Pixar has its mojo back! After a string of three sequels and Brave, all of which were okay films, none of which really measured up to the studio’s high standards, we now have one that showcases their strengths. Simply put: soaring imagination and a story that will touch your heart. It is not quite to up the level of Up and WALL-E, but what is?
I have to say that the trailer, though it presented the interesting idea of what goes on in a little girl’s head, did not visually knock me out. Not to worry. When I saw the whole thing, I was continually amazed at the settings they thought up to represent the human brain and thought processes, and the sheer inventiveness, attention to detail, and just plain hard work that went into every frame. The characters of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust were each as one-dimensional as they had to be to follow the premise, and then at the end they matured and grew broader as Riley grew up. It all had to be carried by Amy Poehler, of course, and she did a great job.
As usual, there is a short at the beginning, a lovely little Hawaiian folk tale and song about a lonely volcano and his lady love, called “Lava.” I don’t think it’s possible to give Pixar enough credit for reviving the tradition of an animated cartoon to show along with a movie. I really, really miss Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies! There is also a series of scenes during the credits showing what is happening in the minds of other people, and also a cat and a dog. The cat’s mind is priceless, and exactly right.
I have to add that I just looked over the list of upcoming Pixar films, and I’m worried all over again. There is Finding Dory, Cars 3, Toy Story 4, and The Incredibles 2. There is no reason why these should not be great … and every reason to fear they will be inferior to the originals. With the exception of things like the Toy Story trilogy and the Bourne movies, sequels almost always are. But we can hope.
Still, the next release is The Good Dinosaur, coming out this Christmas of 2015, and frankly, I think dinosaurs have been done to death. We’ll see. Stuck into the list is something called Coco, about a young Mexican boy and the holiday of Dia de los Muertos, due out in 2017. I have high hopes.