Inside Out movie poster
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Inside Out
Inside Out movie poster

Inside Out Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

Pixar is back to doing what it does best: making unique, sophisticated movies. It has been five years since the Disney unit’s last great movie, and even that was a sequel. Inside Out is a smart, original, ambitious and complex comedy that is literally about a pre-teen’s emotions.

That still doesn’t put it among Pixar’s best, however.

Inside Out is about the five primary emotions (Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust) inside an 11-year-old’s head, and what happens when two of the emotions—Joy and Sadness—accidentally are jettisoned from their control center.

As far as stories go, Inside Out is amazingly unique and incredibly ambitious, a risky proposition that you rarely see in Hollywood productions these days. And yet co-writers/co-directors Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up) and Ronaldo del Carmen have managed to pull it off, weaving adventure into a day in the life of a female teenager. The movie is fun, occasionally exciting and often funny.

Still, originality doesn’t equal awesomeness. Inside Out has received unequivocal praise, and understandably so for many of the reasons mentioned above. But people are kidding themselves if they rank this among Pixar’s upper echelon of films.

From Toy Story to Monsters, Inc. to Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, just to name of few, Pixar has made some highly entertaining, thrilling movies that you want to, and probably have, watched over and over again. Inside Out is funny, but not hilarious. It’s entertaining, but not without its slow parts. Most importantly, it’s just not a movie I envision wanting to watch many times.

The characters are pretty good, though the understandably chipper Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) won’t go down as one of Disney’s more memorable lead characters. Sadness (Phyllis Smith) is more entertaining in both appearance and character. The rest are good, but not sensationally good.

The visuals are solid, though Pixar doesn’t exactly push the boundaries here.

Inside Out is a fun ride, and it’s a refreshing return to form for Pixar. To simply compare it to other Pixar movies probably isn’t fare, but it’s also unavoidable, and Inside Out, despite all its originality, doesn’t consistently have that special something so many other Pixar movies have.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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