Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Inside Out - Movie Review

Inside out is the latest animated feature film from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. The film was written and directed by the creative team of Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen and features the voice talents of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, and Kyle MacLachlan.

The Story:
When Riley (Dias) and her parents move away from their pleasant mid west life to join the hustle and bustle of the bay area, the young girl's emotions begin an adventure of their own. Joy (Poehler), Sadness (Smith), Fear (Hader), Anger (Black), and Disgust (Kaling) are constantly at odds although they are able to maintain an odd balancing act, at least until Sadness finds herself unable to control her meddling impulses. Next thing you know, memories are missing, Riley is on an emotional roller coaster, and Joy and Sadness embark on an unintended adventure to save their world from completely falling apart.

The Review:
Pixar knows what they are doing. We all know that. The premier animation studio in the world has perfected a formula of crafting stories that appeal to all ages by filling them with breathtaking visuals and holding nothing back when it comes to emotional impact and this particular story really brings everything to the table in ways we've never seen before. Pete Docter has once again proven his talent as a great director and story teller after already having given us films like Up and Monster's Inc. Rather than taking us on a fantastic journey through magical lands, he and co-creator Ronaldo Del Carman, take us inside our own minds and shows us a really brilliant way of showing how we react to the world and why we can be such emotional head cases at times. Above all, they show us just how brilliant we can be when our emotions are working in harmony in conjunction with those of our family and loved ones.

Since Toy Story first became a smash hit success, any subsequent Pixar movie has come with the built in expectation that it will be one of the most beautifully rendered and stunningly pleasing things your eyes will ever see. Even with a lofty goal such as this, the animation team has yet to disappoint as each film in their catalog has not only topped their own previous work, but seems to set the standard for the entire industry. This film is so rich and colorful, you can just see and feel Riley's imagination bursting from every corner of the screen and there is so much going on in every scene, it just demands repeat viewings to take it all in. Animation is also the perfect medium to paid with 3D technology and these guys really know how to add this feature into the mix by creating visuals that really pull you right in next to the characters rather than relying on cheaper techniques like things flying at you out of the screen.

From a casting standpoint, I have to say job well done in putting together the team of emotions as each personality fits their character perfectly. Amy Poehler does a great job as Joy, who is basically the hero of the movie, while Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling all are very strong in their roles. Richard Kind is always good with animated features although I believe what he did to bring Bing Bong to life may be his best work yet as he created such a memorable character in a really short amount of time.  Of course, no Pixar movie would be complete with an appearance by the one and only John Ratzenberger, who is considered the good luck charm of the studio. You'll have to see for yourself where he pops up this time around.

The Verdict:
Inside Out is a very good movie and would fit somewhere in the top half of the Pixar catalog. The story is classic Pixar, the animation is amazing, and it's just a really good, quality movie that the whole family will enjoy. Go see it and see it in 3D, it's definitely worth it to include the upgrade.

Bonus Coverage:
Of course, no Pixar release would be complete without one of their short films to kick things off. This time around, they have created what I consider to be their all time best short in Lava, the story of a Pacific island volcano and his never ending search for the love of his life. As much as I liked Inside Out, this lead in film actually stuck with me even more and I may go back to the theater just so I can see it again let alone the feature film as well. Seriously, it's that good.


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