Saturday, July 11, 2015

(N-Depth) Movie Discussion- Inside Out

This post may seem a little overdue, but I have been on vacation of sorts for the last week. Or perhaps I planned it this way all along, since more people would be apt to read my post if they have seen the movie already. *rubs fingers together cunningly*

In case you have not seen the movie, then never fear, you can read my non-spoiler review for the movie here.

Let me start by saying, that Inside Out was not in my top favorite Pixar movies. I said as much in my previous review, in which I go into great depth explaining that even my least favorite Pixar movie is still far above many other movies when it come to quality.

Ok, on to the movie.

First off, it was brilliant. The brilliance of the writers at Pixar never ceases to amaze me; having grown up in a family where creativity is held in high esteem, good ideas were praised, and life lessons were woven into everything from the strange to the everyday ordinary, or, extraordinary. This is what Pixar is, and I admire them so very much for it.

Where to begin? A thought train, that is a literal train. Yes! And have you ever had your thought train utterly derail? Yes, I have, regularly.

I loved the dream production studio, that was perfect, the way the little writers take the real life events and then distort them is so how real dreams are.

The bubble gum song? YES! For me, it would come in the form of that one High School Musical song that Troy and Gabriella sing at their musical audition. How many times have I gotten the lines, "We're soarin', flyin', there's not a star in heaven that we can't reach..." Gah! Get out of my head!

I have to be honest, I was NOT a fan of the imaginary friend Bing-Bong. I read the title to a Disney article the other day that said, "Why Bing-Bong May Be the Best Pixar Character Ever Created" I was utterly astonished and enraged. What?!? How can you say that annoying puff of cotton candy is even in the same category as Woody and Buzz, Mike and Sully, Dug and Russel, Dori, Hiro and Baymax, and Fred, don't forget Fred, Walle and Eva, Elasti-Girl, and so, so many more! It's offensive to the very core of my being. In case you have not gathered this from my rant, I was not a Bing-Bong fan. He was obnoxious and frustrating. Even so, one of my favorite moments in this film took place surrounding him.

Ah yes, my top 5 moments in this movie.

  1. The memory of when Riley was a toddler, and goes running out of the bathroom with no clothes on. I am the second oldest of six children folks, I know toddlers. This scene was so incredibly realistic and adorable, because let's be honest, most toddlers are rather nudist. I have certain siblings who, when they were toddlers, we felt triumphant just to keep a diaper on them. Toddlerhood is a sweet time when life is innocent and full of joy and giggles at tiny moments, it shouldn't be taken for granted nor should people freak out when talking about things like baby bottoms, poo, and peeing on the floor.  That's just life as a toddler, let' enjoy it and not mind getting down to earth about it.
  2. At the end of the movie when Riley bumps into the preteen boy, and you see what is happening inside his poor brain. All of his emotions are running in circles screaming "GIRL", well, except for Fear, who is huddled in a fetal position on the floor. HA! Hilarious, so hilarious.
  3. When Sadness sits down with Bing-Bong and empathizes with him over the devastation of loosing his rocket ship. This scene was a very crucial part of the movie, and really, a crucial part of life and relationships that people rarely get. More on this in Sadness' character spotlight.
  4. When Sadness gets a hold of the controls just in time to keep Riley from running away.
  5. When Riley walks into her house in San Francisco for the first time, and when she stands up in school and realizes just how badly she misses her home. I felt so much for her in those moments, because I did the exact same things, at age 10 and 11. I too have walked into a house that was awful, actually, when you combined the smell ( fermented cat urine) and the atrocious condition of the dwelling, it was worse than Riley's experience. I remember literally thinking to myself, "It's over, Mom and Dad have officially lost it." It ended up being a lovely home, but only after a thorough purging and remodel. Also, I packed up and moved across  the country when I was 11 years old. I experienced some very real culture shock, and felt isolated and sad.
Now, to my favorite part, the characters.

Joy, we all love joy. We all love feeling joy. The animators did a beautiful job of visually creating joy into an actual little person. She was bright, cute, and adorable, with spunk and just an edge of sarcasm that kept her from being too drippy sweet. Truthfully though, Joy rather annoyed me through much of this film. I knew that Sadness needed more input into Riley's life way before they ever made it clear in the movie. Also, while Joy truly wanted what was best for Riley, she at first failed to understand that it is impossible to be happy all of the time, and doing so ends up just making you feel empty and hollow. Trust me, I know. I have tried to put on my happy face at times when I really just needed to let myself feel things that I was stuffing. It wasn't healthy and it made me feel hollow.

Anger, ha, he was good for a laugh. Truthfully though, I feel that in many ways, Anger can be one of the most damaging emotions. I am not saying it is wrong to get angry, but how many people react out of anger and then regret their actions. Let's think about it for a moment, which Emotion was it that pushed Riley to want to run away? Anger, anger is often reactionary, and rarely do you find your best course of action when thinking in anger.

Fear was hilarious and adorable. I have a brother that is very easily startled and jumpy, so there were many moments that I chuckled while watching Fear. I really appreciated that while making Fear, well, fear, the writers didn't leave him shivering in the corner all the time.

I did not expect to like Disgust so much, but I found her really adorable. Maybe it was her sparkly green eyelashes and pink scarf/blush/lipstick. I don't know, but she was adorable. She was Disgust, but not a jerk, that is good character creation right there.

And you may be wondering why I saved Sadness for last, read on and I will tell you.

Sadness. The emotion that we all try avidly to avoid, stuff, or jump over. People who feel sadness are often avoided, ridiculed, or ignored for fear that they might drag the mood down. This truth about the Emotion Sadness was accurately depicted in Inside Out. Joy, in trying to do her job of giving Riley the best all the time (which she thought meant feeling happy all the time) attempted to keep Sadness in a tiny little corner away from the control panel, where she couldn't do anything to hurt Riley or ruin her memories. Dear Joy, you meant well, but you actually ended up hurting Riley more.

Remember how I said that one of my favorite moments had to do with Bing-Bong and the destruction of his rocket? Well, that had absolutely nothing to do with Bing-Bong himself, and everything to do with Sadness. Bing-Bong, was absolutely devastated, and in the bigger picture, we all felt a pang because we were watching the necessary but sad fact that Riley was letting go of her sweet childhood. Bing-Bong represented the fantastical and wondrous childhood years. Bing-Bong collapses on the ground in deep despair and stares down at the abyss that just swallowed a piece of Riley's childhood. And what does Joy do? She does what many people do instinctively, she avoids the obvious pain of the moment, and tries to jump right over it. Thanks Joy, but Bing-Bong doesn't really feel like smiling right now, he's dying inside.

And then comes a very critical and profound moment. Sadness, the emotion that everyone ignores, comes over and sits down beside Bing-Bong! She doesn't try to fix it, she doesn't try to keep him from feeling, she just sits next to him and shares in his grief.

That right there is a vital part of living and relating with people that is so often overlooked. When people are hurting, trying to get them to laugh it off or smile is not always the best course to take. Yes, joy is needed in the midst of suffering, but you know what else is needed in the midst of suffering? Sympathy, or to have someone who is willing to sit down and feel your pain with you. I think people avoid doing this because it is far messier than trying to make someone laugh, and it requires a greater personal cost to them. But the best relationships are those where people know when to it is "....a time to laugh, and a time to cry...". 

Joy eventually realizes this, after falling down into the deadest part of Riley's mind where she finds an old memory, and upon replaying it, realizes that a moment of sadness had to happen before it was followed by a moment of joy.

Joy then realizes that she needs to get Sadness back up to the Command Center to save Riley, who is in the process of running away and is shutting down her emotions entirely. With some breathtaking stunts, the two Emotions manage to make it up to the Command Center where Fear, Disgust, and Anger are all panicking trying to figure out what to do. Everyone is relieved, thank goodness! Joy is back, she'll know what to do. And finally, Joy has figured out what she needs to do.

Joy steps back and tells Sadness to go to the control panel, which is almost entirely dead and will not respond to any of the the Emotion's actions. Sadness steps up, and touches the panel.

And suddenly, yet, softly, the wall that Riley had built up in her heart and mind crumbles, and she feels again. 

See, I believe that sadness is about the most common emotion known to the human race. Why is that? Well, we live in a fallen world, imagine it for a moment, in the Garden of Eden right after Adam and Eve sinned and their connection with God was broken. What do you suppose they felt? That's right, the worst and most aching kind of sadness you can ever imagine. We as humans are born broken from the very beginning.

We have all felt sadness, and when you have felt what others have felt, you open yourself up to being able to have compassion and empathy for others who are hurting.

Riley had shut herself off to all emotions, especially sadness. But when she allowed herself to feel sadness, she touched the very most raw and vulnerable part of herself, and after that she was able to express and feel everything else that was inside of her.

Now, this movie was made by a secular studio. And I am sure that they consulted a secular psychologist when discussing how the mind works. So there were obvious gaps in the way that the creators explained the human mind. No mention was made of the part of us that is spiritual, and how that effects our mind. Those who know the truth about how God created us humans will have to fill in the gaps for themselves. I do, however, applaud Pixar wholeheartedly for the good work that they did do in giving people of all ages a bit of understanding into how we think and feel.

What were your thoughts on this movie? What was your favorite part? Did they leave something out that you wished they had done? Who was your favorite character? Join the discussion and feel free to post on your own blogs/and or in the comments section.