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Review: Inside Out


Pete Docter’s directorial efforts at Pixar Animation Studios are known for their “outside of the box” approach to films. Monsters, Inc. explored a monster world fueled by children’s screams. Up was about a house being carried by hundreds of helium balloons. This latest effort is a different approach to animation storytelling. From the moment the lights dim in the theater to the chairs emptying with popcorn scattered on the floors, Inside Out stimulates emotions that are sure to create core memories…much like the ones captured by the film’s characters. It’s another stroke of genius that is a solid addition to the Emeryville studio’s impressive resume of films.


John Lasseter is quoted about the “story first” approach at Pixar. The studio has remained true to this philosophy with Inside Out. The concept of having emotions as characters living within each human is well-thought out and flawlessly executed. It was an ambitious goal to wrap it all up nicely in a solid storyline…and both Docter and co-director Ronnie del Carmen have delivered. Centering the storyline around the transition from living in the countryside and into an urban setting is a classic dynamic for most cultures in countries with major cities. Thus, allowing for most audiences to have a universal connection to the film. Having that population density start to tighten up into close quarters can make life difficult. Take that same transition and put it against a storyline centered around an 11-year old girl named Riley…and you’ve got yourself a recipe for an emotional roller coaster.

Collective Performances

In all of their projects not named Toy Story, Pixar has always had good casting sense. Inside Out is no different. Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Sand (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger) and Mindy Kaling (Disgust) are the perfect blend of emotions. Each character is voiced with unique contrasts tone and pitch, which makes for an awesome group dynamic. Throw in supporting roles by Diane Lane, Frank Oz, and Rashida Jones and you’ve got yourself a solid voice cast with a relevant experience. Of course, John Ratzenberg has to sneak his way into the film. He’s to Pixar films what Stan Lee is to Marvel films…sans the major supporting roles here and there for Cheers veteran.


Pixar has been the best animation house in the graphics business since they were owned by George Lucas and then Steve Jobs. They’ve proven their prowess in photo-realism, but also have a clear sense of art direction with efforts like The Incredibles and Monsters, Inc. Inside Out does a real good job transitioning from countryside colors to the urban dull black-and-white asphault and sidewalks setting of a downtown urban setting. The color contrasts of the emotions from one another and the juxtaposition to Riley’s reality is also an effective visual delineation to help guide the story both inside Riley’s mind and her external reality. As far as music goes, Michael Giacchino’s last collaboration with Docter earned him an Oscar with Up. He’s back at the helm to give our emotions a soundtrack…and does a solid job making those core memories come to life.

The Wrap

Inside Out is an absolute masterpiece. It stealthily explores human psychological development without getting too technical or too scientific. This latest effort is likely on track to earn a third Oscar nod for the hopping Luxo Jr. and the smushed letter “i” in the Pixar logo. This film proves that the Emeryville stables can still breed a winner… and it’s not relinquishing the crown to any other animation house anytime soon. Without a doubt, it earns an emotional high score from us.

Final Score: A+


Source: Image taken from Disney Movies website




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