Sunday, July 19, 2015

Inside Out (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Inside Out

"Inside Out" directed by Pete Docter (Up) is the latest from Pixar Studios and it is simply groundbreaking. This film in its depiction of the inner workings of human emotion, is colorful, lively, action packed and infectiously entertaining.

Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a young girl whoy relocates to California. She misses her friends. Five emotions headed by a golden hued Joy (Amy Poehler) are responsible for keeping Riley together. Also on board are Fear (Bill Hader), Sadness (Phyliss Smith), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and last but not least, Anger (Lewis Black).

In the style of a slick version of "Fantastic Voyage", the film is a teasing and buoyant adventure story, featuring how emotions work in the brain on a chemical level, and it also illustrates (to audiences young and old) that emotions and memories can be molded by our own actions and relationships.

If you think that this is a dizzy and daunting subject for any animated film (let alone one by Disney) you would be right, but under Pete Docter's hands, this film is a wonder.

The action never stops. Comedienne Poehler is terrific as the Peter Pan like Joy. And Lewis Black is nearly hypnotic (as an animated figure no less) as a literal hothead. With such a motley stew of personified characters as emotions, one is swept away in a dazzle of no holds barred entertainment.

The narrative never stops moving, which is a feat in itself, but the real magic in the film is that it elucidates the actual science behind neuropsychology in showing the mental gearing behind our emotions, and it does this in a mesmerizing yet accessible way, especially to younger audiences.

Every emotion huddles together, vying for importance and input. Each creature has a say in how Riley's memories are to be processed and stored. The memories all look like brightly colored M&Ms, more precious than the sun.

While it is true that these beings are animated, these emotions are able to stand by alone, also, as people. What evolves is no less a kind of animated Paradise Lost, with Anger as a fiery but likable Lucifer, who craves attention, but who ultimately wants the happiness of the fragile Riley. The story can also be seen as an Avengers type film. Every character is a hero in his or herr own way. Disgust is even the color green.

The film is not just for kids. It has many adult processes and acts on many levels. There is a generous peppering of mature insinuations and more than a bit of poignance and melancholy that may prove sad for the smaller among us.

Explaining "Inside Out" as a tale or an adventure in animation does not do it justice. Seen in its totality, enhanced with eye-popping 3D, makes this neuron drama a tour de force.

Above all, on the level of "Fantasia" a century before, "Inside Out" is full body film experience.

Write Ian at

No comments: