'Astonishing' Inside Out Is the 'Reason Pixar Exists'

Latest 'gem' brings studio out of a rut: critics
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2015 10:47 AM CDT

Emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust must strike a balance in the mind of 11-year-old Riley as she adjusts to a new city and school in Disney and Pixar's Inside Out. With a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the flick seems destined to become a classic. Here's what critics are saying:

  • Simply put, the film is "the best one I've seen for a very long time," writes Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal. He calls it "astonishing" for its "ability to turn an abstract concept—the contending forces of our psyches—into a spectacle that’s as funny, stirring, unpredictable, exciting, and riotously beautiful as it is profound." You'll want to see this one at least twice: "The level of invention is so high, and the density of detail is so great, that it's impossible to absorb everything in a single viewing."
  • This is "a boldly conceived film that refuses to follow box-office formula and doesn't condescend," writes Steven Rea at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Interestingly, he says it's "the first psychological thriller that's fun for the whole family." Yes, it can be dark and scary and absurd, but it also has "just the right mix of wit and whimsy." Pixar's moviemakers have "produced another gem."

  • "Inside Out isn't just a sign of renewed youth from Pixar. It's the reason Pixar exists," writes Andrew Lapin at NPR. There are numerous stops "inside Riley's, and this film's, wonderfully warped mind," but each one "is another masterstroke in visual storytelling, and the film boasts Pixar's most ambitious production designs to date." Amy Poehler as Joy and The Office's Phyllis Smith as Sadness are "stellar," he adds, helping to create a character, Riley, we know "better than we've known any character in film history."
  • And more praise: James Berardinelli says Inside Out "is the best American-produced animated film we have seen in many summers." The scenes inside Riley’s head have an "un-Pixar-like… shimmery, cartoonish look that Pixar hasn't previously attempted," he writes at Reel Views. They help the movie find "its own identity" in a genre that's visually been "increasingly generic." Pixar is finally out of its rut, he says.
(More movie review stories.)

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