Author Topic: Inside Out  (Read 7577 times)

Totoro

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Inside Out
« on: June 10, 2015, 03:40:11 AM »
Inside Out (2015)
* * 1/2
The Pixar slump continues. The ideas for their great films were all so simple. Monsters in the closet, a family of supers, Toys come to life. Even something as surreal as a house flying away on balloons follows a very simple logic and then packs the emotions inside. (No pun.)

This is the first Pixar film where they have to explain everything with voice over, turning complicated ideas into video game rules where achievements are unlocked and there are goals and consequences at each level. We follow a day in the life to see how it all works and it's no more clear when the day is over. It's also not funny.

That's my biggest problem. Pixar scripts were the height of clever and the funniest comedies of their time. The humor here is so mellow and bland, except for one big laugh out loud moment and it is literally the last joke of the film. The emotional payoffs are equally mild.

What's most memorable about the film are its most bizarre bits of creativity. The room of abstract thought, an imaginary friend and a physical gag at the end that's so much of a stretch I can't believe they even attempted it. The rest of the film is a bag full of warm fuzzies and that's just not good enough for me.


If there's one thing that I find completely perplexing in your review, 1SO, it's this bit about the emotional payoffs being mild. Has Pixar ever made a film where one of the leads of the film is metaphorically killed off like Bing Bong? I've been racking my memory and I can't remember one. I was half expecting for Pixar to pull a Marvel and cheapen the sacrifice by having him come back 5 minutes later, but this was not so. He's gone. Forever. A huge part of Riley's childhood gone in mere seconds in order for her to regain Joy. The last line, "Take her to the moon for me, okay?" will be haunting me for a long while.

The film doesn't have high stakes nor does it need them. This is a film about a child and, appropriately, this child's experience of these big shifts in her life are high enough stakes for her. This is Pixar at its most realistic. You've quoted other films Pixar has done, but those are mostly all flights of fancy into creativity. While I admire the way those films work to provide allegory, I don't think this film should be penalized for going a less alternative route. Perhaps it should be for the way it's humor is executed, but the arc of Riley/her emotions are deeply relatable and nuanced.

My main problems come with the overly cartoony way that Joy uses to finally get back to headquarters after the escape from the pit. The imaginary boyfriend bit strained the logic of the world to its breaking point. And how did Sadness get on a cloud? Why can only heat break the HQ glass?  ???

I wasn't annoyed by the narration. It actually did explain everything I needed to know pretty concisely. I wish they found a better way to Show Not Tell the mechanics of the world. Alas.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 03:52:36 AM by Totoro »

1SO

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Re: Inside Out - SPOILER THREAD
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 09:20:12 AM »
Going to use Spoiler Tags since the film hasn't come out yet.

If there's one thing that I find completely perplexing in your review, 1SO, it's this bit about the emotional payoffs being mild. Has Pixar ever made a film where one of the leads of the film is metaphorically killed off like Bing Bong?
Not 'like' Bing Bong, but I found Ellie's death in Up to have more of an impact. From the moment she stumbles walking up the hill I was a mess. Bing Bongs death was more like Woody saying goodbye to Andy at the end of Toy Story 3. Inevitability and acceptance, because Bing Bong knew he could no longer be useful to Riley and belonged down in the pit.


I've been racking my memory and I can't remember one. I was half expecting for Pixar to pull a Marvel and cheapen the sacrifice by having him come back 5 minutes later, but this was not so. He's gone. Forever. A huge part of Riley's childhood gone in mere seconds in order for her to regain Joy. The last line, "Take her to the moon for me, okay?" will be haunting me for a long while.
So is this what Tasha Robinson and Matt Singer are crying over? Cause that makes sense. I was sad too. Looked over at my wife at that part and we both had tears in our eyes. I didn't want to mention Bing Bong in my main review because he's not being advertised, even though there's merchandise with him. I liked him more than any of the emotions. Perhaps a more interesting character because he gets to be more than one note.


The film doesn't have high stakes nor does it need them. This is a film about a child and, appropriately, this child's experience of these big shifts in her life are high enough stakes for her. This is Pixar at its most realistic. You've quoted other films Pixar has done, but those are mostly all flights of fancy into creativity. While I admire the way those films work to provide allegory, I don't think this film should be penalized for going a less alternative route. Perhaps it should be for the way it's humor is executed, but the arc of Riley/her emotions are deeply relatable and nuanced.
I get the reasoning behind going this way with Riley's external struggles. It doesn't make sense to see her life threatened just to go big, but I really didn't like the progression where Riley was making decisions that killed off her core islands in sequential order. Turned her emotional instability into a video game.
What I found nuanced was the realization by Joy that Sadness was just as much a core of Riley's life. That the core memory that created Hockey Island comes with the fact that she missed the winning goal.


My main problems come with the overly cartoony way that Joy uses to finally get back to headquarters after the escape from the pit. The imaginary boyfriend bit strained the logic of the world to its breaking point. And how did Sadness get on a cloud? Why can only heat break the HQ glass?  ???
Holy Crap, the boyfriends were that the low point for me too. I think they were hoping to get away with it because of stuff like the room of abstract thought, but it was just absurd. Thought the same about Anger blowtorch.


I wasn't annoyed by the narration. It actually did explain everything I needed to know pretty concisely. I wish they found a better way to Show Not Tell the mechanics of the world. Alas.
Like they've done in every other Pixar film. Even the brief bits of Fred Willard in Wall-E leave most things unanswered. Think about that opening when Riley is a baby and how beautiful it might've played without Joy narrating the moment.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 10:33:07 AM by 1SO »
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Totoro

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Re: Inside Out
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 05:02:09 PM »
Well, Woody leaving at the end of TOY STORY 3 is incomparable because it happens at the end of three movies spaced over three different decades. A bit unfair, don't you think? And UP only earns it through sheer force. We only hear Ellie speak when she's a cute little girl, then a fairly short montage occurs that pushes all the right buttons and all the right times with a strong score in the background. INSIDE OUT is far more sneakier than the previous two. I didn't see it coming and I was shocked, disturbed, haunted, and immediately bawling.

But not only that - with Woody we know that he's alright. He's with the new child. Bing Bong is gone forever. /spoiler]
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 05:16:38 PM by Totoro »

Totoro

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Re: Inside Out
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 05:26:10 PM »
And I don't get what's wrong with this "it feels like a video game" complaint. I feel like you should expand on that because it's pretty vague what your problem is. There's a lot of video games that don't do that.

Personally, I found that sequential bit to provide a lot of dread to the proceedings. Riley is A. growing up while B. becoming depressed. The bit where Sadness takes the idea out of her brain could've been explained by useless narration, but this is where Pixar's master stroke comes in - the breaking of the console was due to Riley's depression. Many people, Joy included, think of Sadness and depression as the same thing, which is false. Depression is the denial of all emotions, including sadness. It's the absence of emotion. The idea that Sadness saves the day shows how much it matters to be sad at times - it can literally save your life if you allow yourself to express yourself when you feel it.


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Re: Inside Out
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 08:07:32 PM »
I don't equate screen time with emotional impact. It only took Beatrice Straight less than 5 minutes to win an Academy Award for Network. Bing Bong enters strong and has more dialogue than the two leads during his time in the film. He represents everything Riley has already given up and acts as a sign for the near future. I knew having Riley somehow remember or reconnect with her imaginary friend would be dishonest so the only end for him would be to fade further away. Maybe this is the difference, I'm the one unlucky bastard who did see it coming.

Building on your idea about the console, I loved how inside the different brains we saw different emotions in charge. Mom was ruled by Sadness while Dad's leader was Anger, though as an adult all five emotions worked more in harmony with nobody dominating the controls.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 10:33:26 AM by 1SO »
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Totoro

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Re: Inside Out
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 10:20:20 PM »
I don't equate screen time with emotional impact. It only took Beatrice Straight less than 5 minutes to win an Academy Award for Network. Bing Bong enters strong and has more dialogue than the two leads during his time in the film. He represents everything Riley has already given up and acts as a sign for the near future. I knew having Riley somehow remember or reconnect with her imaginary friend would be dishonest so the only end for him would be to fade further away. Maybe this is the difference, I'm the one unlucky bastard who did see it coming.



Well, yeah, and Beatrice Straight gives the hammiest performance in that already hamfest of a film. Bizarre comparison, that. You could take out that scene and I don't think the film changes all that much. NETWORK is a horrible showcase for acting/character writing, but I digress-

Woody has two movies and nostalgia playing on his side. To say that that doesn't play up the emotions for any fan of the series would be pretty suspect. With Bing Bong, I think a lot of us knew it was coming, but we just didn't want it to - and that's why it hit so hard when it did.

Quote
Building on your idea about the console, I loved how inside the different brains we saw different emotions in charge. Mom was ruled by Sadness while Dad's leader was Anger, though as an adult all five emotions worked more in harmony with nobody dominating the controls.

Yeah, it's unfortunate that that scene is pretty much unchanged from the trailers. Not only that, but while insight into their minds are fun, I don't think the scene fits into the rest of the film. Another nitpick would be that abstract thought never seems to be any effect on Riley as a character or a person. Did I miss something? I don't know.


Confused that we have to hide this discussion of spoilers in the spoiler sub forum.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 10:24:31 PM by Totoro »

1SO

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Re: Inside Out
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2015, 11:00:41 PM »
I just know from experience that I often scan a post and see something before I realize it's the Spoiler Thread. If somebody glances and sees Bing Bong with killed next to it, it could spoil the experience you had. I plan to remove the tags in a couple of weeks, but it's extra unfair right now because we were lucky to get into special screenings while most people don't have a choice about waiting.

I'm mixed about the room of abstract thought. It works as a moment of the animators showing off what they can do that you can't recreate in live action, but you're right that it doesn't connect to the main story or help to shape Riley. Just a pleasant diversion and a chance to do something unique.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 10:33:42 AM by 1SO »
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Totoro

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Re: Inside Out
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2015, 02:12:00 AM »
I asked my friend, "How awesome would it be if Pixar went stop-motion with the abstract thought sequence?" He seemed nonplussed by the idea, but I think it would've been awesome.

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Re: Inside Out
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2015, 06:32:02 AM »
Kinda bugged that Marvel movies were released early in Singapore but one of the most anticipated Pixar movies of all time gets one of the latest release dates in Singapore. Ugh. Won't be able to talk to you about this movie until all the way in late August. Late August! Almost September!

Good grief. :'(
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Re: Inside Out
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2015, 05:20:18 AM »
Two random notes is all i have to offer. Did anyone else notice DocPete in Riley's webcam contacts list? And how many people do you think will get the Chinatown reference? Kinda love that Pixar will put that kinda reference in their movie.