Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Inside Out (a movie review post)
My first thought was that this is the best movie they've done since Up (because I was forgetting that Toy Story 3 was actually after Up because those movies exist all together somewhere outside of the rest of the Pixar movies). That was before I found out that this one is made by the same guy that did Up, Pete Docter. This one is just as good (I know because my wife spent approximately half of the movie crying and the other half laughing).
The first most interesting thing about the movie is the representation of how the mind works. Evidently, a lot of research went into getting the science of it correct, even if just for an animated movie. The whole thing started, basically, as a science question because, when his daughter entered adolescence, Docter asked himself the question, "I wonder what's going on her brain." And, so, he tried to find out. And, then, made a movie about it.
The idea of there being core emotions and those emotions sort of being in control of who we are as people is, what I'm going to call, "good science," meaning they didn't just make up that stuff for the movie, only simplified it a little. I think the struggle between Joy and Sadness for the movie is extremely telling for our culture, especially for girls and women for whom there is a much greater social pressure to be happy. All the time. Of course, the conflict centers around Riley's loss of control of her Sadness.
Which is where I'll stop, because I don't want to have spoilers.
The animation was amazing, as is to be expected. Mostly, it's the backgrounds. The movie is full of memory marbles (my term; I don't know what they actually call them) and, if you pay attention to them in the background, they are always active. They're not just stacks of static spheres to fill up space. Seriously, the difference in animation from when I was a kid to now is... it's the difference between making a cardboard stage and putting on a finger puppet production and television.
The voice acting was, of course, excellent. Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith were perfect for Joy and Sadness. Poehler brought to Joy the same kind of exuberance that she brings to Leslie Knope, which is why, I'm sure, she was chosen for the role. But it's Smith who really made the movie. Her rather, what I can only describe as, sad-sack voice was the perfect fit for Sadness. The other voicers were great, too, but it all comes down to Joy and Sadness; if those two hadn't worked, the movie wouldn't have worked.
And it does work. If you've ever seen a Pixar movie and enjoyed it, you definitely don't want to miss this one. In fact, if you take the Toy Story movies as one spot, Inside Out has a fighting chance at being one of the top five movies Pixar has done. Okay, that might be a hard call, but saying top six seems kind of weird. Anyway, it's a great movie. It will make you laugh, and it might make you cry.