21 September 2015 | mohan59
An artistic triumph
For some reason, I couldn't quite catch this movie in theaters and I managed to watch it on an international flight. And boy, am I glad I did!
As far as concepts go, I was astonished at the amount of detail and coherence in execution. The visuals are absolutely stunning, the colors rich and vibrant, the characters utterly memorable and some of the most poignantly heart-breaking lines of dialogue ever spoken/sung in any movie, let alone feature animation. It is every bit a Disney-Pixar classic and as emphatic a return to form as it can get.
The story revolves around a young girl child who is happy in her world and has to suddenly acclimatize to another environment when her family has to move. Growing pains and social issues affect her while she grapples with increasingly complex situations, both at home and school. Meanwhile, the interplay between the five primary emotions inside her mind is both dynamic and fraught with compromises, much like how we deal with others everyday. As things come to a head and young Riley is about to make a life-changing decision, the events that follow leave a lasting impression, with an increased appreciation of the phrase "emotions are what makes us human"!
I recognized some dichotomies - for instance, Minnesota, usually perceived cold, is regarded as warm and comforting by Riley while San Francisco, renowned for its sunny weather, is seen as foreign and unwelcome. The other contrast I noticed was all five emotional figures (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust) do not always stay true to form, with Joy especially exhibiting nuances far beyond what her name implies - case in point, her touching admission preceding the last act (that entire sequence was too much for my eyes to take, by the way). All this might be considered a tad too much for young children to appreciate, but with time, they may probably realize how beautifully honest this movie was in trying to portray their growth and the underlying issues.
Certainly, it is not without flaws: the plot meandered a bit 2/3rds into the length; Joy's "A-ha" moment seems strangely contrived, despite the impact it had; the music was adequate but not truly captivating as in the case of other Pixar offerings. But the beauty of this medium is that it offers filmmakers opportunities to steer audiences to more engaging experiences; Pete Docter and Co accomplish this with aplomb.
In terms of cast and crew, the voice actors are superb selections - Lewis Black aces the Angry persona with generous dollops of sarcasm; Mindy Kaling is just perfect voicing Disgust; Richard Kind's performance as the imaginary Bing Bong is an absolute tear-jerker, while Kaitlyn Dias shows remarkable poise playing Riley. But it is Amy Poehler who steals the show in a coruscating blend of vivacity, vibrancy, and vicariousness. Her Joy is not an infallible leader, but one who accepts others in the face of challenging situations and plows ahead with inspiring positive energy. The animation left me spell-bound, especially the sequence where thoughts are shown to be abstracted, and are endowed with a lot of heart. The movie is fairly short, but a running time of 94 minutes is appropriate justice to a slightly heavy subject matter. The humor compensates with trademark Pixar staple of jokes, albeit intended for slightly more mature viewers. Pete Docter gave us the outstanding Up six years ago and ably accompanied by Ronnie del Carmen, has categorically demonstrated that he is a fabulous storyteller and a master entertainer.
Inside Out is every bit a Pixar fan's well-deserved reward for patience. Do yourself a favor and watch this magnificent gem.