Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review: Pixar Shows A Typical Girl Inside Out

It's been three years since Pixar scored a big hit with Brave, then allowed Walt Disney Animation take the lead with Wreck-it Ralph and Frozen.

Now, the innovative studio has returned in a big way with a journey into the most complicated destination of eleven year old girl.

While it may be a bit much for Variety to say the movie is Pixar's best idea yet, it's a unique look at how a girl named Riley deals with a big move from Minnesota to San Francisco, from trying to find new friends at school to hoping to join a junior hockey league.
Her journey is seen through five specific emotions:  Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Fear (Bill Hader). Joy is the positive and pushy one, thinking that it's important to keep Riley happy all the time. She is upset when Sadness touches some of the memories, making them  unhappy. Anger, of course, has a temper that makes Riley act out when she learns her old friend in Minnesota don't exactly miss her.

When an accident sends Joy and Sadness into the inner mind, that means trouble, when Anger, Disgust and Fear are unable to help Riley deal with the big move. It leads to a decision that may cause even bigger problems.

What's great about the "inner mind" of Riley is that parts of her self are shown as islands, devoted to her love for family, hockey, and being goofy. Once she gives up those parts of her self, they collapse and fall into "memory dump", where they are forgotten.
Joy and Sadness also gets some help from Riley's former imaginary friend named Bing Bong, who tries to get them on the "Train of Thought" back to headquarters. One of the more unusual scenes is where they enter a section devoted to abstract thought. Seeing Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong turn into Picasso figures is really strange. There's also a bit involving two guards that guard the subconscious, and have a tough time figuring whose hat is whose.

The movie is also smart enough to see what's inside the heads of mom and dad, voiced respectively by Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan. The figures that represent their emotions look quite familiar.

Poehler has the toughest job in the movie because she has to portray Joy as always positive, but also add some doubt when Joy realizes it's not possible to keep Riley happy all the time.

The movie should do well, although it may not earn as much as Jurassic World in its second week. At least one article is predicting Inside Out will win next year's Best Animated Film at the Academy Awards. That could come to pass because it's so unique, but let's hear from the Minions from Despicable Me, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, and a Good Dinosaur before we make a final decision.

By the way, I also saw Mad Max:  Fury Road because I was in no mood to see the one dinosaur that shouldn't be in Jurassic World: Claire the cold corporate girl who learns maternal feelings and throws away her heels thanks to Star Lord. If Bryce Dallas  Howard was in any other role in that movie, like maybe someone interested in sending raptors to war and soon figuring out it wouldn't work, it would have been a lot better.
As far as I'm concerned, there's one person tougher than the Indominus Rex..and that's her:

Also, for those upset that Furiosa was talking back at Max, just remember he hasn't recovered from his last two movies. It takes him a while to show Furiosa where the "green place" she seeks really exists.

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