An original movie. A movie title not based on any other work of literature. An original idea.
It’s very rare a thing for an original movie to come together so wonderfully well in the way the movie Inside Out did. Inside Out is a 3D animated motion picture directed by Pete Docter (known for the animated movie, UP), which, even without its original title tag going against it already, had the odds against it. Like with a lot of original titles, it’s a nice, brilliant idea, and like the original ideas, it’s all about the execution.
Original movies have become a no-go area for Hollywood studios lately, mostly because the risk never seems to pay off. One only needs to look at this year’s earlier releases – Jupiter Ascending and TomorrowLand, the former which was critically panned and the latter which wasn’t much better – and observe how they both tanked at the box office.
Inside Out comes from the reputable Pixar and is distributed by Disney, and for the most part, takes place in the mind of Riley an 11-year-old girl dealing with the issues that comes with her and her parents moving from Minnesota to San Francisco.
Sounds like a simple enough idea, yeah? Well, it gets very complicated and yet remains grounded and quite relatable. As Riley is born, we get to meet her various emotions, brought to life by Amy Poheler, Mindy Kahling, Bill Hader, Phylis Smith and Lewis Black; they voice the emotions Joy (yellow), Disgust (green), Fear (purple), Sadness (blue) and Anger (red). As Riley grows and evolves, we get to see how her emotions travel with her on her journeys.
These emotions live in HQ (Riley’s mind) and are led by Joy, and they do all they can to ensure that Riley remains a happy, well-adjusted child by influencing her actions via a control console. Her memories are saved into little orbs, all of which are of different colours showing the emotion of that memory. Five of those memories are the core memories (all yellow), and they power five islands, each of which represents various aspects of Riley’s personality; basically, these five orbs are what make Riley, Riley. The core memories are what make her personality.
As Riley goes through various events in her life, Inside Out excels at taking even the simplest of occurrences and making them more meaningful, by showing us things from the perspective of Riley’s emotions.
You can tell that this was a well-thought-out project, from the idea itself to the animation style, to the casting. I was impressed that they actually cast actors who they felt could bring this wonderful characters to life, instead of going the route of just casting big-name actors just to get more publicity for the movie (*side-eyes “Minions”, Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm*).
Voice Acting isn’t quite as easy as it seems. You are given a script and a microphone and a booth, and it’s left to the actor to recite the lines in the script with enough personality to bring that character to life, which was what was done brilliantly here. Each actor held their own with their characters, thus creating distinct and memorable characters that in some other hands might have ended up being misunderstood.
It’s a very special thing for a motion picture to resonate with a viewer so much so that you find yourself still marvelling at how much it’s affected the way you view something as complex as human emotions days after you’ve seen it – in my case, months, I’m sure.
Inside Out is beautifully animated, magnificently voiced, has a wonderful story and is brilliantly executed. It’s relatable and thus it’s for everyone. Inside Out is a movie about emotions having emotions that’s bound to make you emotional.
The only problem that Inside Out might have is that along the way, it becomes a tad complicated, and that might be difficult for its main target demographic (kids) to follow, but that doesn’t stop it from being a glorious and joyous ride.
Best Character – Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith): The monotone voiced used by her for the role was perfect in conveying how the character felt. Her adventures and exchanges with Joy are also responsible for a lot of the film’s funny, heart-warming and poignant moments.
Rating – 9/10: With a wonderful cast, colourful and creative animation, a smart story with sharp dialogue and a wonderfully composed score, Inside Out is definitely one of the best pictures I have seen this year and I predict it takes home the awards for Best Animated Feature come awards season.
Written by Deola