Screw It, Inside Out is a 10

Inside Out

Now that I’ve seen Inside Out a second time, I can honestly say without question that it ranks among Pixar’s finest achievements. As such, I have decided to once again go against my own protocol and tweak my review of it. I already wrote something of an apology about it, but I initially gave Inside Out a score of 9.0. A mighty hefty score, and one that most movies should be more than proud to bear.

"We all make mistakes. The important thing is that we learn from them."
“We all make mistakes. The important thing is that we learn from them.”

But Inside Out deserves better. Why? Because it has etched its way into my imagination in a way so few movies have. The last movie I saw that had a similar impact on me would be Frozen, which I would give a perfect 10 without question. This follows a trend set by Spirited Away, which completely enchanted me more than any film and continues to do so to this day. Inside Out has had a similar impact on me, and I find I can’t get it out of my head in the best way. It’s so creative, and so smart, and so beautiful that I just can’t compliment it enough.

So why was I hesitant to give it a perfect score to begin with? There probably is no good answer. Perhaps it’s because I got to see it a few weeks before it was released, and thought it would be cool to review it ASAP without properly soaking it in like a wonderful sponge to quality filmmaking. Or perhaps, because I saw it early, I didn’t want to appear overzealous just because I saw an awesome movie before most people (this is, of course, really freaking stupid). The point is, there are only a few movies – like Frozen or Spirited Away – that I felt were perfect 10s immediately after seeing them. Inside Out should have been one of them. But for whatever dumb reason, it wasn’t. So I gave it an excellent but lower-than-deserved score of a 9.0.

I rushed into things I suppose. Although I decided to up the score to a 9.5 previously, and stated that I would not alter it anymore, I’ve already eaten my words. After seeing Inside Out for the second time, I appreciated it even more. Everything I loved the first time around I loved all the more, and I even gained an appreciation for things I didn’t even think of the first time I saw it.

"But if we change the score, people might think we're wishy-washy!"
“But if we change the score, people might think we’re wishy-washy!”

The point is, as far as I’m concerned, Inside Out is a rare 10 out of 10. I must repeat that, normally, I would not think to alter a review or even the score I write for something (unless it’s to fix spelling and grammatical errors, of which I’m sure there are countless). But with the way Inside Out has captured my imagination, that 9.0 simply wasn’t doing justice to how I feel about it on either a personal or objective level. Now that I’ve seen it a second time, it even puts up an argument against The Incredibles and Toy Story 2 (yes, 2. Not 3, 2!) as my favorite Pixar movie.

As stated before, I didn’t even feel my initial review pointed out any notable flaw. The best I could come up with was “some scenes aren’t quite as good as others.” And, well, that’s a load of bull. If it’s all good why should it matter if some of the good isn’t quite as good as its best? I was clearly just nitpicking in the worst way.

"Damn those numbers to hell!"
“Damn those numbers to hell!”

I have now altered my review ever so slightly, to more emphasize those nitpicky moments as entirely inconsequential. Hopefully no one thinks any less of me for tweaking a previously written review, but this, I feel, is a very special case. Now that I’ve edited the review (twice!) to better justify my ever-growing appreciation for Inside Out, I have to point out that it’s the first animated film I’ve officially labelled with a perfect 10 on this site. It might seem kind of lame for my first animated 10 (on this site) to be retroactive, but it’s not as lame as giving a 9.0 to a movie deserving of a 10 out of some misguided pretentiousness.

I will make a note from now on, however, to no longer alter my reviews or scoring. Let them be, as it were, whether I continue to agree with them or not. But maybe this is a sign that I – and everyone else – should stop taking number scores so seriously. Of course, if I’m now giving extra attention to not alter any additional scores, does that mean I am taking them more seriously? conundrums.

Anyway, the important thing is I’ve fallen in love with Inside Out, and am sure to continue gushing over it in many, many more blogs. I may not have given it its due the first time around, but better late than never. You can now read my review of Inside Out, as it should have been written to begin with.

An Entirely Unnecessary Explanation About Why I Upped My Score of Inside Out

Inside Out

In my review for Pixar’s newest movie, Inside Out, I gave it a score of a 9.0. But I have since gone against my usual stance of keeping reviews the way they were written and decided to up it to a 9.5. Normally, I would be dead set against doing this, since I think, even if one’s opinion of something changes after reviewing it, you shouldn’t feel the need to apologize about how you wrote the review in question. But I’m also an exceptionalist, and believe in making exception for the exceptional. Inside Out is exceptional, and I feel the need to apologize.

"I fear I made a mistake. I am disgusted with myself."
“I fear I made a mistake. I am disgusted with myself.”

I’m going to be honest, this whole Inside Out 9.0 nonsense of mine has made me question even using these number scores (at least in regards to animated films. Video games strangely seem better suited for them). Who knows, maybe I’ll wipe those numbers clean one day and let the reviews stand on their own, without being shackled to a numerical score. But in the meantime, I have upped Inside Out to a “near-perfect” 9.5. Let me explain a little bit why I did this.

In my review, my only real “complaint” (should I say “pretentious nitpick” instead?) was that there were a couple of moments that maybe didn’t flow as nicely as the rest, and that they “slow the pacing down slightly.” Let’s think about that for a minute. I didn’t say it was ever a slow movie, or that its pacing was bad, just that some parts were relatively slower to the rest. Wow, I was an A-hole for that one! I may as well have said “in its best moments it’s practically perfect, but sometimes it’s merely great.” What kind of complaint is that? Did I just double up on pretentiousness or what?! If I had a DeLorean and a Flux Capacitor right now I’d go back in time and give myself a Shoryuken.

"C'mon dude, they're just numbers."
“C’mon dude, they’re just numbers.”

Like I said, I’m even thinking of dropping the scoring in regards to my reviews of animated films. But for now they’ll stay, because most people only seem to care about scores anyway. Plus, my OCD demands numbers, numbers, numbers!

The point is Inside Out is an absolutely wonderful film, and I’ll be shocked if by the end of the year it isn’t still my favorite movie of 2015 (animated or otherwise). It’s one of Pixar’s best pictures, undoubtedly their most imaginative, and one of the best animated films in recent years alongside the likes of Frozen and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. A 9.0 is a hefty score, and not one I take lightly. But I feel Inside Out deserved even better than what I initially gave it, and maybe I’ll even come to see it as a perfect 10 down the road (though I probably won’t change the score on the review again. Instead I’ll simply acknowledge my initial underrating of it and its continuing greatness).

I repeat, normally I wouldn’t think of altering the score of a review. But Inside Out is something special. After I first saw it, something wonderful happened: I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It has captured my imagination, and I am more excited to see it again than I am to see most movies for the first time. There’s no shame in a 9.0 whatsoever, and most movies wish they could be a 9.0. But in regards to Inside Out, I feel it deserved a bit more. So now the review sits at a 9.5, but if some of my future writings indicate it might deserve even better, don’t be too surprised. I love this movie.

Inside Out Review

Inside Out

Pixar has had a reputation for making emotional films, with some of their works being famous for bringing audiences to tears. It shouldn’t be all too surprising then, that Pixar has decided to make a film about emotions themselves.

Inside Out tells the story of an eleven-year old girl named Riley. More accurately, it tells the story of the emotions that live inside her head: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust.

Inside OutJoy, Riley’s first and most prominent emotion, is the leader of the bunch, and makes sure Riley’s core memories are happy ones. Sadness is there whenever Riley needs to shed some tears, but she has to be careful not to tamper with Riley’s emotional state too much. Fear is the voice of reason (and caution), as it’s his job to keep Riley safe. Anger is there to keep things on the defensive, and longs for the day when he can finally allow Riley to use a curse word. It’s Disgust’s job to influence Riley’s likes and dislikes.

These emotions are, as they put it, what make Riley Riley. They use a control panel in the “headquarters” of Riley’s mind to shape her every day life and her memories. The most important of these memories in turn shape the “Islands of Personality” within Riley’s mind.

Things are suddenly thrown into disarray, however, when Riley and her family move from their Minnesota home to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions don’t know how to handle the situation, and Sadness is compelled to tamper with Riley’s memories. Amidst all this chaos, Joy and Sadness accidentally get sent to the further reaches of Riley’s mind (including “Imagination Land” and “Long Term Memory” among others). Joy and Sadness must then work their way back to headquarters, as all five emotions are needed to keep Riley’s personality intact.

If the premise sounds a bit weird, that’s because it is. Inside Out is, quite beautifully, the weirdest movie Pixar has ever made. It’s also their most imaginative and their most visually unique, as its setup allows for its story to think outside the box like no Pixar movie has before. While the likes of Cars may feel creatively limited by their gimmick, and Brave was a missed opportunity to do something wondrous with its fantasy setting, Inside Out is constantly – and fittingly – coming up with new ideas that bring out the most of the concept’s humor and heart.Inside Out

Joy and Sadness befriend Riley’s long-forgotten imaginary friend, for example. He’s a part elephant, part cat, part dolphin made out of cotton candy who’s become something of a vagabond as Riley got older and left him behind. We also learn that Riley’s dreams are her mind’s equivalent of movies, and are put together by a film studio that regularly casts a unicorn in the lead role. We even get to see little peaks into the minds of Riley’s parents, leading to a series of gags of their own.

Inside Out is a movie that’s always looking for new ways to delve deeper into its premise in the most creative ways possible. From simple gags to deeper storytelling elements, Inside Out never lets up with its imagination. It’s one of Pixar’s most ingenious concepts, and it’s used to its fullest. Some concepts work better than others, sure, but even its lesser ideas still boast more creative spirit than most movies. And you can’t fault Inside Out if some of its ideas don’t quite match up to others, considering it has so many great ideas going for it.

Inside OutBest of all is how deep and emotional the story ends up being. Inside Out deals with subjects like depression and the hardship of growing up in ways that you won’t find in most animated films aimed at children. It’s a surprisingly deep movie that really makes you care about the characters. As Riley struggles to adapt to her new life, you can’t help but feel for her. Both Riley’s story and the adventures of her emotions tie together beautifully.

Inside Out is the most heartfelt movie Pixar has made in quite some time. I may sound a bit cynical for saying this, but even Up and Toy Story 3 could feel a bit mechanical at times. As good as they were, there were some moments in those films where the emotion felt a bit contrived. But with Inside Out, it would be difficult to imagine the sentiment could feel more earnest.Inside Out

The quality of Pixar’s films may have waned in recent years, with Cars 2 and Brave – the studio’s two weakest features – being released back-to-back, followed up with the good but ultimately unremarkable Monsters University. But Inside Out shares the spirit of Pixar’s greatest efforts of the past. This is the Pixar that made films like The Incredibles, Wall-E and Toy Story. Whether Inside Out is the beginning of a new Pixar streak or a one-time return to form, it deserves to be ranked favorably alongside any of the studio’s highlights.

Inside Out is a wonderful film. It is a constantly inventive, emotional and visually arresting work that will – appropriately enough – etch its way into your memory. It’s an absolute joy.

 

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