Pixar does Inception/Interstellar with the imaginative Inside Out
Undoubtedly one of the smartest, most emotional and family friendly movies of the year, Pixar arguably deliver their all-time greatest with Inside Out.Whilst the notion of being trapped inside the mind of an 11 year old girl for 95 minutes might seem like a nightmare to many, Pixar nevertheless comes up with the goods again. Inside Out provides a (un)surprisingly insightful voyage through changing circumstances and warring emotions – literally – whilst breaking down complex thought processes and memory making/storage, within the supercomputer that is the brain, into colourfully digestible bite-size chunks (even putting a whole new spin on the concept of losing your marbles). The story sees the disparate emotional crew that run the headquarters of this little girl’s brain – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear – battling for pole position as her family uproots and moves to a new city. When Joy and Sadness get lost in long-term memory, however, it becomes a battle against the clock to get them back to HQ before the entire landscape of her memories gets reshaped.Sharp and snappy, Inside Out delivers psychoanalytical concepts through vibrant rainbow-coloured antics, bringing to life imaginary friends, repetitive tunes that won’t stop playing in your head, angsty behaviour, fear of clowns, and even a train of thought in unique and wonderful ways that arguably could not be so manifested within live action features. It visually depicts the inner workings of the human mind (albeit that of an 11 year old girl) in the same manner that we saw dreamscapes take shape in Inception or fifth-dimensional concepts in Interstellar, but where those were mere fragments within the complex maze of the brain, Inside Out seeks to unravel the entire mystery, and does so with an action-packed, and emotionally wrought journey that will have you cheering, laughing and welling-up, often all at the same time. Who knows if it'll have the longevity of Pixar's Toy Story, but it remains absolutely unmissable.
2D/3D Picture QualityThe Region Free Zavvi-Exclusive Steelbook release of Inside Out provides three discs of mayhem, with the 1080p/24 AVC-encoded 2D version of the movie, and the 1080p/24 MVC-encoded 3D version – both framed in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen – as well as a third disc with a whole host of further supplements.
This is probably one of the best 2D/3D presentations of the year.
The 2D presentation is outstanding, with eye-popping colours steeped in primary dominance, and intricate attention to detail on the numerous characters, who are often brought to life with this half-fluffy, half-fuzzy intentionally pixellated quality that only makes them feel more real. The real-world characters themselves are expectedly amazing, with that cute Pixar quality at the core, but a very realistic design this time around, and their environments – from the warm white picket fence home at the start to the rougher empty flat that they move to, each given striking observation.
Whilst the 2D version has plenty of depth and texturing, the 3D offers up a whole new level of depth, expanding out with the almost infinite landscape of the brain, as the colourful characters pop with roundedness – along with their magical glowing memory globes – and the environment is given a steeped grading of levels, receding into the background. The projection of dreams and memories becomes an almost film-within-a-film experience, as you feel like you’re watching somebody projecting a movie within your room (on a projector this would have even more of a mirrored effect).
Technically this package is superb, with stunning video and striking audio.
The accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio track is just as impressive as the video, with a thoroughly absorbing, all-engulfing mix that draws you into these imaginative environments and parades a series of unique, involving sounds around (which are further discussed in the extras). Dialogue rises above the rest of the proceedings, placed front and centre as you'd expect within the array, whilst the score provides a strong and emotionally involving backbone for the story, rising, falling and rousing where appropriate, and always keeping the array ignited. Effects are myriad and very unusual; intricately designed for the various emotions and interactions; the various mechanisms that come to life within this girl's mind. With a solid LFE undercurrent, this is a strong demo affair, and a great aural accompaniment.
Steelbook ExtrasInside Out provides, effectively, 3 discs with different extras on them. Whilst the 3D disc only has one extra – and it’s also in the 2D disc – it’s, obviously, only provided in 3D on the 3D disc, making it unique. Lava is another great Pixar short, running at 7 minutes in length, and well worth checking out – in 3D or 2D.
The 2D disc expands out the extras and is headlined by a strong Audio Commentary by the director, co-director and producer, and supported by the 5 minute Short Film, Riley’s First Date, which makes for a great accompaniment to the main movie. The 11 minute Featurette, The Women of Inside Out looks at some of the cast and characters who populate the movie, and has them relate a few of their own experiences to the emotions/memories on show, whilst Mixed Emotions spends 7 minutes looking at the specific design of the key characters.
The second (or, technically, third) disc, which is dedicated purely to extras, includes a series of Featurettes detailing core elements of the production. Story of the Story spends 10 minutes looking at the origins of this tale and the brain-world that was created, whilst the 8-minute Mapping the Mind further expands the look behind this imaginative universe. Our Dads, the Filmmakers, is a 7-minute offering which has the children of the filmmakers reflect upon the work of their parents, whilst Into the Unknown: The Sound of Inside Out spends 7 minutes looking at the unique sound effects created to bring this environment to life. The Misunderstood Art of Animation Film Editing spends 5 minutes looking at the editing process (which, considering the multi-arc narrative, must have been a considerable feat). The disc is rounded off by extra footage, with 15 minutes of extended character beats in Mind Candy, as well as over a quarter of an hour of additional (unfinished) scenes with director introductions, and a trio of trailers.
Aside from a superb extras package spread across three discs, we also get an impressive textless Steelbook design.
The Zavvi-exclusive steelbook is, not surprisingly given it’s Disney/Pixar, gorgeous. With an iconic design that simply needs no title, the image is that of the warring emotions at the core, fully embossed with the characters populating the spine also, and pervading the rear with another lavishly embossed image design. The only quibble some might have is with the embossed border being on the rear – an unusual decision – but I think the textless design is superb, reminiscent of the better of the Marvel Cinematic Universe steelbook designs.
This has to be one of the best all-round releases of the year.
Inside Out is one of the (surprise) best movies of the year, for everybody - young and old - and is given one of the absolute best releases of the year, with a striking Blu-ray in both 2D and 3D; in both the audio and video department, and with an excellent extras package that spills out over 3 discs. With a lovely steelbook design rounding out the package, this is absolutely unmissable. Highly recommended.
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