Curiously nerdy posts.
So this past weekend, I went to go see Inside Out with my wife on our date night. You probably don’t need me to tell you that it’s a great movie (it is), so instead of doing my normal little likes and dislikes list, I figured I’d just talk about it a bit instead.
I was tempted to list out all of Pixar’s movies and rank them, but I can’t do that in depth, thanks to the fact that I have not seen A Bug’s Life, Monster’s University, and Cars 1 and 2. Disregarding those movies (and from what I have seen, those are generally considered the most inferior movies Pixar has made anyway), my own personal ranking goes like this:
8) Monsters Inc.
7) Finding Nemo
4) Inside Out
2) The Incredibles
1) The Toy Story trilogy*
*People tend to rank the Toy Story movies separately, but I prefer not to. The original has a hard time holding up because it’s so dated looked (I mean, seriously. They couldn’t even do long hair in this movie, and now they do crazy things like Merida’s hair to just SHOW OFF), and was more like a proof of concept that computer animation had arrived. But with the brilliant story arc over a decade and a half (seriously, I have so much respect for Pixar being patient on sequels), and consistent quality of all three, I just had to lump them together.
Inside Out is a great example of a movie with the simplest, most relatable plot ever, and finding a way to make it an epic adventure by putting certain details under a microscope. If you map out what literally happens to Riley ( the little girl who serves as the setting for most of the movie), she moves to a new place, has a hard time adjusting to it, clashes with her parents, wants to go home to Minnesota, runs away for a few hours, and then comes home and tells them she’s having a hard time dealing with it. Then she gets better.
Seriously, that’s it. You could tell that story in five minutes if you really wanted to.
But this movie, of course, isn’t about that. It’s about how she feels about it all, not so much about what she actually does. The emotions running her brain act like caricatures, which is a very rare and cool occasion as a writer where that’s exactly what you WANT. The story told isn’t exactly groundbreaking (that you need all of your emotions to function, not just the fun ones), but it’s told well. And as usual, there are a few subtle visuals that tell as much as a wall of explication could within the span of seconds. My personal favorite example is that when you’re in Riley’s head, the emotions battle to get in front of the main console for control… but when you pan over to her mom, and then her dad, their emotions are lined up with their own individual panels, Star Trek style. It was a nice little touch to show the superior emotional control (in theory) that adults have over children.
The actual art, as usual, pushes the envelope. The fuzzy texture the emotions carry is just gorgeous, and they have more fun with that in Riley’s imagination. It’s gotten to the point where you wonder what visual frontiers are left to conquer. It’s not like realism is hard to achieve anymore.
All this being said, the movie does drag a bit in the middle. It’s like the storyboard had to make up new obstacles for Joy to overcome to keep the story going – an understandable hurdle given how incredibly simple the actual story is. And much like Up! was, this movie is more for people who have at least already passed puberty. I have a hard time seeing kids really enjoying this one much. Though it should be said that this movie doesn’t have that ten minutes of feels at the beginning like Up! does. It’s spread out much more evenly… thankfully.
Regardless of those two issues, though, the movie was great. Another absolute winner from Pixar, for my money.
P.S. the short before the movie is also great. My wife tells me she lavas me all the time now.
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