Inside Out

Yes, it's finally here. This highly praised and heavily advertised movie is open for business. Pixar has a special place in my heart, ever since that charming young table lamp burst its rubber ball years ago, so I wasn't surprised, only warmed, by director Pete Doctor's appearance before the opening credits. Do you know why he appears? To thank us for coming to see the show! How can we NOT love these guys?

The main thrust of this fairly complicated (rated PG) story is to illustrate the mind-boggling complexity of the human brain, how memory works (each memory is like a huge color-coded gum ball) and the effects of emotion on our daily behavior. Does that sound pretty heavy duty? Yes, it is and it's very clear that much of this film is for adults. However, I talked with a six-year-old boy as we exited the theater and he was very happy with it, so I guess, like other Pixar/Disney collaborations, this works on many levels: He particularly liked the cats at the end!

The characters are voiced by celebrities but just as easily could have been done by professional voice artists, so I won't focus on them, but rather on the emotions themselves and how they effect the characters. To our delight, we see that every living creature, man, woman, child, cat and dog has a personal staff that includes these five emotions:
  • Joy - Our 11-year-old girl Riley finds joy in her ice hockey, her imaginary friend, her school chums and her wonderful parents. Her mother and father find joy in their family, their jobs and their daughter. You should see what brings joy to a dog!
  • Sadness - We see how sadness plays an essential role in the human experience. Dogs experience it too, but cats are oblivious. Riley is sad because she misses her old home in Minnesota; her new home in San Francisco doesn't even have a yard!
  • Fear - Too much fear and we are paralyzed, too little and we are heedless of any danger. Fear is pretty paranoid!
  • Disgust - This emotion goes into overdrive when Riley sees her dingy new bedroom in the attic...and a dead mouse!
  • Anger - The movers are coming with their furniture...WHEN?!? Anger gets a nice workout from the very beginning and is always sputtering in the background. When Mom's Anger kicks in, she remembers that handsome young soccer player that she let get away....
This is Pixar/Disney, so no profanity, no sweaty bodies, and no blowie uppie stuff but one fairly scary clown. The enormity of memory, both short term and long term, is wonderfully visible. By the way, I saw this in 3D, but there was no need; the story is the thing!
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Check out those memory banks:
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