Sunday, August 23, 2015

'Inside Out' Rivals 'Toy Story' Movies As Pixar's Magnum Opus

If I will be writing now my list for best movies of the year, Inside Out will take the number one spot.  Of course, it is possible that I would still get to see a movie this year that I will deem better.  However, if I’m rating movies, I will give Inside Out a perfect score – an A+, or a 100%, or five stars out of five.  So it would take something so awesomely flawless to unseat Inside Out.  And looking at the movies left this year, I think Star Wars is the only potential contender.

Inside Out tells the story of 11-year-old Riley and the anthropomorphized emotions living in her head – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger.  Riley’s emotions do a fine job in keeping Riley’s life steady and happy… until Riley’s family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.  With Riley struggling to adjust to her new life, it is up to Joy and the other emotions to guide her through this stressful, life-changing period.

It’s not the first time that a story used the concept of the human brain as a world or command center with personifications of emotions/neurons/cells/thoughts working inside it.  But Inside Out uses the concept in such a fresh, enjoyable, and vibrant manner that it has established itself as the best of such stories.  It presents some innocent but smart insights on human psychology, and succeeds in delightfully embodying some of its concepts in amusing fantasy models and metaphors.

Beautiful animation and a well-written, funny, and heartwarming story are things to be expected from a Pixar feature.   But Inside Out is truly special.  It is superior to most Pixar movies.  Up, Wall-E, and The Incredibles are all terrific timeless classics, but I really think Inside Out is better than them.  No other Pixar film since Toy Story 3 has the thoughtfulness, storytelling depth, and feels that Inside Out possesses.  The Toy Story movies are still my favorite Pixar films – these movies made much impact on me – but if somebody say that Inside Out is better, I won’t correct them.  Inside Out truly makes a strong case of being Pixar’s best.

Inside Out is brilliant and flawless.  The quality of this movie is comparable to the best of animated classics as it will effortlessly make its audiences laugh, cry, reflect, and feel warm and good inside.  And that makes the best kind of family entertainment.

Miscellaneous SPOILER-y musings:
  • I also did love Lava, the touching short that run before Inside Out.  Really did a fine job of prepping the audience’s emotions and attention for Inside Out.
  • An Inside Out short is coming later this year telling the story of Riley on her first date.  And I guess a full-length sequel is something eventual to happen.  Now, I’m curious what kind of storyline can surpass, or at least match, the perfectness of the first one.  Will it be better if Riley’s story continue after a significant time skip? In high school? Or even college? Will additional emotions be appearing in Riley’s later years?  (Though I doubt that, since it was seen that adults also have the same 5-emotion lineup as 11-year-old Riley.)  I really have no idea how Pixar can expand Inside Out further and offer something unique from the first one.  But I guess if anyone can do it, it’s those Pixar guys.  If it could be a sequel better than the original, then Inside Out could be the next Toy Story property.
  • A character, Bing Bong, Riley’s forgotten imaginary friend from her younger years, basically died in this movie.  A character death in a “G”-rated animated feature isn’t really something disturbing or impossible.  But I wasn’t expecting a character to die in this movie.  It was a shock, but the development added additional depth to the story.
  • Later, a bunch of “imaginary boyfriends” – who declared that they “would die for Riley” – actually sacrificed their lives.    Again, not really too disturbing.  But this is just an indication that Inside Out has some subtly dark elements.  And, again, it adds additional depth.
  • But the most interesting shocker was the implication that the whole ordeal had put Riley at risk of becoming a sociopath.  Exagerrated, but definitely improved the movie.
  • This made me want a more mature story taking place in the Inside Out world to be made.  In the ending credits, we get fascinating and funny glimpses of what’s going on in the minds of different kinds of people as well as a dog and a cat.  Now, what’s more interesting is to Inside Out the mind of a person with a mental disorder, like schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder.  Very intriguing, eh?

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