Some Ramblings - Inside Out (2015) by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
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They explored longing ('Toy Story'), they went after loneliness ('Wall-E'), they sided with aging ('Up'), they mined angst ('Finding Nemo'), they fought fear ('Monsters Inc'), they propped pluck ('A Bug's life'), they listened to the heart ('Ratatouille'), they mustered up courage ('The Incredibles') - the magicians at Pixar always picked a singular emotion for each of their wonderful movies, deconstructed it to its core, and through the way of rendering the full palette of all possible and associative, all complimentary and supplementary feelings attached to that emotion, built it all the way back up, delivering an experience that resonated deep, despite repeated viewings. Take the example of parental angst in 'Nemo'. This angst is not a individual entity, it has fear, concern, care, anger, and love (which is again a composite emotion) driving it, and playing with each of these emotions are all the sequences drawn up in the wonderful screenplay, so that when each one hits its separate mark in that reserved section in the heart, they make that tug that much harder and after effect of it, that much sweeter and memorable. And that's the purpose of a movie, to toy with an emotion and make way for the ensuing empathy, or in simpler terms, play the sequence A, get the reaction B. But...why does it only elicit the reaction B to the sequence A, and not some other reaction Z? What's the underlying mechanics beneath the bubbling of a reaction? Or, in short, why does one feel the way he feels? Leave it to the masters at Pixar to once again explain in a way, that agrees well with everyone stationed at different stages of the age spectrum, and show how, in a manner that serves well both as a wonderful silent movie (remember the opening sequence of 'Up'?) as well as a glorious talking piece (who can forget the chatter box Dora)?. It (Pixar) has a come a full circle now with 'Inside Out', having played solo (emotional) concerts all along, that it created a full piece orchestral arrangement, a symphony of swelling feelings, and the result is pure aural delight as well as a visual feast.

Count it on the conjurers at Pixar to take the most abstract of concepts, memory - the forming of it, the association, the storing, retrieval and ultimately its dumping - and lay it out in a fashion that is at once lucid (for the kids) and latticed (for the adults). Though visually not as path breaking as 'Toy Story' or 'Wall-E', structurally, 'Inside Out' is the most ambitious movie to date from the imaginative minds at Pixar, for, it had to not only lay down the ground rules of its operating space, but also traverse through that mind space obeying all the physical and natural rules of psychology and physiology...and yet, not feel as some curriculum fulfillment requirement for advanced grades. Thematically, 'Inside Out' is a logical extension of Pete Docter's (could there be anyone with a better last name to make a movie about the puppet masters in the mind that control the emotions?) directorial debut 'Monsters Inc' which is also about manipulating emotions (particularly, fear) of kids to scare them into screaming, the chief source of energy that powers the Monsters world. Except here, it is not just 'fear' that is in play, there are 'joy', 'sadness', 'anger' and 'disgust' together conducting the Royal Philharmonic inside the head of a 11 year old, scrambling to produce the right reaction to a given situation. The film's greatest strength is its exposition (which works great in print medium, but is geenrally a bane to the visual medium, where the movie has to stop in its tracks and explain about itself instead of showing it directly, its rules, regulations, limitations and pitfalls, the general do's and dont's of that movie universe. This tends to drag the movie down entangling it in its own unending explanations on everything. Nolan's mind benders - Memento, Inception and the recent Interstellar - tread these treacherous exposition waters quite gingerly) - explaining the memory map of the human mind in a plausible way, showing how different memories (lasting, painful, joyous et al) are categorized and stored in their own separate vaults, some adding up to islands of character traits (honesty, integrity, deception and the like), together with its own maintenance crew which regularly takes out the garbage (unused portions of the memory - 'Phone numbers? who needs these, they are in the phone') and dumps it in a waste land, making room for the new memories - there is a whole another world working inside round the clock, even when the person is asleep (which is when the Dream Team takes over), shaping the behavior of the human every step of the way.

'Inside Out' is an animator's adventure, a scriptwriting challenge, not to mention, a neurologist's dream come true. Now, how many movies can boast of such credentials, a stimulating experience to satiate the scientific temper, and an engaging fare to enrich the soul! They might as well use that in their advertising blurb - '4 out of 4 doctors definitely recommend it!'. This is one happy memory ready to be filed under the everlasting category of educational and emotional section. Move over science, you now have worthy company!



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