The Anticipated: Inside Out

In All, Movies by David

We finally come to the final edition of Catching Up with The Anticipated. This time I will explore Inside Out. The last Pixar film by Pete Docter, Up, is probably my favorite Pixar film, so was he able to deliver all the feels once again, or was even Pete not enough to get Pixar out of its recent creative doldrums? So let’s move forward, and see what the answer is.

Spoilers Ahead (Probably)

Inside Out (June 19th, 2015)

How was it?

Don’t freak out, this film is amazing, so all is good.

Oh, Pixar how I missed you. And I don’t just mean last year, but for a quite a few years. Ever since Toy Story 3 the studio has struggled to grasp the magic and mastery that had long defined its films. Yes, I am aware that Brave won the Oscar for Best Animated Film, but at this point the academy has absolutely no credibility in its animation picks; it seems to have basically decided that as long as Disney or Pixar release something better than Cars, the film will get an Oscar. So I had begun to worry that Pixar wouldn’t bother trying anymore, since they were just going to be lauded pretty much no matter what they did, but with Inside Out the studio shows it still knows what it is doing. Pete Docter showed in Up that he is a master of bringing a real emotional core to his films, one which can bring even the most stone-hearted person to tears. This is a movie about feelings, and it does a perfect job of making you experience all of those feels as you see the struggles of young Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) as she tries dealing with adult emotions for the first time. The film does a wonderful job of personifying her emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).

There is a messiness to this film that really fits with its story, and helps makes its emotional beats and punches work all the better. With that said, that messiness is also what makes this film suffer in comparison to say Up or Toy Story 3. The plot of this movie is kind of a mess, and the script is a bit uneven at times, but these are minor quibbles considering that when this film is on its game, what it accomplishes is simply breathtaking. This is upper tier Pixar, and the kind of film that makes people realize that animated movies can be just as good as any other movie (which really shouldn’t even be a discussion at this point, because clearly animation can be just as good, if not better, than live action, but people can be idiots, so this will always be a necessary argument). Inside Out is clever, funny, and knows perfectly how to engender emotions in its audience as it goes along. The film understood how joy and sadness are two sides of the same coin, and how each is needed in a person’s life, which is why this film does everything it can to tinge its happy moments with sadness and its sad moments with slight joy. By the end of the film, the audience experiences what it is like to grow up and the troubles that go with it. Inside Out is truly a wonder to behold. 

Isn’t this based on…?

Nothing! Meet the other original concept in this year’s major summer movies. There really aren’t any others.

Did it warrant its selection on The Anticipated?

Always aim for the moon… Why, Bing Bong, why?!

Without question. For one thing, this film has been nearly universally praised by audiences and critics alike, and it also has been a box office monster. Its earning power has been especially impressive because it came out a week after Jurassic World, which meant it had to compete with a box office supernova from the very beginning. To further emphasize this point, Inside Out opened at 90 million dollars and still was not number one in the box office. This film is already the third highest grossing Pixar film of all time, and still has a good chance of passing Finding Nemo to become the second highest. Furthermore, this is a film starring a young girl dealing with the stress of her emotions as she grows up, and audiences have absolutely loved it. The fact that it has been yet another female driven film that is massively successful is just icing on the cake. This film checks all boxes for a movie in The Anticipated.

More importantly, it cannot be understated how nice it is to see Pixar can still bring it. This is especially important because it seems more and more likely that Pixar’s other release this year, The Good Dinosaur, is going to be absolutely terrible (you don’t replace your directors and virtually your entire voice cast for kicks and giggles), so Pixar absolutely needed this film to feel like a return to form. Pixar has had settle for good movies when it is capable of greatness, so seeing Pixar be great again was very satisfying.

Would I recommend it to others? 

Yes, if you have not seen it, go watch this movie. 

How does this film measure up in a post Mad Max: Fury Road world?

Yep, it stands tall and proud in this post Fury Road world. This film is a standout in what has at times been a rather average summer movie season.

How would I rate it? 

Take a wonderful trip down memory lane.

On our handy dandy made-up anticipation meter, Inside Out would rate 9 core memories out of 10 because it was a smashing critical and commercial success. The hype for it may have gotten a bit too high before it came out, which stops it from getting 10 out of 10, but it is still top tier Pixar.

For an actual rating: The film is not perfect, but damn, it comes pretty close. The emotional journey in the film is flawlessly done, and it knows exactly how to use its messiness to maximum effect. Sure, when comparing it to other great films, cracks start to show with its uneven script and plotting, but it is still easily 4 out 4 stars. This is one of the best films of the year, and something people of all ages can really enjoy. Go see this film.

That’s for this edition of The Anticipated. This should get everything caught up just in time to cover two new films which came out on July 24th: Paper Towns and Irrational Man. It is unclear which one of these I will be seeing first, so I do not know yet which will be reviewed first. You’ll just have to find out the answer from the next The Anticipated.

Will David Be Watching Crimson Peak?

The great Del Toro viewing is still ongoing, but Crimson Peak really did look gorgeous at SDCC. Decisions, decisions…