What never fails to amaze me about Pixar’s movies is the incredible attention to detail. Whether it’s the storyline or the visuals, every element is refined and implemented so well. Just from the watching the trailer alone, Inside Out demonstrates Pixar’s ability to bring to life a high-concept story. But make sure to have tissue handy when the movie is released nationwide on June 19, 2015.
The story revolves around a young girl named Riley who grows up in Minnesota. Throughout her early childhood, we are introduced to her “dynamic” emotions—Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. When her father finds a job opportunity in San Francisco, their family moves and tries to adjust to the new environment. This is when her emotions face trouble in keeping Riley balanced, especially with Sadness. As Joy attempts to maintain her happiness, Sadness indirectly taints one of Riley’s memories. In a chain of events, the emotions hurriedly try to reverse the damage while trying to keep Riley composed in reality.
First and foremost, the visuals and animations are breathtakingly gorgeous, especially in 3D. Even with an abstract concept, Pixar makes intangibility into something physically stunning. What really impress me are the landscapes, both externally and internally. For example, when Riley suggests going to a local pizza shop, the subtle details in the background demonstrate Pixar’s artistry. In the picture below, there are flyers on the right side, a man casually eating pizza near the front window, a fridge with brand stickers, and a cash register with visible computations. All of these elements are so beautifully designed and the color scheme provides a touch of reality that makes this brief scene so wonderful.
One of my favorite scenes has to be when Joy and Sadness enter “Dream Productions,” a place where Riley’s dreams are made. In this part of Riley’s conscious, there is a noticeable likeness to Hollywood. In the picture below, Pixar imaginatively twists this idea. It’s absolutely brilliant. Again, I give high praise to the animators and designers for the details, especially with the interplay between light and shadow.
Because this movie deals with the “voices in our heads,” the abstract nature of the story may go over the heads of younger audiences. In one of the scenes, I did hear a child ask his parents, “What is REM sleep?” Despite loving the originality, the story is difficult to fully simplify for children. Concepts like the subconscious and memory deterioration are not really discussed in elementary school. However, Pixar still manages to explore human consciousness and emotion without disturbing the movie’s playfulness. To be honest, having the characters explain where they were going helped me a ton.
There are times when ideas are unique but lack cohesiveness and impact. But there are movies like Inside Out that are original, fun, and just work. The movie is a rollercoaster of emotions and visually spectacular. Children will love the adventure and the comical moments that make the characters endearing. And adults will connect and relate to the struggles of growing up as well as facing life’s obstacles. Like the majority of Pixar films, Inside Out is definitely going to be a summer hit and a movie masterpiece.