Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pure Pixar Perfection: An 'Inside Out' Review


Inside Out...

This film is Pixar in total "keep moving forward" mode...

From the concept to the storytelling to the way everything is handled... This is a big step forward for family-friendly animated features, I'd argue.

Inside Out, in reality, is more of an adults' film that just happens to be suitable for most children to watch. My line of thinking is similar to that of Walt Disney's, the films of his and the films of Pixar's are not children's films. They are family films, which means that there is something in each of those films for everyone to enjoy. The kids usually love the visuals or they laugh at the jokes they get, adults laugh at almost every joke, detect every strong story beat, and they admire the imagination in these films, whilst appreciating the craftsmanship...

Inside Out, much like some of Pixar's other films (The IncrediblesWALL-E, and director Pete Docter's own Up come to mind) and Walt's best, takes one step beyond. Inside Out on the surface could be your typical adventure film for the whole family, but set in the brain. Instead, it doesn't skirt around the ideas it has the potential to explore. It has the comedy, the laughs, the exciting parts... But most of the excitement and everything else is strengthened by its concept alone, and how the Pixar wizards pull it off.

The film has a resonance that is so strong, the ambitions are massive. This is easily the most ambitious film, thematically, that Pixar has ever tackled. Not once does it play it safe, and it hits several emotional beats as if it was no big deal. The screenplay alone achieves such a Herculean task: You have an overjoyed 11-year-girl who is moving with her family to a rather unwelcoming (to them) new location, the story is about her emotions and how they guide her through her life, anything could happen here! Yet the Pixarians come up with such a rock-solid plot that keeps everything believable, and it really does make you think about how you think!


All the little ins and outs of thinking, and especially what might've went through your mind at around age 11, are covered. Their interpretation of how the brain works and why you think the things you think is nothing short of highly imaginative. That alone makes the film great, its sheer creativity. Remember how Pete Docter's first directorial film established a unique world where monsters need to scare Earth kids for energy and how it all works? He does the same magic here, but with several layers of depth. Every little thing and detail is so clever, and its all part of some of Pixar's most colorful, oddball, and eye-popping visuals ever put to screen.

The writing definitely matches the booming creative sparkle and the spectacular execution of the concept, the script is tied tight to those elements and manages to give us truly memorable characters, laugh-out-hilarity, exciting action-packed moments, and... As expected... A ton of gut-punches. If anyone needs an example of why Pixar films nail it in the emotional department, this is your thesis. The sad and heart wrenching moments are among some of Pixar's strongest, on the level of 'Married Life', Toy Story 3's incinerator sequence, and Sulley saying goodbye to Boo.

Without any hassle, the film is able to mesh these moments with the more zany, upbeat, and fun moments. There are several parts that are very surreal and kooky, it's almost Yellow Submarine-esque in a way. Most of the time, I had no idea where it was going to go or how it would go about one particular stretch! Even though I knew what the outcome would most likely be, the way the story is told is so fresh, it keeps you enthralled and it's pretty on the move. It's never too fast though, it's perfectly paced like Pixar's best.


The animation... I don't even need to say. It's Pixar, but what truly works is how the two worlds are designed. The real world is essentially following the Toy Story 3 and Monsters University aesthetic in every way, as it looks lovely and is colored, lit, and realized perfectly. The world of Riley's brain is so exciting to lay your eyes on, as all the different sections inside are unique in their own ways. That of course, is emphasized by the lighting and color work, some of the best in a Pixar film. The character animation on the emotions themselves? Also flawless. Fear, for instance, is very cartoony in his looks and movements. Joy is bouncy and fast, Sadness is almost sloth-like. Disgust is like a mix between glamour girl and neat-freak, while Anger is rough in his movements. The mannerisms and attitudes? Again, all done so perfectly...

Inside Out is pure Pixar perfection. Not only is it a raw, resonant story that manages to make you laugh and wreck you without fuss, it's also innovative and out-there. At times it hits the zany and bizarre, but it makes sure it explores the surreal with carefulness. On top of that, it's so thematically rich and everything just blends to make the perfect stew. It just connects so wonderfully, it's hard to put into words or a mere review. I don't think any of this, for the time being, is doing the film any justice...

Best of all, it shows that a family film - animated or not - can be something truly profound whilst being wholly entertaining. It takes some major risks and succeeds, it doesn't the typical garden-variety family film themes, it digs deep. It sits right alongside the best Walt films and the Pixar films that really went one step beyond...

~

Of course, no Pixar film review on here is complete without a review of the inevitable attached short film...

Lava...


Is it any good?

When it ended, I was thinking, "If Paperman and The Blue Umbrella did not exist, this would've been seen as fresh, creative, and unique." Two anthropomorphic volcanoes, and how geography is woven into their love story, is a great idea for animation! I know others weren't as impressed as I was, thinking it was too generic. Yes, it is essentially Paperman and Blue Umbrella with volcanoes, yes it's simple and sticky-sweet, but... The execution was very good, and had this short have been released in a world where those other shorts didn't exist, I think it would be loved. Every frame is beautiful, and it's just fun to watch and listen to. The song itself isn't bad, either...

In all, another fine short from the Emeryville house accompanying their latest masterpiece...

I suppose I can talk a little bit about the special screening I attended... On this very day, Pixar screened the film in select theaters and attached a Q&A with Docter and Amy Poehler. The Q&A was mostly fun to watch, surprisingly very little fluff, though I was hoping Docter would've corrected the interviewer when he called animation a genre! Anyways, the talk was informative and it revealed some details on the film's journey from idea to actual film. Also, points to Amy Poehler for bravely saying that Mater is one of her favorite funny Pixar characters!

Prior to the short and the film, we get a special behind-the-scenes at Pixar look. It was like the usual studio tours you've seen before, but it was fun. I kept my eyes open during key parts, noticing Finding Dory concept art. John Lasseter's appearance was especially fun, as he made sure you didn't see inside the Toy Story 4 story room... Also, never-before-seen Good Dinosaur animation! A nice treat before the show, alongside the Zootopia and Good Dinosaur teasers...

1 comment:

  1. ...........................................
    you saw Inside Out
    you saw John Lasseter
    you saw Zootopia and Dinosaur teasers
    you saw the insides of Pixar

    IM SO JEALOUS T_________________T

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