There was a stretch of time when I was starting to wonder if Pixar had finally lost its mojo. They’ve never made anything flat-out terrible, but Cars 2, Brave and Monsters University were kind-of underwhelming. And while Toy Story 3 was admittedly wonderful, you'd have to go all the way back to 2009’s Up for a Pixar film with the distinctive originality and imagination we’ve come to expect.
Which is what makes Inside Out such a wonderful surprise, for me at least. I skipped seeing it in theaters because it looked like just another animated movie produced by what was fast-becoming just another studio. How wrong I was.
The prologue alone is more creative and captivating than anything in Pixar’s last three movies combined, and it only gets better from there. The concept, in which 11-year-old Riley’s five basic emotions (joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust) are personified in her mind, allows limitless creative possibilities. Because at least two-thirds of the film takes place in Riley’s head, the writers, directors and animators allow their imaginations to run wild, making this the most visually-arresting Pixar movie since WALL-E.
|"'Pink Elephants On Parade'? Never heard of it."|
But Inside Out isn’t just a feast for the eyes. The story itself is compelling and clever, with well-rounded characters both inside and outside Riley’s head, all perfectly voiced by an impressive cast (with Lewis Black as Anger being kind-of a no-brainer). And like the best Pixar films, Inside Out runs the emotional gamut, managing to be, by turns, funny, suspenseful, tragic, rousing and ultimately heartwarming.
This is a Pixar I know and love, and Inside Out is easily their best film in nearly a decade, as visually and narratively original as some of their undisputed classics. Unless Pixar’s own upcoming The Good Dinosaur turns out to be an out-of-body experience, I can’t imagine Inside Out not taking home an Oscar this year for Best Animated film.
Disc 1 (accompanying the film)
- Audio Commentary by director Pete Docter, co-director Ronnie Del Carmen & director of photography Patrick Lin
- 2 Animated Shorts: “Lava,” which played with Inside Out in theaters; “Riley’s First Date?”, a brand new short featuring the same characters (it’s hilarious and includes the best use of an AC/DC song ever)
- “Paths to Pixar: The Women of Inside Out”: Comments and anecdotes from many of the women involving in making the film
- “Mixed Emotions”: The directors consult real-life experts about how the mind works regarding the emotions characterized in the film
Disc 2 (additional bonus features)
- “Story of the Story”: Several members of the cast & crew discuss the creation of the story
- “Mapping the Mind”: The directors, production designer Ralph Eggleston & producer Jonas Riveras talk about how they decided to depict various part of the brain’s memory
- “Into the Unknown: The Sound of Inside Out” & “The Misunderstood Art of Animation Film Editing”: 2 postproduction featurettes regarding the sound effects and editing process
- “Our Dads, the Filmmakers”: Featuring the kids of director Docter & composer Michael Giacchino
- “Mind Candy”: a very amusing series of short sketches featuring the emotion characters
- Deleted storyboarded scenes
- 3 Trailers, one in Japanese
- DVD (a code for a digital copy is also included)
MEE-OW! BETTER THAN AN OPEN CAN OF TUNA