Friday, June 19, 2015

Inside Out (2015) - 10 stars out of 10

Inside Out (2015) - 10 stars out of 10

When I walked into the theater for “Inside Out,” I did not expect that it could touch me in such a deep and poignant way.  This film has the rare distinction of being entirely unique.  Its concept is so complex and yet it is presented in a manner that can easily be understood by adults and children.  Dare I say that this is the greatest Pixar film of all time?  It is hard to give any film that title when you consider the cinematic significant of "Toy Story" and the much beloved characters of "Finding Nemo," but this film offers one of the most imaginative concepts that I have ever seen.  Ever.  Director Pete Docter has created an entirely new world to explain the inner workings of the human brain.  The world takes place inside of the mind of Riley, an 11-year-old girl whose family has just moved across the country.  Her emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust) are personified as a team that works together to control Riley’s emotions and reactions, the characteristics of her personality are physically represented as various “islands,” the Long-Term Memory is set up like a maze-like library, and we even see the “Train of Thought” that operates when Riley is awake.  The harmonious coexistence of these two worlds will have you questioning what is actually going on inside of your brain.  It will also have you rolling in the aisles because its comedy is clever and constant.  Outside of the funny moments, the film shares a similar tone Docter’s previous Pixar films, “Monsters Inc.” and “Up.”  Be prepared to cry.  Disney and Pixar have become experts at evoking tears from their audiences through the self-sacrifice of lovable characters, themes about growing up, strong family moments, and the tragically beautiful musical scoring by Michael Giacchino.  The emotional story is complimented by excellent voice acting by Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Richard Kind, Mindy Kaling, and especially Phyllis Smith (Phyllis from “The Office”) as Sadness.  It is so funny to watch each emotion react according to their definition, but the voice actors are what really sell the emotions.  Even without an incredible story, this would be one of the most beautifully animated films of all time.  You can’t take your eyes off of the Emotions’ vivid colors, their effervescent glow (especially when Joy is in the dark), and their fuzzy outlines as if they were each a grouping of particles.  The creativity of the mind world is reminiscent of “Wreck-It Ralph,” particularly the Dream Production studio, the Bing Bong character, and the abstract sequence is genius.  This movie is the complete package.  I know that an animated film has never won an Oscar for Best Screenplay but, while a nomination in this category is a no-brainer, this film deserves more than that.  I truly cannot imagine any live action screenplay surpassing this storytelling masterpiece.  It will also be interesting to see what happens in the Best Animated Feature category with this being the first time that Pixar has ever released two films in the same year; and yet, I feel confident predicting a win for this film before I even see an official trailer of "The Good Dinosaur."  This story and execution are simply too good.  I don’t know how but this film managed to exceed my very high expectations.  Savor it, because I don’t know if another animated film will ever live up to the precedent that has been set by “Inside Out.”

 [Pictured: The physical interpretation of personality through islands and the personification of the emotions create a visually astounding atmosphere for this film]

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