Pixar started off simple and then they started to mess with emotions. Pixar first though; what if toys had emotions? Then they though what if cars had emotions? But now they have pushed the limit and though; what if emotions had emotions? Thus, Inside out was made. And they did it well. I HAVE NEVER CRIED AT AN ANIMATED FILM UNITL NOW.
When we get a look inside the head of an 11 year old girl known as Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), we are introduced to her key emotions. Joy (Amy Poehler), sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), anger (Lewis Black) and disgust (Mindy Kaling). These emotions control Riley and her core memories. However, when sadness knocks out Riley’s core memories and sends herself and joy into long term, Riley becomes emotionally unstable. We get to see what happens to a person without joy, sadness and any main memories.
The film opens at the very beginning, Riley’s birth. If you want backstory and character development, why not start at the very beginning of that characters life? We get to see more emotions appear, her first laugh, her first cry, her first time playing hockey, her first time scared and even her first time eating vegetables. Even though she technically isn’t the main character, you get attached to her and her family, which makes the film just that more emotional.
Riley really does have a great life but when everything is good, something comes along and spoils your fun. For example, Christmas in in two weeks but I have assignments to hand in and have no money for presents because I have to pay rent. But in Riley’s case, she moves house. This calls for new friends, new neighbourhood and new school. Pretty much the worst thing about moving away so when you add a mental breakdown because her emotions have left to the equation, you can only imagine the issues she faces. But luckily for her, she has the help of her mum, dad and of course fear, anger and disgust, the only things you need for a good life.
So by now you can probably tell that Pixar is attempting to explain some pretty complex ideas to children through the use of metaphor. We have the train of thought, dream production, islands of personality, imagination land, the sub conscious and a machine that allows her to think through abstract concepts. But with physical representations comes plot holes and disaster. When the islands of personality sink, you lose apart of yourself. However, what happens when the train of thought de-rails, is she unable to think? The film even confuses us adults by using language such a “non-figurative” and “non-objective fragmentation”. Yeah I don’t know either?
Even though we get to see inside Riley, we also get odd occasions where you can see inside the mind of the other characters. The mum thinks mostly about a hot helicopter pilot and the dad thinks about football games. Stereotypical men and women thoughts. But to be fair, if the film was honest, you would see images of sex, money and work, which is defiantly not suitable for children.
Apart from meeting emotions and mine workers who have an obsession with the theme song from a gum commercial, you get to meet Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Riley’s imaginary friend. He’s part elephant, cat, cotton candy and dolphin. Your stereotypical character. But as Riley gets older she forgets Bing Bong and replaces him with an imaginary boyfriend, who would “die for Riley”. This causes Bing Bong to completely diaper, along with my belief that this is a happy film. STOP KILLING PEOPLE OFF PIXAR! But this is the sad and true reality of growing up… This film is far too real for my liking.
After all this messing with her head, anger gives her the idea to run away back to her home town. This causes for a complete emotional disaster. Therefore, it is up to Joy and sadness to get back to headquarters and stop her. This causes for a heart to heart with the family and a lot of crying from both the characters and me. This is of course the end resolution. So much like all family movies we get the _ months later. Riley is happy, with more personality islands and a few more buttons on her control panel. And with one brand new dangerous red button; Puberty, ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!
The film also gives us the treat of seeing inside the head of all the other characters, we have seen throughout the film. The cool girl with eye shadow, an angry bus driver and even a few cats and dogs. It always great to end with a bit of humour. And for all you ‘Parks and Recreation’ lovers out there, the ‘cool girl’ is voiced by our very own Ann/Rashida jones and of course Joy is voiced by Leslie Knope herself.
So this one giant metaphor of a movie is basically an emotional roller-coaster… literally. So expect to film tones of joy and sadness when watching this not so children’s children movie. The only thing I would say is; where are the other emotions? We are missing love and jealousy and a few other fun emotions.
How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.
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The Lorax (Chris Renaud, Kyle Balda,2012)