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Disney/Pixar Inside Out – Jason’s First Impressions

Inside Out

The idea of seeing what is going on inside someone head has been done before, for us disneygeeks the example that pops to mind first is probably Cranium Command that used to be in the Wonders of Life pavilion at Epcot. This time around the Pixar team takes us on an adventure inside an 11 year old, Riley’s, mind with a focus on emotions vs the complete body system. We do not have a General Knowledge, Buzzy, or the Hypothalamus. Instead you meet Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). There is at least one connection between Cranium Command and “Inside Out”. Pete Docter the director of “Inside Out” worked on some of the animation for the theme park show back in the 80s and you may remember his head from the preshow.

Cranium Command Entrance

“Inside Out” shows both what is happening in the real world as well as what is going on inside Riley’s mind (and her parents from time to time and in the credits several others). You are introduced to Riley at her birth and Joy is her first emotion.. Which lasts for about half a minute before Sadness moves in and over time the others. Through a series of core memories Riley’s personality and values are shown. The external event driving this film is a family move to San Francisco and Riley adjusting to a new city/school/etc.. Internally Joy and Sadness end up in the far reaches of Riley’s mind and they embark on a quest to return to Headquarters and figure out what is going on with Riley and right the ship. In their absence Fear, Anger and Disgust are in charge and Riley is without Joy & Sadness. I will leave the rest of the adventure up to you to learn about when you see the film.

As with many Disney and Pixar films “Inside Out” will play differently depending on your age group. For kids there are the emotions, Bing Bong (Riley’s imaginary friend from when she was 3) and quite a few scenes that make you laugh. For adults there is another/deeper level to the film as it explores growing up, emotions in general (particularly the role sadness plays in our lives), and parenting. Several scenes will make you pause and think, others feel melancholy (or straight out sad depending on how you get during movies), some will bring up childhood memories/experiences, and others will just make you laugh. The film will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. It is much more than your typical fairy tale or children’s movie.

Inside Out - Headquarters View

The universe that was created to explain how emotions, memories, and the brain work is extremely detailed and combines a good dose of science, personal experience, myth, and fun. Seeing how the notions of Long Term Memory, Imagination Land, Abstract Thought and Dream Productions were brought to the screen and realized in the world of “Inside Out” was engaging.

I was really looking forward to this film. Cranium Command is one of my favorite Epcot attractions and this seemed to fit right into that mold from the trailers. I found “Inside Out” to be an interesting and thought provoking film (yes I am saying that about an animated film). The themes and life lessons that are explored through Riley’s mind and emotions are something we can all relate to on many levels. The relationship between the emotions and how they work with memories inside your mind is very fascinating to me. In addition to this there are several scenes that feature scenarios that extremely fun to watch. For example there is a dinner table sequence with Riley and her mother and father and you get a glimpse inside all three of their minds during the interaction and it is hilarious.

Inside Out Dinner Table

I am curious how the film will play with children.. it is much more in the mold of an Up! or Wall-E film vs a Cars or Frozen film. Also depending on your child’s attention span there are several parts that may be on the long side for them.

Be sure to be at the film on time. The short preceding “Inside Out” is titled “Lava” and it is about a lonely volcano island in the Pacific and his love story. In this seven minute short we are taken on a journey of millions of years through song and sight. Here is a brief clip from it:

Unfortunately unlike past Pixar films there was no tag at the end of the credits this time around. At the beginning of the credits though are some fun bits so be sure to catch those!

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