaos, and it’s definitely clap worthy that Docter and his team have paid so much attention to detail trying to bring out the humane within each emotion the average human is represented by. This has a teensy downside (which is more of a nit that I’m picking): Riley isn’t exactly a full-bodied character, and the audience doesn’t exactly find the need to invest in her. The argument that can be placed here is that we’re still very much connected to Riley through her emotions – which is extremely true. Most of the journey, however, focuses on the inevitable (mis)adventure jointly faced by Joy and Sadness when pitted against each other. This becomes a problem when there are only a few moments when we get to see the effect of the hard-work the emotions go through in order to salvage Riley’s sharp mood swings.

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), the main and most important of 11-year-old Riley’s five Emotions, explores Long Term Memory in Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), INSIDE OUT opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Walking down the (long-term) memory-lane.

The respite is formed majorly by the inclusion of the brilliant second half, which does exactly what it’s supposed to – make the audience feel for the consistently dysfunctional situation Riley and her mind is left with. There is an extremely well-defined pang of sadness and pain that has the potential to touch most hearts, which is where Docter and his execution of the material deserves the most brownie points. This half, in fact, joins most quasi-loopholes the audience may have problems with, and makes a brave decision to lay it down without the saccharine-heavy emotion, and head instead for a slightly subtler form of dramatization. Add to that the gorgeously detailed animation and how incredibly fascinating the whole concept is, and you’re successfully hooked throughout the minor bumps in the road.

Now before I move over to the vocal performances of the film here’s what I have to say: I’m quite well-aware that animation films aren’t supposed to be the kind of output reviewers are supposed to be extremely critical toward. What I am going to counter that with is that there’s always a limit to dumb down elements of knowledge to kids – and this had the potential not to be. A clear example would be Wall.E’s mostly silent, relatively “undecipherable” plot-points that could still make complete sense because of the gorgeous (and obviously heavy handed) visual references that one could see throughout the film’s runtime. And most animation films do tend to rest completely on symbolism, which this film kinda played it safe over, for reasons I can understand, but cannot completely agree with.

But hey, that’s me.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, INSIDE OUT is in theaters June 19, 2015.

EVERY EMOTION EVER!

I think Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling are some of the most toweringly efficient comedians, and it’s quite apparent that they’ve just as usually managed to give in their all to make their characters stand out of the crowd. Phyllis Smith has an extremely stereotypical image in quite a few of her works, and those who are even vaguely aware of Smith – and not of her presence in the film – will unfortunately most definitely audibly spot her, simply because of how typical her voice ultimately sounds, day in and day out of her performances. Next up is Richard Kind, who plays the adorable imaginary friend Bing Bong to an extreme level of perfection, despite being a character who’s only invested into through half of the film’s runtime. Lewis Black and Bill Hader contribute to their but fairly restricted roles with their all. Riley’s mother doesn’t exactly have much of a screen-time, but Diane Lane voices her role with an extreme amount of grace. Kaitlyn Dias does a good Riley, but since there’s not much of the humans as there are their psyches, I can’t exactly comment well based on their extremely limited screen-space.

The others aren’t as bad.

Worth it?

Well, I’m going to continue being a classic nit-picker, but despite the obvious flaws of deliberate exposition and inconsistency with character arcs, the movie does manage to be extremely fascinating and a definite watch, simply for the rather well-defined concept and its usage within mainstream animation, if not anything else. The movie benefits from a terrific second half, which brings quite a few rather unnecessary threads in the first together, adding to it some superior, Docter-trademarked emotional heft that has a strong potential to melt most hearts. Of course, there’s the question of why did the makers play quite a few elements safe when they didn’t exactly need to, but hey, when the overall product is an enjoyable one, people won’t exactly mind.

Is this the redemption we were all looking for from Pixar and Disney? Maybe not. But it isn’t exactly that rocky either. Quite the opposite, really!

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

We’re viral

Like usFollow us

What to Expect

Emotions are love. Emotions are life.

Emotions are love. Emotions are life.

So expectations of Inside Out have mostly been connected to one major “Up”side (pun totally intended), and that would most definitely have to point to Pete Docter.

Docter, who’s been an ingenious bundle of talent, having helmed a bunch of shining examples of creativity within the stratosphere of Disney and Pixar’s never-ending collaborations, as one would know, was responsible for Up – which inadvertently turned out to be one of the most heartwarming animation films the year 2009 could have produced. Aside from being a part of the story credits in Wall.E, he was also the director of the critically and commercially immensely successful Monsters, Inc. Post (the albeit slightly flawed) Up, however, Pixar – alongwith Disney – have unfortunately been involved in pushing through newer installments of but old franchises (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Monsters University), if only for gaining more traction for the boom in sale of popular merchandise.

Which is both okay, and (mostly) not okay.

This is probably why Inside Out looks like that movie that’s dead set to redeem Pixar’s n- did someone scream Brave? Oh. Yeah. It’s not exactly an excellent film. It’s just a film that was dead-set to impress the kids, that’s all. Which pressures me to come back to the main question: are Pixar’s glory days now gone? Has it now become more of a business institution than a hub for creative ideas en masse?

Oh yeah. Inside Out has a big job ahead of itself.

What’s it About?

Well, meet Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), who – with her parents – has just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. But also meet Riley’s emotions way inside of her head. There’s Joy (Amy Poehler; television’s Parks and Recreation), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger, Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling; television’s The Mindy Project). Each memory has a job to do, and everything’s going well, when due to a mishap, Joy and Sadness are sucked out of “headquarters”, leaving Riley with some not-so-competent alternatives in Disgust, Anger and Fear.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) and Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) catch a ride on the Train of Thought in Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), INSIDE OUT opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The merging of two distinctly unique emotions

So let’s really get the Bad out of the way, since there’s nothing really intersecting with Inside Out really being bgly in any form. The movie has an extremely gorgeous beginning, which is pretty much put down in order to explain almost every aspect of the movie’s production design. Now while the inclusion of the extreme spoon-feeding in the first half of the film is completely arguable, there definitely are so many gorgeous – and in your face – visual references that are completely understandable. This does allow the humans to question the need to dumb down content for kids.

Pre-teenage and teenage years are captured just as beautifully, and the structure of a human’s progressive psychological breakdown makes for an extremely smooth ride all along. Riley’s character’s psyche has a paradoxical organization within all that chaos, and it’s definitely clap worthy that Docter and his team have paid so much attention to detail trying to bring out the humane within each emotion the average human is represented by. This has a teensy downside (which is more of a nit that I’m picking): Riley isn’t exactly a full-bodied character, and the audience doesn’t exactly find the need to invest in her. The argument that can be placed here is that we’re still very much connected to Riley through her emotions – which is extremely true. Most of the journey, however, focuses on the inevitable (mis)adventure jointly faced by Joy and Sadness when pitted against each other. This becomes a problem when there are only a few moments when we get to see the effect of the hard-work the emotions go through in order to salvage Riley’s sharp mood swings.

Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), the main and most important of 11-year-old Riley’s five Emotions, explores Long Term Memory in Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT. Directed by Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), INSIDE OUT opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Walking down the (long-term) memory-lane.

The respite is formed majorly by the inclusion of the brilliant second half, which does exactly what it’s supposed to – make the audience feel for the consistently dysfunctional situation Riley and her mind is left with. There is an extremely well-defined pang of sadness and pain that has the potential to touch most hearts, which is where Docter and his execution of the material deserves the most brownie points. This half, in fact, joins most quasi-loopholes the audience may have problems with, and makes a brave decision to lay it down without the saccharine-heavy emotion, and head instead for a slightly subtler form of dramatization. Add to that the gorgeously detailed animation and how incredibly fascinating the whole concept is, and you’re successfully hooked throughout the minor bumps in the road.

Now before I move over to the vocal performances of the film here’s what I have to say: I’m quite well-aware that animation films aren’t supposed to be the kind of output reviewers are supposed to be extremely critical toward. What I am going to counter that with is that there’s always a limit to dumb down elements of knowledge to kids – and this had the potential not to be. A clear example would be Wall.E’s mostly silent, relatively “undecipherable” plot-points that could still make complete sense because of the gorgeous (and obviously heavy handed) visual references that one could see throughout the film’s runtime. And most animation films do tend to rest completely on symbolism, which this film kinda played it safe over, for reasons I can understand, but cannot completely agree with.

But hey, that’s me.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Disney•Pixar's INSIDE OUT takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, INSIDE OUT is in theaters June 19, 2015.

EVERY EMOTION EVER!

I think Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling are some of the most toweringly efficient comedians, and it’s quite apparent that they’ve just as usually managed to give in their all to make their characters stand out of the crowd. Phyllis Smith has an extremely stereotypical image in quite a few of her works, and those who are even vaguely aware of Smith – and not of her presence in the film – will unfortunately most definitely audibly spot her, simply because of how typical her voice ultimately sounds, day in and day out of her performances. Next up is Richard Kind, who plays the adorable imaginary friend Bing Bong to an extreme level of perfection, despite being a character who’s only invested into through half of the film’s runtime. Lewis Black and Bill Hader contribute to their but fairly restricted roles with their all. Riley’s mother doesn’t exactly have much of a screen-time, but Diane Lane voices her role with an extreme amount of grace. Kaitlyn Dias does a good Riley, but since there’s not much of the humans as there are their psyches, I can’t exactly comment well based on their extremely limited screen-space.

The others aren’t as bad.

Worth it?

Well, I’m going to continue being a classic nit-picker, but despite the obvious flaws of deliberate exposition and inconsistency with character arcs, the movie does manage to be extremely fascinating and a definite watch, simply for the rather well-defined concept and its usage within mainstream animation, if not anything else. The movie benefits from a terrific second half, which brings quite a few rather unnecessary threads in the first together, adding to it some superior, Docter-trademarked emotional heft that has a strong potential to melt most hearts. Of course, there’s the question of why did the makers play quite a few elements safe when they didn’t exactly need to, but hey, when the overall product is an enjoyable one, people won’t exactly mind.

Is this the redemption we were all looking for from Pixar and Disney? Maybe not. But it isn’t exactly that rocky either. Quite the opposite, really!

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

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Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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