Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Inside Voices

Inside Out (2015) is a great animated kids movie, and it did fill me with feels. I'm just not sure this stuff is for us.

It is about a girl named Riley whose family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. Riley is a happy kid, but SF isn't living up to her expectations - the house is small and old, their moving van got lost, she cried in school. All pretty standard, but we get to see what is going on inside her head - that her primary emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear, are running the control board. We see Joy trying to keep Riley happy, Sadness infecting everything she touches, Anger blowing up at everything, and so on.

The McGuffin is the Core Memories - memories of special times that form stable parts of our personalities, envisioned as islands floating in the sky above the pit of the subconscious. These islands, including Goofiness, Family, Hockey, and Honesty, are threatened by the loss of the Core Memories. So Joy and Sadness have to track them down, while Riley goes through changes.

One thing I'd like to address: Riley's life isn't really that hard. Her family moved to SF because her father is running a start up. They didn't move so they could visit him in prison, or got forcelosed, or faced medical problems. But that makes dramatic sense, since this is about the inside of her head. It's not about how bad her life is, but about what her mind can do, almost all by itself.

The animation was great, but there were a lot of familiar faces. The design for Fear looked kind of like Beakman (or Jax?) and Sadness sort of resembles Velma from Scooby-Doo. Also, the movie was rather didactic, and not very subtle about it. But, yes, I cried before it ended.

All in all, I liked Coraline better, another movie about a girl whose equilibrium is disturbed when her family moves. But I wonder if I'm just the wrong audience for this. My visual and pop references are too old, my emotional reactions too cold for this kind of thing (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie) - if it makes any sense to lump these movies together, just because they are animated.

Still, very well done movie, even if not my cup of tea. It's good to get outside my comfort zone sometimes. At least, that's what the voices in my head say.

1 comment:

mr. schprock said...

Loved that movie. Someday I'll buy the DVD at a flea market.