|"Inside Out" (2015).|
The proof is that Pixar's great run at the top began as the Disney Renaissance ended; and Pixar's own dominance ended, not due to anything that it did, but rather because of the 2013 Disney juggernaut that was "Frozen."
|Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane voice Riley's parents.|
Directed by Pete Docter (who did "Monsters Inc.") and Ronnie del Carmen from a screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, "Inside Out" is an animated drama takes an old idea and puts a fresh spin on it. It does not break much new ground but does re-establish Pixar as a creative force in the industry.
|The promotional materials focus on primary colors, apparently to show how primary emotions are to our well-being - and to reinforce that this is about a little girl.|
The core memories ultimately have to try to figure out a way to return to their prominent place in Riley's mind while Anger, Disgust and Fear fight to keep control over Riley. Their efforts only worsen matters, and soon Riley's personality is in danger of completely disintegrating in the Memory Dump, a graveyard of lost memories. Joy and Sadness also wind up there.
|The '70s furniture idea is an interesting choice.|
|The static Headquarters becomes a bit of a bore after a while, with the characters standing around reacting to events.|
|There was some thought early on that the film would be entitled "Vice Versa," but that wound up being only the French title.|
|The overseas box office is vital to Hollywood success these days, and promotions there can take on a decidedly different slant than in the US. For instance, Japanese marketing focuses on Riley's alienation and sadness in a dark world.|
|There is an enduring edge of darkness throughout the film, though that is not always obvious.|
Since "Inside Out" came at the end of a long absence of Pixar, the film was eagerly awaited but expectations fairly low. Still, there were hints that the Pixar magic was beginning to run the slightest bit thin: "Inside Out" did not debut at #1, coming in behind "Jurassic World," though it did capture the top spot a couple of weeks later due to weak competition.
|For some reason, the Joy character reminds me of Tinkerbell.|
The script essentially takes well-known buzzwords about the psyche and anthropomorphizes them, which is a good way to illustrate the craft of animation and insert 'comic bits' without actually creating much that is new. Worries that the storyline might be too complex for a younger audience were misplaced, but even the best animation in the business can't hide a pedestrian and over-plotted storyline.
The cast is led by Amy Poehler as Joy, Phyllis Smith as Sadness, Mindy Kaling as Disgust, Lewis Black as Anger and Bill Hader as Fear. Pixar pulls an old trick by getting genial veteran tv character actor Richard Kind to play Bing Bong, the sort of sentimental self-sacrificing role that he is ideally suited to, and John Ratzenberger continues his string of appearing in Pixar films by voicing Fritz. There also is a bit of insider casting decisions, as puppeteers Dave Goelz and Frank Oz of "The Muppets" were given small voice roles. Veteran Pixar contributor Michael Giacchino ("Up") composed the score, which is pleasant but does not contain any show-stoppers or guest artists.
|Even the animated figures in the live shots seem, well, unhappy.|
Below, someone collected together all the various clips of "Inside Out" that have been released so that, basically, you can watch half the film. The first two clips were intended to be included in the film, but ultimately were taken out, so that's an extra treat if you are a big fan.