Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Pixar's Inside Out doesn't use its inside voice as well as it could.
Review by Matt Cummings
WARNING: Spoilers aheadIn Pixar's 15th animated film Inside Out, the 11-year-old Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) has moved from the idyllic Minnesota to San Francisco with her parents (Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan). Riley is intelligent, loves ice hockey, and has strong friendships, all managed by a team of emotions in her head that store core memories and fuel five theme parks in her mind. The lighthearted Joy (Amy Poehler) is the dominant emotion, striving to make sure Riley stays happy, while Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) keep her safe and on guard. After the black sheep of the group Sadness (Phyllis Smith) accidentally poisons Riley's core memories, Joy and Sadness are transported to the far reaches of Riley's mind, forcing the two to make the long trek back. But they need to hurry: without Riley's core memories, the theme parks begin to fail, cutting off transport back to Headquarters and potentially forcing Riley down a dark path. As someone who loves animated films for their simple joy, quirky characters, and strong messages, I found this 94-minute movie to be more of a 2-hour ordeal. Too much time is spent in Riley's head - not enough in Mom or Dad's - and the whole premise of Joy and Sadness trying to return Riley's core memories does little to solve Riley's growing sense of separation and failure. Even when those memories are returned, Riley's family will most likely stay in SF, leaving her former life and those same memories of Minnesota as nothing more than distant reminders of her old life. There's never a time when she comes to realize this, is never told that by her parents, and never ever a time when the audience can experience that with her. Nothing will change the course which her parents have set, so it takes away from the importance of the journey which Joy and Sadness make back to Headquarters. Riley must live in this apparently dreary world of San Francisco (a preposterous notion if you've visited one of the most beautiful cities in the country) whether she has these core memories or not. Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.