By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A+ (4 stars)
The magical duo of Disney and Pixar Animation Studios return with their latest animated adventure, Inside Out, which is described as a “Major Emotion Picture”, and they’re completely right about that. After watching many films in the Pixar library like the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and Up, all I can say is, this is another one of their best films, and I consider this to be a modern classic, not to mention the film feels like every Pixar movie rolled into one…except for Cars 2, but I digress.
We all know that the executives at Pixar are emotional professionals, remember Jessie the Cowgirl’s backstory in Toy Story 2, or when Sulley and Boo became the best of friends in Monsters, Inc., or when Marlon the clownfish lost his wife and kids to a carnivorous predator in Finding Nemo? And let’s not forget the ending of Toy Story 3, a movie literally about emotions should be a piece of cake for Pixar and does it live up to what it promised? No…it surpassed it, why, let me tell you.
Everybody has little voices inside their heads, moms have them, dads have them, kids have them, everyone, especially a young girl named Riley Anderson (voiced by newcomer Kaitlyn Dias) who has the perfect life in Minneapolis with her caring mom (voiced by Diane Lane-Unfaithful, Under the Tuscan Sun, Man of Steel) and dad (voiced by Kyle MacLachlan-Dune, The Flintstones, Showgirls). She’s on a winning hockey team, she has friends, she loves her family, and she is very positive, all thanks to an emotion in her head named Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler-Parks and Recreation, Blades of Glory, The Secret World of Arrietty) who runs the control center in Riley’s head literally called “Headquarters”.
But Joy’s not alone at Headquarters; she also has the unhappy Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith-The Office, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Bad Teacher), the aggressive Anger (voiced by Stand Up comedian, Lewis Black), the cowardly Fear (voiced by Bill Hader-Superbad, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Men in Black 3), and the sarcastic Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling-The Office, The Mindy Project, Wreck-It Ralph) who all control Riley’s emotions and personality.
Unfortunately things get very emotional when Riley and her parents move to San Francisco after her dad gets a new job. So that means, a new house, new friends to make, and a new school, also due to Sadness’ clumsiness, Riley’s Core Memories get scattered and Joy and Sadness are sucked out of Headquarters, which could lead to a major problem, Anger, Disgust, and Fear left in charge of controlling Riley.
So Joy and Sadness embark on an adventure through Long Term Memory, The five Islands of Personality, Imagination Land, Dream Productions, and they hitch a ride on the Train of Thoughts with Riley’s childhood imaginary friend, Bing-Bong (voiced by Richard Kind-A Bug’s Life, Cars, Argo), who has a magical song-powered rocket to fly to the moon, to make it back to Headquarters and put Riley back in Joy’s control, before her life crumbles into the Abyss.
Overall, Inside Out is an animated movie that’s overflowing with creative ideas, beautiful animation, humor, and even well executed drama, which is certainly one of the many things Pixar does very well. This film takes its audience seriously and it doesn’t talk down to the kids and treats everyone mature and equal, thus resulting in a truly charming and powerful, not just animated movie, but movie in general.
It’s definitely somewhere in my Top 10 Favorite Pixar Movies list, along with the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Up, the list goes on. This, in my honest opinion is my go to family movie of the summer…at least until Minions comes out.