Last night I went to see a preview of Pixar’s “Inside Out” – Meet the Little Voices Inside Your Head and had a really fun time. The imagination and talent needed to create the setting and characters portrayed inside our little heroine’s head is just amazing. The film was a joy to look at as well as an emotional rollercoaster with laugh out loud guffaws and the need to wipe the tears from your cheeks. Plus it told a story that youngsters and their parents can easily relate to. And it didn’t even have a Bad Guy. Yea!!! And yet…
It could have been so much more. I had been hoping that at some point Riley would take control of her emotions, and had even Tweeted…
If this film lets young people see emotions as things we control as opposed to things that control us… it is major. #InsideOutAllAccess
…with enough favorites and retweets to show that others felt that way, too. Well, it didn’t happen. The emotions were in charge from beginning to end and she remained clueless. And even though the emotions had their head to head moments (play on words intended) there was no Teaching Moment… no time when all the emotions felt a presence controlling them. No time when Riley took over control of Headquarters for herself and said “I” am in charge.
This is not to say that a youngster can’t get that from the film. In an interview on NPR, Director Pete Docter told of a young boy, afraid of diving, who saw the film and then dived, telling others “I had let fear be in control”. Good for him… but he got that himself.
There could have been so many teaching moments for youngsters. In the simple act of Riley walking down the street, which she does several times… fear jumping in as she is about to step off a curb without looking… disgust reacting as someone walking past throws a candy wrapper on the ground… sadness and joy holding hands as she does something nice for someone in need. Nothing.
Also, unexpectedly, most of the film dealt with memories and the embedded emotions associated with them as opposed to the immediacy of emotions and how they affect us in the moment. Only in a confrontation around the kitchen table with her parents do we see this emotional reaction in action. I was sorry there weren’t more scenes like it.
Please understand. I loved “Inside Out”. It was so much fun. Go see it. You’ll love it, too. But it could have been so much more. Could have been so much more ‘evolutionary’. Could have led humanity closer to a true understanding of self. In the on-screen Q & A with Pete Docter after the screening, he commented on how many ideas had been thrown around and considered and how many had been rejected… just because you can’t do everything.
Pixar… you did great. You took the visions inside your head and put them inside our heads. Just what the Docter ordered. Just next time… go deeper… aim higher.