Sunday, June 14, 2015


Now that it's taken me nearly a week to write this, it doesn't seem quite as exciting, but last Sunday I got to see Pixar's latest, Inside Out, a full 11 days before it hit Australian cinemas. That's 12 days before U.S. (Thursday release vs. Friday release), and 13 if you consider that we're a day ahead.

That makes it probably the coolest advanced screening I've gotten to attend as part of my reviewing gig at ReelGood.

But it was also the best for another reason -- Inside Out is the best movie, period, I've seen in some time.

We're not just talking about Pixar getting back on top of its game. We're talking about Pixar getting back on top of everyone's game.

I won't go on at length about how great Inside Out is -- if you check back soon, I'll have a link posted on the right-hand side to my actual review -- but I do want to discuss one of the most phenomenal and unlikely things about it:

It wasn't the least bit hard for my four-year-old to understand.

You surely know that Inside Out features a cast of anthropomorphized emotions vying for control of a child's brain. It deals with all sorts of heady concepts like Core Memories and Abstract Thought and Islands of Personality. Advanced concepts, to be sure.

And Pixar made it effortlessly accessible to a child.

I must admit I was bracing myself for a barrage of in-movie questions. I wasn't prepared to love it as much as I did, so in my mind I was fully prepared to answer them without being annoyed at the disruption. The worst possible outcome would be that my son was bored and would want to leave, but I had that nipped in the bud. You see, my wife was at the screening with us while my sister-in-law stayed home with my younger son, and I made sure to emphasize that if anyone had to depart early with him to the lobby, it had to be her. After all, the only reason any of us were there in the first place was that I was reviewing the movie -- the whole movie.

Near the start I was concerned that my worst fears might be realized. There were telltale signs that my son would, at the very least, be a distraction, and at worst force my wife to leave early on in the movie. I had clearance to stay, but I'd feel guilty if they had to twiddle their thumbs in the lobby for an hour. What happened was that after the absolutely lovely opening short, called Lava, my son turned to my wife and complained that he was hungry. Normally we would have picked something up at the concession stand with which to ply him, but we wasted our pre-movie time on window shopping outside the cinema. So this plea for food was going to go unanswered, and could certainly metastasize into far worse behavior.

Except once the movie started, there was not a peep from my son. Not a peep.

Actually, he did make one comment during the movie, but it wasn't even a question. I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was some kind of observation. The kind that proved he was engrossed, and would not be a threat to leave.

He also laughed in a lot of the right spots, even if I felt some of it was just social laughing based on the reactions of others. And our audience laughed a ton during this movie.

After we got out, I asked him if he had any questions about what had happened in the movie. He didn't. And to pry further, in order to rule out the fact that he was just pretending he understood because he didn't even know where to start with his questions, I asked a few follow-up questions. He ended up offering a startlingly intelligent analysis of why the movie was called Inside Out. I mean, intelligent for a four-year-old.

Maybe it's my son that's advanced.

But for now, I'm just crediting Pixar on making a firgging awesome movie.

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