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Inside Out (2015)

Fear, Joy, and Disgust are just three of Riley's voices in

Fear, Joy, and Disgust are just three of Riley’s voices in “Inside Out”

After Toy Story 3, I have felt that Disney/Pixar has been on a tad bit of a slump. I was not a fan of Brave, and the sequels (plus one prequel) were all sub par, especially to the early works of Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up.

Now comes Inside Out, and Disney/Pixar is back with a big bang. It is one of their top four or five films they have made. I left the theater thinking of one word: Spectacular.

The film tells the story of a young girl, Riley Anderson (Kaityn Dias). Well, it is really about the voices in her head. The film gives us the perfect cast for each voice. The main one is Joy, voiced by the always upbeat Amy Poehler. There is Sadness, played by Phyllis Smith (who played Phyllis on the US TV series “The Office”.) There is Disgust, played by another actor from “The Office”, Mindy Kaling. Then there is fear, played with comic brilliance by the always great Bill Hader. Finally, possibly the best cast of them all is Anger played by the only person it could be, Lewis Black.

One of the best things about the characters is how much they care for Riley. None of them are bad (despite Anger learning a curse word he wants to use), but deeply care for Riley (especially Joy).

The film starts with Riley’s childhood, showing (mostly) thoughts of Joy (which are spheres that reminded me of Minority Report). One day, however, she is told by her Mom (Diane Lane) and Dad (Kyle MacLachlan) that they are moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. Eventually, in this time, Sadness and Joy will have left the main control room and go to long-term memory, leaving Disgust, Anger, and Fear to control Riley.

I will leave it at that, because I would hate to give away any key moments that you deserve to see cold. I will say that the film brought me moments I did not expect, such as seeing some of the voices in the parents’ heads (with laugh out loud results), how our dreams are made, and a forgotten imaginary friend named Bing Bong (Richard Kind) who will tug at the heart-strings.

Parents, if your child can sit through a movie, then they can see this one. There is nothing wrong with it.

I must urge all the children out there: don’t just let your parents doze off during this film. It truly is a film for all ages. At my screening, there was a lot of laughter, and most of that came from the adults (although plenty from the kids as well). This is clearly the best film of the year so far, and will easily be on my top ten list of 2015. I plan on seeing it many more times.

Here is to hoping the Oscars are finally ok with giving an animated film Best Original Screenplay.

Note: The movie is preceded by another winning short animated film. The one this time around is Lava, with a very nice catchy song.

Overall: 5 Stars *****

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