At a most typical soirée yesterday at a dear friend’s place, we pulled out the Monsters Inc. bluray from my collection and watched it together. Many of my friends were watching it for the first time. It was my umpteenth visit to the land of the scary and home of the (ironically) delightful, of course, and I had a lovely time studying the reactions of the people I love to the careful, symphony-like sublimity of Pete Docter’s (co-writer/director) magnificent creation. At the end, when Boo says goodbye to Sully in a hug that lasts for the smallest of infinities, hearts were broken and efforts were made not to come off as a 19 year-old who cries in movies. I didn’t resist, of course. It would be foolishness, dishonesty even, to try and hold back when you hear an adios that has your name in it. “Mike Wazowski.” Cue ginormous tears.
It is remarkable that the best of Disney-Pixar movies consistently seem to be tragicomedies of the highest kind: films that skim along on the infinite realms of untold imagination, possessing a sort of congenital attribute that gracefully raises them into pop-culture long-term memories. Memories to cherish, celebrate, cry, laugh and sing to. Memories that remind us that our finest selves are already within us.
‘Inside Out’, the new heart-soul-brainchild of this majestic dream factory, ranks among its best; it shakes a leg with the near-Kubrickian cerebral gravity of ‘Wall E’, holds hand with the spirit-crushing sadness of the Married Life montage in ‘Up’, and swims happily along ‘Finding Nemo’, greenlighting the portions of detached but contemplative forgetfulness in Dory or parental fondness in Marlin. The pathways inside the seas of (un)consciousness of 11 year-old Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) are our conductors within the plot. It is a narrative rooted in the most basic and objective facets of psychological theory. The story’s motions through imagination, emotional peaks and lows, memory, loneliness, compassion and scores of other unobtrusively humane aspects of thought is as fascinating as it is profoundly awe-inspiring.
The voices must get their due credit: it takes a special kind of talent to bring what are essentially art strokes in a computer to life and bestow them with such staggering personalities. ‘Inside Out’ takes ballsy plunges into places where the controllable part of our stream of consciousness refuses to go into. It is a risky initiative to be packaged into a PG-rated film. Kids may not wholly associate with the movie’s scruples against the comical unreliability of our emotional contrivances, but they’re sure to be enchanted by its festive spree of blasting color, hilarity and non-stop thrills. When the film is not busy emptying our tear-ducts with alarming ease, it tickles stronger than most of the cinematic trips which pass for ‘comedy’ these days.
The best part of the genius marketing strategy while distributing trailers and posters for the film is the concealment of the movie’s best character. You haven’t heard his name or seen him in any of the posters, and it’s only after reading the critics wail for him, do you know that someone named Bing Bong shall royally slay your limbic system into a gajillion pieces and take you back to the time where you had an imaginary best friend. It will remind you of how you condemned it to the pits of the forgotten. That guy sacrificed his life so you could grow up, and the lack of such joyously intimate creativity has probably haunted your entire waking life without you being aware of it.
I sincerely beg you to go watch this masterwork. It made me feel bad about the friends I have at university in Core psychology; the movie explains every part of its fundamental web of notions while being funny and agonizingly painful about the truth of our existence.
‘Inside Out’ has been one of the most humbling and stirring cinematic experiences of my life. Just one of those days where I feel awfully dwarfed by the kind of talent out there.