It took me two attempts to see Inside Out. When it was in theaters, I decided it would be fun to take my 4 year old niece. Now, it was fun however, not a lot of movie watching was actually done. Most of it was taking breaks in the lobby, getting more popcorn, and eventually leaving early because she was getting too restless. Somehow the metaphorical undertones of maturing emotions went over her head. Oh well.
So I finally managed to watch the whole film this week with its release to Blu-ray. And now I know what I was only able to glimpse previously: its brilliant. It starts off really cutesy and high energy, but as it continues it really settles down into one of those classic Pixar think pieces that is both entertaining and actually has a strong element of theme. In this case its taking a pretty close and honest look at what it means to grow up.
The creativity behind how this girl’s head is designed is a lot of fun. The idea of long term memory being endless shelves, how memories themselves are translucent balls that fade as they’re forgotten, how dreams are created with a Hollywood-like studio, its all really cool.
And within this framework, Pixar puts together a great story about how two emotions, Joy and Sadness, have to figure out how to get the girl Riley through a major period of change for her. And as this story is told, we get a lot of insights into how the growing human mind works, how childish things like imaginary friends are put away, how emotions sometimes need to blend,, and why sometimes being happy isn’t everything. Pretty deep stuff when you dig into it.
But what is really great is that Pixar never spells all that out for you, its all visual and action-based. For example, at one point we see inside the parents heads. Anger is running the Dad’s brain, while Sadness is running the moms. Those are quick glances, but when you think about it it says a lot.
Inside out is a great movie, thats what this comes down to. Pixar has done it again.