Monday, June 8, 2015

"Tomorrowland" and "Inside Out" reviews

Both Brad Bird and Pete Docter are heroes of mine - a list of their films would include some of the greatest films of our generation: "The Iron Giant", "Ratatouille", "The Incredibles", "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol", "Monsters, Inc." and "Up". 

They've both released new feature films, within a month of each other, and I thought it would be edifying to review the films side-by-side. 

"Tomorrowland" by Brad Bird, starring George Clooney is a very ambitious, expensive attempt to save the world.  The visuals are magnificent, as is the production.  However, the story is completely confusing.  I'm still not sure what was going on.  Perhaps the producers had hoped that people were so fascinated by the concept that the audience would return multiple times to completely understand the movie.

Or perhaps they didn't test the film before the release.  Maybe Brad Bird was so sure of his storytelling powers that he didn't think he needed to test the film.  If so, that's too bad, because this film had the potential to be a classic -

When I first heard of the concept behind Pete Docter's "Inside Out", I thought, "What a boring idea.  Just a group of humanized emotions arguing with each other, how uncinematic."  However, about 10 minutes into watching the film, I was hooked.  The concept of a little girl's emotions directing her personality is so ripe with ideas and humor that it seemed very personal to me. 

Of course, being a Pixar film, the animation and overall look are stunning.  Also, as usual, the Pixar greatness in storytelling comes through.  It reminds me a lot of "Toy Story 3", where every character had a distinct personality and they go on a long, arduous mission that results in a surprising yet completely satisfying conclusion. 

I believe that "Inside Out" will receive the Oscar next year - and Pete Docter deserves it.  The film is marvelous. 

I give "Tomorrowland" a B- and "Inside Out" an A. 

Bill Plympton

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