Inside Out

June 20, 2015 at 4:30 pm | Posted in 2015 | 1 Comment
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After having seen every single Pixar picture for it’s first 15 years, I had become a bit fatigued by the formula and far less wow’d by the animation. I began letting newer films slip through the cracks and, the truth is, I haven’t seen one in several years. However, the buzz on this one was strong enough and I was intrigued by the idea. Well, what a great time to return to the fold. This may well be the strongest of their films yet. While not as full-on kid fun as something like “Finding Nemo,” this film has a complexity, maturity and depth of emotion that is easily as good as anything we saw in the “Toy Story” trilogy. While it lacked the character development “Toy Story” was able to achieve over 3 films, there was much greater emotional complexity explored here. Eleven-year-old Riley has to contend with her family’s move to San Francisco and it has sent her into turmoil. This simple, everyday event is the basis of this entire film’s exposition into human emotions and what we get is an incredibly nuanced view of how we think and feel that threatens to teach fully grown adults a thing or two along side their kids. There is, in the end, a beautiful message about the vital role sadness plays in our lives (ie joy is a wonderful thing but a fixation on pleasure in the face of loss can be crippling). This is complex, heady stuff; we are not in “Snow White” and “happily ever after” territory here. But, don’t worry, there is plenty to laugh at, as well. Pixar continues to do a brilliant job of layering the humor for all ages and includes some wonderful zingers for the adults, including some great San Francisco-specific jokes (“there are no bears in San Francisco!” “I saw a really hairy guy. He looked like a bear.”  Ha!). This is fun stuff, while also being pensive, insightful and moving. Pixar has raised the bar on what we can expect from our childrens films and what we can expect our children to understand. I, for one, think we are all up to the task.

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  1. I wanted to attach this NYTimes article in which two of the scientists who were consulted for “Inside Out” talk about the science behind the film. I like the article because it shows how committed Pixar is to helping “children’s films” grow up into serious movie fare.

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