Over the past few years, Pixar has seen a slight drop in the production quality of their films. “Brave” and “Monster’s University” were fine entries but they cannot compete with Pixar’s classics that they were churning out on an almost yearly basis during the late 90s and 2000s. Cars 2 was by far their worst film ever and the only one to garner majority negative reviews. They were lacking the spark that we could see in Up, Finding Nemo, and Toy Story. There was a lot of pressure on Inside Out to the be the film that got Pixar back on track, and thankfully for the world’s most acclaimed animation production company, it did just that.
Inside Out is one of the most creative and inventive ideas I have seen in a movie and probably the most unique storyline that Pixar has created since the original Toy Story. Personifying the emotions in our heads as actual characters not only provides ingenuity but it also opens up the road for comedy success as well. What’s best about this plotline is that it could have been really complicated for younger children to understand, but Pixar handled it in such a way that it is comprehensible to any viewer not matter the age. I can see this movie being appreciated the most by children just going into the puberty stage of their lives because their emotions seem out of control, which exactly what happens in the film. The film is so inventive in the way it portrays the activities going on in the brain; when Joy and Sadness are removed from the “Headquarters” they find themselves lost in the deep depths of the brain where they encounter various lands and subjects such as Dream Productions Studios, the Imaginary friend, and the literal Train of Thought. It’s all just so intelligent. It contains all the typical Pixar graces of humor that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike; I was cracking up during many parts of the film. However, what Pixar are the masters of is being able to pull at our heartstrings without fully breaking them (the opening sequence in Up being a prime example). There are many times in this film when you are filled with sadness, but never too much that it makes the movie appear tragic. Pixar are the undisputed masters of this and they use it to full effect in Inside Out. The lessons taught in the end are also important because life is never just one emotion, each moment is filled with a combination of emotions/feelings and that’s how we get the best out of each memory.
As the same with every Pixar film, it is also beautifully animated with incredible production design and perfectly cast voice actors. It’s one of the most relatable Pixar films we have seen in a while and the entire movie just feels like a breath of fresh air. Inside Out appears to be the light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully with “Finding Dory” being the next Pixar film scheduled to be released, we will see a continuation in this trend of quality. It’s not one of the best Pixar films I’ve seen and does lack a certain feeling of magic that the very best contain. It doesn’t quite crack my big 6 for Pixar (Toy 1, 2, 3, Up, Wall-e and Finding Nemo), but it comes very close and is arguable the most important film to the company since their first entry with “Toy Story”. An overall solid entry for the animated universe of Pixar that has restored my faith, and hopefully the public’s, in their ability to continually set the benchmark for what can be achieved with animated storytelling.
Inside Out (2015): 4/4 stars