For the most part, I find Pixar’s films to be much more innovative and original than Disney’s own animated features. They seem to be more magical and have depth to them. Inside Out was no disappointment; it was highly enjoyable, featured an incredibly unique premise and had a beautiful score. Generally speaking, Inside Out was everything I had hoped it would be and more.
Inside Out features personified emotions that have anthropomorphic bodies that live inside each and every one of us. Five emotions control our personality, what we like and don’t like, and how we react to our environment: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger. Each person has a control centre in their head where the five emotions ‘work’ and watch over everything that we do and dictate who we are. These five emotions are essentially what make you ‘you’. The five emotions that are the focus of this film happen to live inside the head of an 11 year old girl named Riley. Out of all the emotions in Riley’s head, the only one that doesn’t seem to know it’s place is Sadness, because well, no one wants to be sad. One day Joy and Sadness accidentally get sucked out of the control centre into the depths of Riley’s mind and need to get back unless Riley will never feel the emotions of Joy or Sadness ever again. They find themselves on a journey through the mind into such places as long-term memory, abstract thought, and the subconscious. The amount of psychology terms that were brought to life were plentiful and anyone who has taken courses on the mind or is interested in that sort of stuff will find this very enjoyable. The fact that we have a place in our mind where old memories go to die was an interesting concept. You think to yourself, I don’t remember the number to that video store back when I was a kid, and I never will recall it – Inside Out takes that concept and explores what happens when memories fade away. Sometimes we have to get rid of old memories or memories that are useless in order to store new and important memories. I really liked the theme that we should experience all emotions and that it’s okay to not experience joy all of the time. Sometimes people have to feel sad or angry; it’s normal. If people are only experiencing joy and never any sadness, it’s unhealthy.
While the character of Riley wasn’t exactly memorable, she wasn’t really supposed to be. She was more or less the home of the emotions instead of an actual character. She was more or less the output of what the emotions did inside her head. The true characters of Inside Out were the emotions and other ‘workers’ in Riley’s mind that controlled her. Each one was of course unique and memorable as they were incredibly representative of the emotion that they were. Anger was never really ‘happy’, he was kind of pissed off all the time…which made sense, he was the emotion of anger! The voice casting was excellent in this film, because who doesn’t represent joy better than Amy Poehler? Or Phyllis Smith representing sadness? Perfection. Even the voice casting for other characters, such as Bing Bong (Riley’s old imaginary friend) was a great role for Richard Kind. Zero complaints on voice casting; it was done very well and added a lot more to the film.
Wow. Honestly, Michael Giacchino’s score to Inside Out was perfection. It’s the kind of score that you notice is great while watching the movie, but having listened to it several times since watching the movie on its own…wow. It’s a great score and fit the movie SO well. Sometimes it’s incredibly silly to represent Bing Bong for instance, to remind us of the part of Riley’s life he was a part of, or it’s very lighthearted, whimsical, and innocent to represent Joy and the fun part of being a kid. The tuba that represented Sadness was honestly perfection. It didn’t fit with the rest of the score and to me that represented the fact that Sadness didn’t fit in with the other emotions and also the tuba is just such a ‘Debbie Downer’ of an instrument sometimes. It’s very fast paced and makes you want to work harder and do things faster when listening to it. At times, it can get pretty jazzy and the addition of the vibraphone being a feature instrument just added so much more to the music. This score is definitely a tie with Chappie at the moment (I LOVED that score) for my favourite score of 2015. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t enjoy the music to this film as it was very uplifting and sometimes silly. Definitely one of the best aspects to Inside Out.
The character design was another highlight for me. I loved the way that each emotion looked as not only did their colour represent their emotion, but their design overall did. Anger for instance was red, had fire come out of his head sometimes, and was very short (thus short-tempered), but Joy was yellow, glowing, and wide-eyed. She was the ‘fun’ one obviously out of the group. The glowing design that was added to some of the characters looked gorgeous and I loved how fun everything looked while sometimes taking an incredibly dark turn story wise. Sometimes the settings the characters were in were a little too bright and colourful and perhaps could have been a little more detailed and interesting to look at, but in general, I was happy with the settings and overall design of the film.
As you can tell, I enjoyed the movie and I think you will too. In my opinion this was one of Pixar’s best because it had everything in it that you could want from a Pixar movie: beautiful CGI, memorable characters, a lasting story, and fun music. Like I said earlier, if you have ever taken any courses in psychology about the mind and the subconscious or are just generally interested in that sort of stuff, you will get a kick out of a lot of the little things they added to this movie. I highly recommend this film and I cannot wait until I see it again. For now, I am listening to the score over and over again.
Image Credit: http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130922033444/pixar/images/a/a8/InsideOutTeaserPoster.png