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Review: “Inside Out”

Review: “Inside Out”

CREDITS: Animated adventure from Disney/Pixar. Directed by Pete Docter. 6/19/15

FILM SYNOPSIS: From an adventurous balloon ride above the clouds to a monster-filled metropolis, Academy Award®-winning director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”) has taken audiences to unique and imaginative places. In Disney•Pixar’s original movie “Inside Out,” he will take us to the most extraordinary location of all—inside the mind.

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

 Director Pete Docter is the Academy Award®-winning director of “Up.” He made his directorial debut with Disney•Pixar‘s smash hit “Monsters, Inc.,” which was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature film. Along with John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, Docter developed the story and characters for “Toy Story,” Pixar‘s first full-length feature film, for which he also served as supervising animator. He served as a storyboard artist on “A Bug’s Life” and wrote the initial story treatment for “Toy Story 2.” As one of Pixar Animation Studios’ key creative contributors, Docter garnered an Academy Award nomination for his original story credit on Disney•Pixar’s Golden Globe®- and Oscar®-winning “WALL•E.”

REVIEW: It’s always a bit embarrassing to me when report that the best films are animated, mostly geared to “family.” Toy Story(s),Wall-E, Up, Bolt, Monsters, Inc., as well as those very well done straight-to-DVD Tinker Bell adventures headed by John Lassiter, perhaps the most gifted head of a studio since old Walt, himself. But those are the facts. Most everything else is a celebration of Marvel and CGI.

But I’m not embarrassed about Inside Out. This is another example of fine filmmaking that manages to aim at both children and adults. Why is that? How is it? Wit, character arc, sumptuous filmmaking, and painted creations that are fuller of life than most films in other genres.

The makers of these “cartoon” movies must use creativity to catch and hold our attention rather than crudity and excess. Whatever mood a scene presents must be pictured and sounded with gusto, heart and cleverness. And Inside Out never fails to offer us these ingredients. It deals with the psyche, and where sadness, joy and abstraction come from. Magically, it does so in a way that adults as well as little ones can find profundity. (Yes, kids can find profundity – usually better than us.)

PG (it has quite a lot of intense action. Parents or older siblings should be there to assure little ones that everything will be okay). Running Time: 90-some. Intended Audience: Family

By: Ken Raney and Phil Boatwright

Film and DVD Reviews by Phil Boatwright: Besides providing a monthly column for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright reviews films for He also is a regular contributor to “The World and Everything In it,” a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group, which also publishes WORLD Magazine.

For more movie reviews, as well as news, reviews, and interviews on all forms of entertainment media from a Christian perspective, visit Ken Raney at

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