Hello folks! Pixar is back and fans have reason to get excited. It’s been two years since our last fix (Monsters University) and with the The Good Dinosaur getting bumped from 2014 to this coming November, we get a double dose of Luxo Jr. in 2015. First up is Inside Out, previously known as “The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind.” The working title immediately grabbed my attention. A Pixar movie that takes place inside the human mind? Giddyup.
I love that both of this year’s releases are new, original ideas with intriguing concepts. It’s been more than six years since Pixar released Up, the animation studio’s last non-sequel feature length film that was truly embraced. Brave has it’s fans but few consider it classic Pixar. Everything else to come out since Up has been a sequel or prequel (Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and Monsters University). Those franchises are fun (minus Cars, bleh) but innovation is Pixar’s calling card and even with a great concept it’s hard for sequels to measure up to a fresh idea that’s skillfully executed. Inside Out feels like classic Pixar and it’s one of the most innovative movies they’ve ever released.
Skip this paragraph if you prefer to know nothing about the plot (minor spoilers). Most of Inside Out takes place inside the mind of an 11 year old girl named Riley as she deals with the experience of moving to San Francisco and adjusting to life there. The main characters are pictured above. They are Riley’s emotions and they work together from a Star Trek style control panel inside of her mind. The mind is an intricate place where memories are stored in the form of shiny, marble-like orbs and stacked tall to form walls that weave a complex labyrinth. There are islands that make up different parts of her personality such as Goofball Island, the source of Riley’s silly behavior. Other parts of the mind include the subconscious, Imagination Land, Dream Productions, and the Train of Thought. It’s a crazy, colorful world full of surprises and fun characters like Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend from childhood.
Director Pete Docter continues his streak of killer Pixar films. He directed Up and Monsters Inc., and worked on the story or screenplay on the three films he directed, as well as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Wall-E, the upcoming Toy Story 4, and several short films. This is a Pixar vet in peak form. Inside Out manages to capture the fun, adventurous spirit of Up and blend it with the thought-provoking substance of Wall-E. It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s surprisingly deep and it mixes animation styles with beautiful results.
Another cool thing about the movie is that it will raise some people’s consciousness and make them more in touch with their emotions. Numerous times since viewing the film I’ve thought about my own feelings personified –like Riley’s in the movie- and found it insightful (and hilarious). It’s also fun to think about other people’s emotions personified as characters and what’s going on in their heads. That’s my new game when I’m sitting in Houston traffic or waiting in line at the post office.
Inside Out works on different levels for different ages and little homie next to me at the screening (4 or 5 years old) was just as hyped as I was. The whole crowd was. Classic Pixar.
5 out of 5 Nerdskulls
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