Plot: What’s it about?
Pixar continued their winning streak this past summer with Inside Out. The film was a huge hit with critics and audiences alike. Young ones in particular should really enjoy this film as it offers an easy to follow story as well as plenty of striking visuals. How parents will feel is up for debate as this is certainly one geared more towards the young’uns. It doesn’t have that instant likeability of the Toy Story films nor the wit of some of their other work. With that being said, it passes the time easily enough where you won’t feel too bad about sitting through it.
The story begins with Riley, an 11-year-old girl whose family has just moved from Minnesota to San Francisco. Obviously, a young child gets very emotional over such an event, and we go inside her head as we see her various emotions and how they react to things. There’s Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Each of these emotions is a character. All of them get their moment to shine, and that was one of the highlights for me. I enjoyed seeing each of them over the course of the film. As we spend a lot of time with the emotions, we also get a lot outside Riley’s head as we see her daily life. We cut back and forth a bit between what she sees and inside her head as we see her emotions.
I admit that I wasn’t overly crazy about Inside Out, but the more I thought back over it, the more I liked it. I mentioned it being geared more towards kids (as it should), but some of the themes might go over their heads. I actually appreciated this element as it was refreshing to find an animated film deal with more mature themes. We’ve all felt many of the things that Riley feels in this film. I like the way that the emotions are actual characters as well. Ultimately, I think Inside Out does enough right to warrant a viewing. I don’t think it’s the best Pixar film, but it’s also far from the worst. Either way, it’s worth viewing at least once. Kids should enjoy it as well, and sometimes, that’s the most important thing.
Video: How’s it look?
I think, by now, we all know what to expect when we pop in a Pixar movie in our Blu-ray (or even DVD) player. Yeah, stunning, excellent, amazing, jaw-dropping and so forth. Inside Out is certainly no exception. The 2.39:1 AVC HD transfer is literally candy for the eyes. Each emotion has their own flare and color, and the animation is so life like that it’s like they’re living, breathing beings as opposed to a figment of someone’s imagination. Detail in the backgrounds is amazing, the texture in the hair and clothes is stunning… As I so often say, I could go on and on but I think it’s safe to say that no one will be let down when it comes to how this looks on screen.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Equally amazing is the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack. Vocals are so rich and clear, that it’s almost like the actors are sitting behind the TV reading their lines. LFE have several instances in the film as well, especially when Jangles the Clown makes his entrance. Directional effects provide an almost dizzying effect that have, at some points, the sound bouncing off the speakers. This is a lively and action-packed mix. Surrounds are ever so active and do exactly what’s needed to give the soundtrack some depth. There’s really not a thing wrong with the way this sounds – prepare to be amazed.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Directors Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen are joined by producer Jonas Rivera. This isn’t Docter’s first rodeo, so he’s a bit more talkative during the track. It’s clear they’ve got the vision and know what to do on these films by now and it’s a fairly interesting track to boot.
- Riley’s First Date? (In-Home Exclusive Animated Short Film) – Riley, now 12, is hanging out at home with her parents in San Francisco when potential trouble comes knocking: a boy shows up at the door. Can Mom and Dad’s emotions handle “Riley’s First Date?”
- LAVA (Theatrical Short Film) – Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, LAVA is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years.
- Story of the Story – Director Pete Docter talks about the evolution of Inside Out, from the ideas and memories that inspired the story through the hurdles, explorations and experiences that helped shape it into the film it is today.
- Paths to Pixar: The Women of Inside Out – Inside Out filmmakers, from voice actors to animators to production crew, talk about their paths, their goals, the challenges they’ve faced and the lessons they’ve learned along the way
- Mixed Emotions – Inside Out‘s filmmakers talk about how they decided which emotions to focus on in the story and how they went about creating each one’s distinct personality and visual identity
- Mapping the Mind – Inside Out‘s artists take you through the years-long process of designing and creating a world everyone knows, but no one has ever seen – the human mind.
- Our Dads, the Filmmakers – Elie Docter (daughter of director, Pete Docter) and Grace Giacchino (daughter of composer, Michael Giacchino) bring you behind the scenes for an inside look at the making of the film.
- Into the Unknown: The Sound of Inside Out – What is the sound of a memory forming? Sound designer Ren Klyce describes the challenges – and the unique solutions – involved in creating the aural world explored in the film.
- The Misunderstood Art of Animation Film Editing – Learn more about the crucial role of an animation film editor, who helps take the story from its earliest, most exploratory versions, to the final, polished film you see onscreen.
- Deleted Scenes
- Riley Grows Up – In this scene from a version of the film where the primary relationship was between Joy and Fear (then named Freddie), the emotions begin to notice a change in Riley.
Joy’s Decline – Joy’s struggles to make sense of the limitations on Riley’s behavior that seem to be springing up at every turn.
Misdirection – Joy and Freddie encounter a group of Riley’s “retired” imaginary friends, including an early version of Big Bong.
Construction – Joy is guided through Riley’s mind by a radical non-conformist, Bing Bong, outraged by the demolition of older areas like Imagination Park.
The Bottom Line
Let’s start with this: Kids will most likely love Inside Out. It doesn’t have the replay value of the Toy Story films, but it works well enough on its own. It’s also fairly relatable the way that it deals with the various emotions that we’ve all felt at some point in our life. Recommended.