Wall-E. Toy Story. Up. The Incredibles. What do these movies have in common? They are among the best movies released by the animation studio, Pixar (although the list goes on and on). For years, Pixar has taken the Animated Film genre to new levels, by creating movies that cater to both children and adults. Since the release of Toy Story in the 90s, I think it is fair to say that Pixar has held the title of animation studios that releases the best films. That is, until a slight decline in recent years. Since the release (and incredible critical reception) of Toy Story 3 in 2010, releases such as Brave, Cars 2, and Monsters University marked a slight decline in the quality of their productions. During this time, competing animation studios have been upping their game, which has, for me at least, led me to question whether Pixar is as good as it once was, and whether they’ve lost their mojo or not. Is Pixar still relevant?
Yes. This years release, Inside Out allows me to say that with absolute ease and certainty. This actually came as a huge surprise to me, because all the trailers and videos I had seen re: Inside Out seemed supremely underwhelming. The idea behind the story (which I will briefly explain in a bit) seemed gimmicky and as though it would get old very quickly. However, all this thinking could not be further from the truth. The past has shown us that in the Animation genre, Pixar stands alone. Inside Out proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. In a time when Pixar’s abilities have been put into question, they have created one of best they’ve ever released (and some might even argue that it is the best).
If that is all the pushing you need to see the movie, I’d recommend that you stop reading any more, and find a way to start watching it. If you would like some more convincing, read on.
Inside Out is directed and co-written by Pixar legend Pete Doctor, the mastermind behind Toy Story 1 and 2, Wall-E, Up, and Monsters Inc. The story is a little complicated to explain, especially while trying to do it justice. Essentially, the story gets in the head of a little girl, Kiley, as she she goes through a tough emotional time in her life. When I say that the story gets in her head, I really mean it. The story is focused on her personified emotions. A weird concept, I know, but it works. The story, as strange as it sounds, is one of the best parts of Inside Out. It shows just how inventive and ambitious Pixar can be – and how great the payoff is when they are.
Writing and directing aside, Inside Out has an almost never-ending list of pros. The cast of voice actors was absolutely stellar. The star-studded team of comedians, which consisted of Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, and Phyllis Smith, worked together quite brilliantly. The music, as composed by Michael Giacchino, really hit home, and allowed the film to really have a classic Pixar feel to it.
But, like I mentioned early, the true signs of a good Pixar movie is: a) its ability to cater to both children and adults, and b) its ability to be both amusing and emotional. Pete Doctor’s Inside Out matches and exceeds both these criteria. It provides such a rich emotional journey for adults that makes me question what children can really get out of it. Regarding b), the voice cast of such incredible comedians makes the amusing aspects of the film work, and the brilliant writing makes the more emotional aspects of the film work.
All in all, Inside Out is a near perfect movie, and earns a place in the Pixar Hall of Fame. I do not doubt that this will be as popular of a film as their best.