Bing-Bong: Take Riley to the moon for me.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
For a while my personal favorite Pixar movie was Up. However, that all changed in 2015 with the movie known as Inside Out. This is not only Pixar’s best but also one of Disney’s best movies period. It takes a small idea of having mind fueled by emotion with each one being personalized and does so much with it.
The story focuses on the emotions of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust inside the mind of a young girl named Riley who moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. This causes the five emotions to go out of whack despite their best efforts to guide Riley through this event. The stress of Riley moving brings Sadness to the forefront causing her and Joy to get separated from headquarters into the far reaches of Riley’s mind. Thus they must get back in order to bring balance to Riley’s emotions. In the process Joy and Sadness, who are two complete opposites of one another must find a way to get along and work together.
The story is a concept that has been done in multiple cartoons before. But what makes it so great in this movie is that it not only does so in a funny way but also a dramatic one as well that allows for any person of any age to connect with. The story is very much a coming of age story. It talks about changes, adapting, and sacrificing not only for Riley but also her emotions (still miss Bing-Bong). It talks about there are certain things that have to be sacrificed and replaced with other things that are more important. And each emotion develops Riley as she experiences tough times. The movie has the perfect balance of heartfelt moments and humor and it works to the advantage of the two main leads, Joy and Sadness. Joy is usually the one in charge and often sidelines Sadness to ensure Riley’s life is the best it can be. But the movie brilliantly shows just how much the two, despite being completely different, coincide, leading to a visually emotional scene towards the end. It shows that despite sadness is not being seen as healthy, it is healthy in its own way just as are the other emotions as long as they are each kept in check. There’s nothing wrong with feeling any of these emotions. If anything, they give way to a whole new outlook on moments.
Both the stories of Joy and Sadness trying to get back to headquarters while Riley struggles to adapt to her new life is something that could easily mess up the pacing. But the move remarkably shows that the actions in both worlds have consequences on the other allowing the two to mesh perfectly.
The death of Riley’s imaginary friend Bing-Bong is easily one of if not the saddest moment of the movie and it boils down to the movie’s heart in that the sad truth of the matter is that Riley (as do most children) has to grow up and experience and accept the hardships of life. Even though the movie has a happy ending they don’t cheat us out of this.
When it comes to the animation the real world is mostly realistically simple to the right amount in order to showcase the hardships of the changes of Riley’s life. What really stands out though, is the animation of Riley’s emotions. It is amazingly colorful and creative in showcasing various aspects of Riley’s mind. These different styles bring out Pixar’s greatest potential. The world of Riley’s mind is more unrealistic in comparison to the real world but it does so to the right amount so it is not seen as cartoony. In a strange way the comparisons remind me of Alice in Wonderland where the real world was more confined to real rules and Wonderland threw that out the window. While the parts of Riley’s mind are exaggerated they come back to reality in their own ways.
With the concept of the characters being inside another character’s mind this gives way to the movie’s major character development. While the emotions are exaggerated they are done so with a good combination comic and realism. Each one is likable and plays a key part in shaping Riley to be who she is. This allows Riley to be an interesting character as although most of the movie is inside her head, it leads to some major moments. Just about every character in this movie serves a purpose and breathes an enjoyable life.
This is a movie that definitely deserves a sequel. It would be a great way to showcase how Riley’s emotions grow right along with her. There are so many opportunities this movie takes and so many more to explore with this concept. It delivers an amazing story with great animation and lovable characters. This was the movie that truly brought the best of Pixar back.