A BEAUTIFUL MIND
BuzzHub attended a screening of Inside Out at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
The opening line of an Inside Out review referring to Pixar’s recent spate of poor quality features has, over the past few weeks, become more of a cliché than the plot of Cars 2. To use the word “cliché” in a review of Inside Out is, in itself, highly offensive, as the latest original feature from the once magnificent animation studio represents the complete opposite of cliché: it is original, mad and like nothing else in cinema this year. It’s a beautiful 85-minute tribute to human existence, childhood and- though it sounds odd- misery, and to tell you that it’s a new Pixar classic brings me more joy than I can sum up in this review.
Though never clichéd or predictable, Inside Out is in many way derivative of films that have come before it. In particular: the strongest aspects of two inferior films, Pixar and Pete Docter’s own Up and Disney Animation’s Wreck-It Ralph, are bettered in the film’s use of melancholy and of colour. Up suffered from a lack of plot (we can all agree that it goes rapidly downhill following the “Married Life” montage), while Ralph‘s shortcomings were its overuse of bright colour and obscure video game references. Inside Out has buckets of plot (there are two simultaneous stories: one of young girl Riley and the other of her internal emotions) and a delightful yet broad brand of humour. As for colour, it’s rendered in glorious detail, but is never as gaudy as Ralph, at its worst, was.
One key manner in which Pixar has always excelled over other animated studios is its likeable, relatable and definitely not irritating characters. There are no minions nor Donkey to be found in a Pixar film! Inside Out‘s cast of emotions and other brain-dwellers are an absolute treat to revel in. Amy Poehler is the voice-casting of the decade as Joy, the team leader of Riley’s emotions and a source of not only immense happiness but existential inspiration. Phyllis Smith is also perfectly chosen as Sadness, the apparent nuisance member of the team who emerges as its most essential component. The most adorable, heroic figure in Inside Out, however, is Riley’s abandoned imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind), a part-elephant, part-dolphin bundle of energy who’s yearning to take Riley to the moon provides the film’s tragically poignant heart. Change is real, and so is finality. As Michael Giacchino’s piano score accompanies the philosophising, one is reminded of the final scenes of Lost, some of the best mainstream conveying of key existential ideals ever presented. Inside Out is similar, but for a younger audience, and it serves a necessary and brilliant purpose. In years of old, Pixar always provided deep thought for the masses like few others, and- for the first time since 2010’s Toy Story 3– they’re back at it.
The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Wall.E are indisputably Pixar’s masterpieces, but Inside Out is a fascinating and life-affirming postmodern tribute to the values and wit of all three. Today’s children need films like this, but their parents need Inside Out even more.