All original written content is (c) 2015 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: Go inside the head of an 11-year-old girl and see how Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear run things as the kid deals with moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. After problems with long-term memory storage and islands of personality aspects develop, Joy and Sadness must go on a journey to fix things.
Written by Meg LaFauve & Josh Cooley and Pete Doctor from a story by Pete Doctor & Ronaldo Del Carmen.
Directed by Pete Doctor and Ronaldo Del Carmen (“co-director”).
- Redundant at this point, but the animation overall is wonderful as always. The infant, emotion characters, expressions and “head world” are unique and well done. But it’s Pixar, so we expect it at this point.
- Because no critic will have the stones to say it, I will: Three out of the five emotions, plus two of the three family members, are chicks. Should it matter to the viewer? Does it matter to the enjoyment of the story? Not at all. But the media and critics will eat it up like monkeys at a banana buffet. Watch for glowing reviews and all kinds of awards. (Remember what they said with BRAVE and PRINCESS AND THE FROG. When Pixar has a black or Native American girl as the lead, guaranteed Oscar nom!)
- Great casting by and large. I’m not a big fan of the mandatory celebrity voice-over trend (best voice for the character is more important than fame factor) but the actors chosen (emotions Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader, Richard Kind as Bing Bong, S.H.I.E.L.D. Dad Of The Year Kyle MacLachlan as the Dad, etcetera) were good picks and mostly not major names for box office reasons.
- Lewis Black’s Anger should have his own TV show! Best and funniest of all the emotions and characters by far. Also liked the Imaginary Boyfriend.
- Another Pixar hallmark: Positive message of family, optimism, friendship, appreciating good memories and all that huggy-wuggy stuff. A lot of stuff for pre-teens and kids who’ve moved to identify with.
- Glimpses into the minds of the parents and others were funny and appropriate.
- A few laugh-out-loud verbal and sight gags. Adult art-lovers will especially appreciate the modern art references (Abstract Expressionism and so on). Anyone who moved to CA from elsewhere will agree with the pizza gag!
- Deep emotions/touching moments in the memory/crying scenes. Sadness gets a chance to show what she’s good for which is a tear-jerker.
- The opening short, LAVA, was really clever, romantic and visually stunning (even more than INSIDE OUT). Score one for ukulele music and Hawaiian influences. Women and romantic nancy-boys will cry like little goils. (FROM MIKE: Hey, wiseguy, I saw you choke up and shed a tear or two too!) Uhhh…yeah, but that’s only ‘cause I got salt in my eye from the popcorn, okay?
- The first third of the credits are as funny as the flick itself, as we see inside the heads of several other characters from the movie. (Too bad there weren’t more.)
- The mindworld-structure and concept were just too complicated to fully understand. Lots of exposition about everything encountered. What were the rules exactly? Islands can fall into the void of forgetfulness where nothing comes back but can be rebuilt? How? What happens when bottom memories turn blue? Why didn’t other characters touch memories? Exactly does the console work and what makes it change?
- Similarly, it was tough to get into the peril or appreciate certain triumphs because I didn’t know consequences or rules of various areas or actions. It made you think Riley would become a vegetable or have no mind after the meltdown but it didn’t happen. She just went on autopilot and stayed mostly silent. What runaway kid doesn’t experience sadness?
- What about other emotions like love, greed, envy, lust, ambition, confidence, doubt, etc.? No mention. And the fact that each emotion had full emotions (Joy cried, Sadness was happy, Anger was calm, etc.) was a bit odd.
- So if your Train Of Thought derails, it’s gone forever and you never have another one? WTH?
- According to this film, adult Moms are ruled primarily by overweight Sadness, and Dads by lazy Anger. Gee, that’s positive. (How do emotions get fat?)
- On what planet is an infant’s first emotion Joy? Did the writers never see a birth? Babies scream their lungs out during the most traumatic event of their lives—moving from the womb to the physical world they don’t fathom. (There’s a reason no one remembers it!) Fear is first for babies, baby. Joy doesn’t show up till after the first boob-feed or the first dump.
- Scary giant clown might unnerve little kids. And the kiddies will definitely not get the modern art references.
- Where are all the laughs? More emphasis on memories, family, mushy stuff, peril and crap rather than the gags that made TOY STORY, MONSTERS INC., THE INCREDIBLES, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and even UP! so much fun. The preview for the MINIONS movie had more laughs than this whole film (other than the credits sequence).
- Speaking of credits, no end button! Missed opportunity for Anger to come back and yell at the audience. (Yeah, similar gags have been done but it still could have been hilarious!)
Like I said, this is for coming-of-age and “human interest” types who say “Aww” a lot. (One review title: “An important message for kids.”) Pixar’s least enjoyable effort for guys like me, or those seeking entertainment. Kind of like WALL-E, this is a movie with a message first and entertainment value second. Except at least WALL-E was easy to understand, had better animation and more gags. Still, it’s Pixar, so for completists or the curious, catch this on cable or Netflix if you want. But you’d be better off just watching the LAVA short…or re-watching any other Pixar film!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, Steven Spielberg, Michael Crichton, or archeologists with guns. Bru would like to see even more sequels with Cretaceous or Triassic worlds!