Why Inside Out is an Animated Masterpiece

phillysports
For those of you who don't know, Inside Out is my favorite film of all time. To me it's not only the greatest Pixar production, but the greatest animated movie ever created. And I know that's pretty high praise for a movie that's still relatively new, but with all that this movie has to offer, I think it's warranted. Disney and Pixar both stepped up their game here, creating an interesting, enlightening movie that challenges kids and intrigues adults simultaneously. To me, this is as perfect as a movie can get. And I'm going to break down Inside Out's genius in each of its different elements.

THE STORY
Let's get this out of the way first. Inside Out did not originate the idea that people exist in our minds and control our daily activities. Several classic Disney shorts have done this, a 90s sitcom named Herman's Head did this, and I even remember watching an episode of Ned's Declassified with a similar situation inside the main character's head. What I'm saying is that this movie's concept has been done before. However, it's WHAT they did with such an idea that blew me away. Inside Out is essentially a coming-of-age story about the struggles of adapting to new obstacles in life. With that setup, much drama comes with it. Pixar usually gives us one or two deep, emotional scenes per movie, but I can count at least FOUR scenes from this film that had me on the verge of tears. Inside Out is very interesting in the fact that there are two plots of equal importance that are occurring: Joy and Sadness' return to Headquarters and Riley's struggle to adapt to her new San Francisco environment. The genius thing about these two plots is that one of them has a direct effect on the other. If something bad happens in Riley's life, a new obstacle for the emotions will surface. If the emotions screw up at all, a new obstacle will surface for Riley. The two plots play off of each other perfectly and create tons of potential for jokes, drama, and valuable messages. While this movie's concept is not completely original, it's INVENTIVE in the fact that it does everything you could do with such an idea. The Pixar staff really took this idea and ran with it, and it paid off in such a monumental way.

THE CHARACTERS
The Pixar team had an interesting task when writing the characters of this movie. How can you make five characters that serve as the extreme of a particular emotion without them coming off as overbearing or annoying? I have no idea, but they sure did pull it off. All of the emotions are all extremely lovable and charming with their designated emotion being their best quality. Just the way these different extremes play off of each other is fantastically funny and is just flat out fun to watch. However, these characters are not one-note at all. They have distinctive, three-dimensional personalities and are not held back by just one particular trait. Bing Bong is one of the most interesting comic relief characters ever in the fact that he provides just as much heart to the film as laughs. Likewise, I find myself really enjoying the characters in "the real world" as well. I find myself relating to Riley a lot. I've come across many problems in my life similar to the ones that she comes across, and feel great sympathy for her. She basically serves as a blank slate for the viewer to project themselves upon. Joy is definitely my favorite character from the movie and one of my favorite characters EVER. I've always been a big fan of Amy Poehler, but this movie pushed my respect for her to the next level. Joy being the embodiment of happiness is the optimistic, perky one of the group. However, she still has flaws and goes through a great arc about not being so controlling of Riley and letting the other emotions have their chance to take over as well. I truly do believe that this is one of the greatest cast of characters ever assembled for any animated movie ever. These characters just feel REAL to me.

THE SCRIPT
The script to this movie is just flat out brilliant. The writers for this movie know exactly how people talk and interact with one another, and they balance comedy and drama absolutely beautifully. There's scenes like the "Triple-Dent Gum jingle" or "inside Riley's parents' emotions" that are downright hilarious but there are flat out tear-jerking moments like "Tears of Joy" and (SPOILER ALERT) Bing Bong fading away. While this movie is not as gut-bustlingly hilarious as other Pixar films like Finding Nemo or Monsters, Inc., it wasn't meant to be. The comedy in this movie was not the highest priority, but still all of the intended jokes that come out made me laugh. The way these characters talk to one another makes me completely interested in what they were talking about. With these lovable characters and the way this script is written, they could talk about ANYTHING and I would be invested.

THE PERFORMANCES
Inside Out is one of the best casted animated movies ever. The actors that they assembled to play each of the emotions perfectly embody their specific emotion. Amy Poehler is known for her very optimistic, happy roles such as Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec, making her the absolute perfect voice for Joy. Phyllis Smith's soothing, melancholic voice from The Office made her ideal casting for Sadness. LEWIS BLACK IS ANGER. Just watch his stand-up to see what I'm talking about. Mindy Kaling's roles in shows like The Office and The Mindy Project shows that she could pull of the Disgust character. And Bill Hader's lovably awkward performances during his career made him a great choice for Fear. Additionally, Richard Kind is absolutely great as Bing Bong. and the girl who played Riley also gives a great performance. You can tell that the actors poured everything they had into their roles, and had a heck of a lot of fun doing it.

THE ANIMATION
This movie is a rare feat in animation. We all know that every Pixar movie looks fantastic, but you can tell that the studio really stepped up their game here. If you carefully look at the emotions, you'll notice that they are not stationary, but are rather continuously moving balls of energy. I don't know how long the animators took to pull this off, but it had to be worth it to see how beautiful these characters turned out in the finished product. Inside Out is also special in the fact that the characters of Riley's mind move in exaggerated, cartoony movements that pay tribute to the zany toons of the 40's and 50's, while the characters in 'the real world" definitely move in more natural, realistic ways. And that contrast between styles really brings out the best of both of them. Some of the shots in this movie are just simply stunning and greatly assist in the tone the movie is trying to set. Also the "Abstract Thought" scene was just flat out brilliant, and was a great showcase of Pixar's experimental side.

THE SCORE
The soundtrack here is beautiful. Just hearing the opening piano notes of the movie's theme makes me so wrapped up in emotion and thought. The movie knows how to use its soundtrack in the best ways possible. When a funny sequence occurs, the music is lively and upbeat. When a serious scene is happening, the music becomes more fast and intense. When a sad scene happens, the music slows down and puts accentuation on every meaningful word the characters are saying. I always believed that the music in movies should be used to further the power and scope of the film as a whole, and Inside Out pulled this off masterfully.

THE MESSAGE
The message of this movie is a message that a lot more movies like this need to get across: each and every one of your emotions is important (even sadness) and being able to evenly control them will help you to become a better person. So often, people tend to hide there emotions and not acknowledge the fact that they are unhappy or emotionally unstable. Inside Out teaches that each of our emotions are valuable parts of each of us. Joy helps us to face the world with open eyes. Anger helps us to be treated fairly. Disgust prevents us from being physically or socially poisoned. Fear protects us from bad situations. And Sadness lets others know when we are in need of love or help. As someone who is on the verge of college and adulthood, I appreciate Pixar for making a movie that young kids could easily enjoy, but later grow up and appreciate the message on an even greater scale. Movies like Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and The Incredibles were the prime example of this when I was growing up, and I feel inspired to be a better person every time I watch Inside Out.

So there it is. My complete and total opinion on why I believe that Inside Out is a magnificent landmark not only in animation history, but film history as a whole. I truly love this movie with the bottom of my heart, and its messages and characters will be forever in my mind. Thank you Pete Docter and the Pixar team for making such a fantastic, emotional, deep, funny, and heartwarming story.

P.S. I hope for a sequel in the future!

Comments

This was an awesome review! I agree with every thing you said, I love Inside Out! - Absolite

I like it, but they are better animated movies like Ponyo and Castle in the Sky. - visitor

1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000/10 - visitor

10/10, incredible movie - PeeledBanana

I really do respect the movie so much for the innovation and just awesome ideas into it, it's in my top 15. However the things I didn't like about it had to do with maybe some minor plot holes that bothered me in the movie constantly, because when you put so many ideas into one story, it can get confusing at times. However the movie earns its emotional scenes! - Phillip873

Don't mind me asking, but what are some plot holes you noticed? - phillysports

Can't really name them off the top of my head, haven't viewed it recently, but I remember when I saw it in theaters my mind might wander off wondering about the existential questions this story brings up about life, like Toy Story - Phillip873

Definitely one of the best pixar films - iliekpiez

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