6 September 2015

Inside Out Excels For Knowing That Females Are People Too!

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As an only child that went to an all boys school and who has since become almost terminally single, I grew up in complete fear of all woman-kind. I mean.. what were they?! They liked dolls, the colour pink, and would one day grow two massive arse cheeks on their chest for babies to suck on. I was predominately exposed to females through the goggle-box which terrified me with images of Bonnie Tyler screaming down the camera like the Welsh God of Drunken Anger. Even movies rarely focused on the vagina'd gender unless they were spoon-feeding us a turgid love story about a frumpy tart's desperate attempt to win the heart of some terribly English prick. Talk about boring! As a young boy I didn't care about 'romance' and so found those movies and characters to be about as interesting and relatable as a tiny stain on the rim of a cat's anus. In the years that I've since spent growing up I'd like to think that I've gained some insight, but sadly it seems that most mainstream movies haven't. If you want to see a film starring a woman in the lead role of a movie which doesn't fall into the romance genre, then the odds are she's going to be on her knees as twenty men tug one out around her. Thank God then for Pixar and their new film Inside Out which aims to have a look at a young girls brain and answer the age old question of 'what the fuck is going on in there!?'

The film follows Riley, an eleven year old kid who's on the cusp of puberty. She likes hockey, her family, friends, and acting like a tit. Inside her head however we see the personification of her emotions in a command centre, controlling her every action according to whatever emotion they embody. Joy is essentially the main character but she's also joined by Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust, with the five of them working as a team to ensure that young Riley remains mentally stable. Sadly, Joy and Sadness get lost in her head causing the poor girl to get her first taste of the unending misery of adulthood. I'm pretty sure that the characters in my own mind have Joy's head on a fucking stick these days. So the bulk of the movie involves Joy and Sadness racing to get back to Riley's control centre before she gets too depressed and the film turns into an unofficial sequel to The Virgin Suicides. Oh, and in their adventure through Riley's mind, they also meet her childhood imaginary friend Bing Bong who essentially acts as their guide. Bing Bong is the creepiest fucking thing I've seen this side of Jake Busey and will presumably turn Riley into a full blown schizophrenic if he manages to get to the control centre. I myself have never had an imaginary friend but I do find myself feeling better about life after a night in with a twenty bag and an item that I refer to as my own Bing Bong. 

Having spent the last couple of years pissing about with underwhelming films like Cars 2, it's nice to see that Pixar have decided to pull their finger out and go back to making instant classics again. Inside Out has everything you want from a family film with it not only being a fun adventure but one that actually has something to say. It's essentially the set-up of Toy Story in that two mismatched characters get lost and have to find their way home to help comfort a child- but with the added message that one day you will get depressed about how shit your life is! It also attempts to justify the reason for Sadness's existence which provides a genuinely touching moment between that character and Bing Bong. Essentially, the imaginary chum is feeling down and Sadness knows how to deal with him in a way that doesn't involve knifing the creepy fucker in the back and legging it as fast as possible. Personally I'd argue that Joy and Sadness aren't quite as iconic or as good company as Woody or Buzz, but that's just me. I grew up with the latter two and I personally can't cope with people like Joy who are too cheerful all of the time. If the builders who I overheard giggling about the excitement they were having on a rotating stool the other day are anything to go by, I can't help but assume that being permanently happy is just a sign that you're a bit of a fucking idiot.  

From what I've read, it seems that the makers of this film thoroughly researched the mechanisms of the brain so that they could recreate its actual workings as accurately as possible. Considering I was only a few marks above an 'unclassified' in my psychology AS-Level Exam, I'll take their word for it on that one. What I can say however is that the film looks fucking amazing, with the team seizing the opportunity to go nuts on the eye slice-ingly sharp visuals. As Joy and Sadness wander into the imagination part of Riley's brain, it's as though they've accidentally stepped into the Quantum Zone after an expensive trip to Amsterdam. This obviously works really well when contrasting the multi-colours of Riley's head with that of the much grimmer and drably coloured reality. There's nothing more effective than a colour scheme to subconsciously help kids understand that the oppressive blandness of the real world will one day be the blanket used to smother their own dreams and sense of fun. This creativity of design obviously extends to the characters themselves, with Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger being subtly shaped like a star, tear, broccoli, nerve and fire block. Although if the emotions' physical appearance resemble things the girl associates with those feelings then I can only assume that as puberty begins and her agendas change, they're all going to start to become significantly more dick shaped.  

For me, there are two things that set Inside Out apart as being something special, with the first being the insanity of its seemingly impossible balancing act. The adventures of Joy and Sadness have to be as interesting as Riley's in the real world, with the two stories having to parallel each other in a way that kids and their innate stupidity can follow. Imagine making a film like Inception for children, that's relatable to their own lives, and yet isn't dumbed down in the slightest and that's what this is. The other thing that it really does help to do is to de-mystify the cock-less gender for any confused and scared little boys whose only exposure to the female form is in 80's singers and their lyrically confusing power ballads. It also gives young girls a character that they can relate to without needing to strain their noggins by empathising with somebody who can pee whilst standing up.  

Obviously this isn't the first family film to feature a female as the lead, but it's the first that I can think of where it's not integral to the story. Brave, Mulan, and Frozen might feature women doing more than hunting for a man to stuff up themselves but they still highlight the differences that our two genders have to go through. What Inside Out dares to suggest is that deep down in our skull-mush, we're all just one and the same. We all feel the same emotions, go through the same traumas, and deal with shit in a similar way. Nor is Riley made to be particularly stereotypically feminine as is so often the case... She doesn't wear long flowing dresses and her biggest hobby is a sport in which men usually kick the shit out of each other. It's as though the film doesn't see her as just her gender, but as a human instead. Strange! The great thing too is that I know kids are actually relating to her because there was a young boy expressing his love of the film while I was in the cinema. He didn't mind that she was a girl and that both Joy and Sadness also seemed to be female. He was just enjoying the film by screaming and kicking my chair whilst his stupid bitch of a Mum did nothing to shut the little shit up. Seeing kids films really is ruined by the fact that kids will be there, with the little bastards lacking any sense of self-awareness or respect for others. Parents will moan about their own children's constant stream of energy by saying “the thing about kids is that it's a full time job. They just don't come with an off switch”. But they're kids, of course they come with an off-switch. It's called the soft part of their fucking skull and it just pops right in! Anyway, thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time.  


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