Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Inside Out (2015)

When I first saw the pics for this movie I thought it was about little living emojis/emoticons, it does look like that doesn't it? Nope, instead its actually about little living creatures inside your head that represent emotions. When I say living creatures I'm not so sure that's even correct, they are more like representations of the mind or emotions, each one a little physical embodiment of each emotion. Its not an overly original concept lets be totally honest, I know I've seen this type of thing before in cartoons many times, and in pretty similar fashion, but again lets be honest, there's only a few ways you can do this.

So the plot revolves around a little girl as she is born, and at the same time her little emotions are born within her head (I assume). We follow little Riley as she grows up with her parents and experiences all of life's wonder and beauty, but of course, all of the little negative bits too. At the same time we see everything from inside little Riley's head from the perspective of her emotions and how they each deal with individual situations. Naturally each emotion deals with different things such as sadness, anger, joy etc...they each specialise in their emotion of course. Alas, many years later aged 11, one day goes tits up when Riley attends her first day at school and loses control, she begins to cry because she is home sick, this causes a permanent negative memory which Joy (the happy emotion) tries to get rid of. In a series of bizarre accidents Joy and Sadness get ejected from the control room (the brain) and end up lose within Riley's head. Without Joy in Riley's mind (and life) keeping control, the duo now have to get back into Riley's brain/mind before she becomes depressed forever, seemingly.

Right so the emotions, a generic bunch truth be told, Anger, Joy, Sadness, Disgust and Fear. Anger is a little red fellow that isn't a million miles away from a satanic looking creation, he also emits fire when in a rage. He is probably the second best emotion going for obvious reason really, one of the funniest emotions. Joy is the main protagonist and is a happy-go-lucky shiny female character that is rather vomit inducing. Sadness is probably the best emotion if you ask me, he looks kinda plain yet random in design, but his permanent, nervous, hyper paranoid persona is clearly the main laugh out loud machine. Disgust is easily the weakest of the bunch with not much to do or say frankly. She is modelled on young teenage valley girls which is a good notion, but highly annoying (check her glittery appearance). Lastly we have Sadness who is a stereotypically short, plump, glasses wearing female character that kinda reminds you of the nerdy high school girl, the librarians assistant type. She mopes around being all glum and useless, again, kinda annoying and makes you wonder why no one ever kills her.

Overall the emotions are a reasonably fun little group but nothing overly hilarious, personally I found the other background characters much more interesting. The best of these has to be Bing Bong who was Riley's old childhood imaginary friend, but long forgotten. This guy is a combination of Riley's favourite things from that young age, his body is made of candy floss and various animal he cries candy. His sidekick is an old child's  tow wagon with rocket boosters that fire a rainbow coloured discharge, this was Riley's old toy back in the day which she would play and imagine could fly like a space rocket. This guy gives us some of the best laughs throughout the main adventure through Riley's mind, but he also gives us some of the most emotional. I don't think I can deny that I almost cried when he meets his end. Hands up who's with me here...yeah, I thought so. The various other colourful, bizarre, weird and wonderful little mind creatures we meet along the way are all really well designed and voiced acted, like I said, overall I think the majority were actually more engaging than the main characters. I really didn't like the designs for the main emotions, they just seemed way too simplistic and generic.

I also have to say I didn't like or understand the other emotional representatives in other peoples minds, they didn't really make sense. Hear me out, Riley's mind emotions don't look anything like her, they are just visual representations of the emotion. Now when we go to Riley's dad (who has a tash), his mind emotions also have little moustaches, Riley's mum has emotions that look like her with the glasses and hair. Then in the end credits we see more mind emotions for other people, all of them look like the people they inhabit. One guy who works as a clown even has mind emotions that look like clowns, eh?? why would his mind emotions look like clowns when that's just his day job? So I guess the question is, why does Riley have random looking emotions when everyone else has emotions that look like them? Yeah I know this is a kids flick and I'm really looking too far into this, but things like that kinda bug me cause it doesn't really add up. The animal ones really seemed far fetched as the emotions just run wild inside the animals head, so I guess that would work? who knows.

The visuals are of course stunning, really slick, but did you expect anything less? really? I'm not trying to take anything away from the visuals but these days its really no big deal anymore is it, if a movie looks less than stunning then its something to talk about. I did like the imagination on display though, some really great ideas fleshed out, not all great, I would have done some things differently, but still good. I really liked the abyss of lost memories or memory dump, nice touch. The individual floating personality islands were neat, like family island or friendship island, that house memories of those certain aspects in Riley's life. I liked how they fell apart when affected by Riley's emotional state being rocked badly. I also liked the train of thought which was of course...a train. Overall the ideas and some visuals reminded me of an old animated movie called 'The Phantom Tollbooth', which also delved into such things as individual human traits being fleshed out, alongside things like words and numbers.

Its a strong emotional ride that's for sure, no puns intended. The kids will love the visuals and the wacky characters, whilst the adults will enjoy the trip down memory lane for the...errmm, the childhood memory aspect of it all. I'm sure many people will be able to relate to what's going on, first day of school and crying, snow days, moving etc...its all there, the full gamut of human anguish and joy. The way they have thought out how things like memories, long term memories, forgotten memories, special memories etc...all work is very clever, typically adults make everything into a bureaucratic headache, but it works well. But like I said already I didn't really feel the main emotions, which was a problem, they weren't overly funny but slightly annoying. I mean come on, Sadness creates all the problems, everything is her fault! and she kept on touching everything and fucking it up!! arrgghhh!! Still I can't deny this was an excellent little rollercoaster that had me on the edge of my seat wondering how they would ever save the day.