Saturday, August 20, 2016

Family Movie Night: INSIDE OUT

Welcome to a new installment of FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT, where we give our recommendation on a family-friendly movie to enjoy.  This week we review the wonderfully brilliant animated film...INSIDE OUT.

One has to appreciate when a film, against any flaws it has after several viewings, has the ability to make you tear up in empathy. 

There’s a section of the film fan community that have been at odds with Post-Toy Story 3 Pixar. After the disasters like Cars 2, and some underwhelming entries like Monsters University and Brave, it was years until we finally got a great original production. Inside Out, from Up director Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen, is a film that works across the board for all ages, following the emotional turmoil of a girl named Riley moving from Minnesota to San Francisco, and the emotional chaos inside her mind as the events unfold. It’s wickedly inventive with the concept, animation and themes, however as a layered narrative there’s things you’re either going to be on board with or not.

Themes are what make Inside Out an absolute triumph. Delving into the concept of personal destruction within the mind at a young age, when faced with the large daunting loss of childhood. While as a narrative you get annoyed when Sadness irrationally does things that affect Riley, thematically that irrationality has a purpose. It’s easy to forget these emotions ARE Riley, a developing girl with weakening emotional balance during the film, and keeping this in mind rather than watching individual character’s act entirely on their own can, itself, be very daunting.

There is a lot of thought that goes into its design, however. Whether it’s the literal train of thought, the blocked gate of the subconscious or the blocks of facts and opinions looking incredibly similar, the creative team at Pixar go to town of developing what the mind looks like. It’s incredibly gorgeous from the animation to the music of the almighty Michael Giacchino, the mind of Riley is a place that commands your attention.

Where Inside Out succeeds is how it resonates as an emotional stimuli. One could argue it’s emotional manipulation (it’s a film about emotions having emotions, remember), but upon every viewing, tears have fallen and I’ve felt emotional wrecked for the whole damn day. If it’s manipulation, it bloody works for it, earning your care from its beautiful imagery, thematic relevance and entertaining characters. Every emotion could have been a straight up one dimensional entity that gets us from plot point A to C, but it never plays that way. While characters like Disgust and Fear are two dimensional, Pixar justify them with an emphasis on their comedic use. Then when we get to three dimensional characters such as Anger, Sadness, and the most layered of them, Joy, a sarcastic maniac micromanager, there’s a solid amount of rationale, irrationale, comedy and drama that cause Riley’s adventure. I still argue having a layered story of Riley herself would have been more compelling, would make more sense and those “of course it’s going to go this way” plot points won’t feel so predetermined, but as a surreal view of the mind, it goes to work for everyone. It may not be the all-around masterpiece I once saw it as, but gosh, is it ambitious.

Bailey's Score: 8.5/10

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