As this is my intro, instead of talking about Inside Out (and how sad I was there was no 2014 installment), I will just talk about the intro to Inside Out, a short called Lava.
Lava is about love, volcanoes, and tectonic shifts with hot spots. HOT SPOTS.
Obviously some liberties are taken, but it tells a wonderful love story, to great ukulele music, featuring real Hawaiians, and it will win Best Animated Short this year. You are hearing it first. It is better than Frozen Fever. It is better than Feast and Paperman.
It united all of my emotions into the orgasm phase of existence.
Fine, fine, back to the movie. Inside Out is really about a girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), growing up and trying to find her place in the world. She has a loving mother (Diane Lane) and father (Kyle MacLachlan), and enjoys the long winters in Minnesota where she can play the greatest sport ever made: Hockey. But all of that is about to come to a comical screeching halt, when suddenly they are moving to San Francisco for some “work reason” that is stressful and new and different.
To find out what is really going on inside Riley’s head, we have to go inside her head. Heyy brain stuff! That is where her emotions live! Right when she popped out of the womb and opened her eyes, she giggled and laughed, because Joy (Amy Poehler) was her only worker. It was almost instantly followed by gloomy as fuck Sadness (Phyllis Smith). As she got older, she gained more emotions, including Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).
Together, working in harmony, they can make a fully functional girl. An honest girl, with friends, and family, and hockey, and a goofy side, all making up her core memories. They also work on putting her memories into long term and bring back appropriate memories when appropriate.
But with a half cross country move to a smaller house, no friends, no frozen lakes for hockey, whats a girl to do? Well, apparently have her emotions go all crazy and bad things start happening to her right when she needs them to work together the most. Of course!
And where the heck is her old imaginary friend, Bing Bong (Richard Kind)? He is important, damn it!
“Bing Bong is dead now, sweetie, so eat your imitation Chinese food please.”
Did I mention how good Lava was? Five out of four stars. I want to buy a Blu-Ray with it on it, just so I can get a digital copy and watch it with ease wherever I go.
The good news is, Inside Out was also awesome! Given its subject matter, it should come to no surprise that my emotions were all over the place. Thankfully Anger didn’t really show up, but maybe I did have a little bit of Disgust and some Fear. But hey, the Sadness came into full fruition too. I cried three times during this screening. Once for Lava, twice for this movie. Using literal emotions, it did a fantastic job of controlling my own emotions to make it an overall wild ride.
The film starts out cute, gets happy, stays happy, then gets into the sadness/fear territory, but by the end, it returns you back to the cute/aww feels by the end. A perfect journey, basically. The voice actors did a wonderful job, Lewis Black and Mindy Kaling in particular felt perfect for their roles. And of course Phyllis Smith, a wonderful choice for Sadness, who I assume they also based her design around.
The “hero” of our story in young Riley is a nice change of pace. She is a normal girl and one that most people can probably relate to. Not to mention she plays Hockey, which I must again note plays a significant role in this film. Hockey is slowly creeping its way more and more into mainstream, and I thank Pixar for doing something different.
Last but not least, this movie is for everybody. There are plenty of jokes and fun parts for the kids, but also of course a lot of higher concepts for the adults out there. When dealing with the brain, you should be prepared to use yours, for at least a little bit.
4 out of 4.