Animation is a small obsession of mine. I have animated films and TV shows scattered throughout my collection of discs, spanning a multitude of subjects and themes. When I see an animated feature that even remotely interests me, you are very likely to see me heading to the theater to see it. Somehow, the giant, unshaven dude sitting in the back of the theater at all of these "kids" movies has not gotten the cops called on me yet. I did draw the line at Frozen though... The giant, creepy-looking dude sitting in the back of a theater for a movie marketed to young girls would have had a potentially bad ending.
This time around, I went to see Inside Out, the latest opus from the studio that has been bringing joy to the theaters for 20 years. This time, they decided to throw caution to the wind, and literally bring Joy to the screen. Along with Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Sadness... so much sadness.... But before diving into that, I think it's important to mention the lava.
Lava is the short film preceding Inside Out, and tells the somewhat depressing, story of a lonely volcano, and his search for love. You read that right... It's about a volcano searching for love. On top of that, it is essentially a 5 minute long music video about this volcano and his search for love. I'm not here to give away the whole story, but suffice to say, this one can punch you right in the feels, and the theater may suddenly feel awfully dry... and I reiterate, this is about a volcano...searching for love... Let that sink in, please...
Inside Out itself is an ambitious project, and like Brave before it, is interesting in the fact that the main character is female. One can go back and forth about who the main character is, though. Joy seems to be at the center of the main story, but Riley is kind of the main character, as well as the primary setting, and... yeah... it can be a little confusing if you let yourself think about it too much.
The movie envisions the workings of the human mind, as the interaction between 5 primary emotions. As stated earlier, those emotions are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. The movie focuses on the inside of an 11 year old girl's brain, but we do get peaks into a couple other brains before the film is through. The whole thing tackles the immense frustration that can come from moving away from a familiar town, where all your happy memories are to a new town. Consequently the film manages to make a rather interesting look at depression.
The movie tugs at your emotions throughout, bringing you up, to take you back down. Selling you some hope, so that you can watch it crumble away. In short, it is the emotional roller coaster ride of adolescence condensed down into a short hour and a half film. It shows the point in one girl's life where Joy begins to lose control, and other conflicting emotions start to war inside her head. Watching the movie, it reminds me a lot of life in junior high, where keeping things level was next to impossible. Again, I don't want to give too much away.
The voice cast is superb, as per the usual Pixar fare. With Lewis Black's casting as Anger being quite possibly the most inspired choice of them all. Sure, Amy Poehler brought a lot of joy to Joy, and Bill Hader was great as Fear. Lewis Black practically personifies anger in everything he does. Hell, he doesn't even have to do a voice, he just needs to talk, and it sounds angry. It's perfect, and I couldn't help but smile, even though I suppose I should have been angry.
RECOMMENDATION: You like Pixar movies? Watch this movie. Do you like animation in general? Watch this movie. Do you have a heart? Watch this movie. Are you a crazed psychopath bent on the destruction of the human race? Probably shouldn't watch this movie... you should seek help instead.
IS IT THEATER WORTHY: Yeah. This makes a nice night out, although you will have to put up with a large number of loud children, so be prepared for that. Sit back, and enjoy the ride, and since it is dark, you won't have to worry about anyone else seeing you cry. So, that's a bonus.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This movie once again shows Pixar's ability to tug at the heart strings, this time telling you all the while they are manipulating your emotions. These people are mad geniuses, and must be stopped... Or not. It is interesting to note, that at the end of the movie, I could hear multiple people around me sniffling, a good indication that the theater was entirely too dry, and possibly dusty.
FINAL SCORE: 10 out of 10.