So we went to go see Pixar’s new film Inside Out.
The reviews of the movie that I had seen so far have been of the form “PIXAR IS BACK, BABY!” and “bring tissues!” so I went to the movie both looking forward to a good flick and somewhat apprehensive that I might lose it in the middle of the day, in the middle of town and I don’t really have time for that sort of thing.
But I did want to see it…
But before we get to the review, let’s get into a relatively spoiler-free review.
Remember Herman’s Head? This is the animated film version of that.
A somewhat more spoilered review follows, read at your own risk.
Okay. So, like, people have emotions, right? Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Sadness, right? Well, imagine if any given person is, effectively, a Voltronish machine being run by these five emotions and the head/brain is the control room. Memories are created and the “Core Memories” keep the other various aspects of personality running.
We are given insight into the head of Riley whose control room is run by Joy with the help of the other emotions. Riley moved from her old house into her new neighborhood and this creates – A Situation. Joy is trying to keep running things but Sadness keeps horning in and messing things up. In an attempt to remove Sadness from the control room, both Joy and Sadness are expelled out to the more pedestrian parts of the brain leaving Disgust, Fear, and Anger in charge of Joy’s actions. In her attempts to get back to the control room, Joy learns that Sadness does some important stuff and balance is re-established once everyone gets back to where they belong and each gets to run things as appropriate.
And, along the way, heartstrings are pulled.
The movie is expertly crafted, the voice actors are perfectly chosen and at the top of their respective games, and the animation is vibrant and memorable.
I just wish that I couldn’t see how they were manipulating me so very expertly.
I mean, with Up? I was too busy crying to see how they were trying to make me cry. Inside Out had me noticing how good they were at trying to get me to cry to actually do so.
I don’t know if Up gave me a Pixar callous or whether I now know which strings to look for or what… but instead of feeling like having a good cry, I just felt manipulated.
(But I should also talk about stuff that I liked: I liked how different emotions were sitting in the boss’s chair in different people’s heads. I thought it was telling that Sadness was in charge of Mom and Anger was in charge of Dad. The cat scene at the end was pretty good too.)
Now, don’t get me wrong: it wasn’t a *BAD* movie. It was pretty good and I think it’d be a good movie for you to take your loved ones to. But if you’re looking for a good cry, just watch Up again.
With that said, I feel like there is some pretty rich soil in the universe of Inside Out and I wouldn’t mind seeing more stories being told with that basic conceit… here’s some of the stuff I’d like to see:
Inside Out retold with three characters: Id, Ego, and Superego.
Inside Out retold with three characters: A Janus-faced Joy/Sadness, a Janus-faced Excitement/Disgust. A Janus-faced Anger/Fear.
Inside Out retold with the exact same original five characters, but nobody leaves the control room.
As it is, I know I’m stuck with the Inside Out I have rather than the Inside Out I wish I had. But, still… I wish that they hadn’t made the strings so easy to see.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?