If one were to discuss the film landscape in the last twenty years or so, the subject of Pixar Animation studios is inevitable. Pixar made its first splash in 1995 with Toy Story, a film which has become a modern classic. In the following years, Pixar proved their debut was no fluke with a series of highly regarded films like Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, WALL-E, and Up. These films were beloved by children, but also by adults due to their clever writing, creativity, smart comedy, and emotionally resonant stories. 15 years after Toy Story, Pixar brought a close to the trilogy with Toy Story 3, an excellent film and one of 2010’s best. However the film also marked the end of Pixar’s golden era. The next film from the studio would be Cars 2, a sequel to Pixar’s most uninspired film to begin with and an all-around terrible movie. Next was Brave, which came and went to little fanfare, and a Monsters Inc. prequel which wasn’t bad, but was also quickly forgotten. Pixar also have a plethora of sequels in the works, including Finding Dory, Cars 3, and Toy Story 4. All pointed to signs that the classic Pixar which took ambitious risks with new ideas and well-rounded films would be giving way to a more safe and conventional animation studio. There was however a ray of hope; Inside Out, an original IP with an enticing high concept which promised to explore emotions and the human mind. Early reviews indicated this was indeed a grand comeback for the studio. I had some reservations based on the trailer, but I still went into the film with the utmost optimism.
Inside Out follows Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), a young girl who lives with her loving family in Minnesota. Like most kids, Riley is governed in large part by her emotions, which in this film are personified as characters which live inside of her head, operating a control room influencing her actions. These emotions are Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). For most of Riley’s life, Joy has been the dominant emotion, but this is challenged when Riley’s family are forced to move to San Francisco. Struggling with the move and leaving her old friends, Sadness begins to take a more prominent role in Riley’s life. Joy attempts to resist this, and such a struggle threatens to throw all of Riley’s emotions into chaos. Read the rest of this entry »