Jun 30, 2015

The Force Awakens: Brainiac's Return (Fanfic)

Hey all! This is a contest submission I had done for MoviePilot.com. I figured since that that competition is over now, I could post it here for those who hadn't seen it. Give it a read and let me know what you guys think!

An Awakening

The universe has always been full of ghost stories and myths, but none like this. There is a old tale of a being able to absorb and capture entire planets and civilizations who would travel on a world sized machine. They call him Brainiac. The universe hasn’t seen anything like this in quite a long time, but the presence of his myth can be seen throughout the galaxy. For instance, The infamous Death Star was built in part due to the idea that such a sizable machine could even exist. However, the universe is about to be shown the true damage a myth can really cause, once the myth becomes reality. It’s been 30 years since the last Death Star was destroyed by Luke and company, but now Brainiac has begun to absorb the technology of entire worlds while also bottling others for observation. Brainiac, having absorbed such a huge portion of the known galaxy in such a short time, has begun a reason worthy enough for Luke to come out of retirement. However, Luke knows that much like before in his life, he’ll need some help. This time he’ll have to reach out farther than just Cloud City or Dagobah.

Luke and His Disciples

Luke, although being in hiding, has become an experienced Jedi Master who has been keeping a close eye two young people who are very force sensitive. These two people are of course, Rey and Finn. With the threat of Brainiac absorbing the universe and capturing the rest, Luke recruits both Rey and Finn so that he may guide them much like Obi Wan did for him. He knows that if they hope to stand a chance, they’ll need new blood to stand against an enemy of this magnitude. However, he knows that these aren’t the only two he will need to stand against the mighty Brainiac.

The Justice League

Hal Jordan, during his travels throughout the universe on various missions for the Green Lantern Corps, met Luke Skywalker just a few years after the second Death Star was destroyed. Luke, sensing Hal Jordan’s great strength and sense of justice befriended him when Jordan was on mission on Tatooine. Luke, who had began to sense a dark presence in the universe, told Jordan that one day he may call on him to fight a force stronger than he. Jordan, being concerned with the idea that Luke would ever not be strong enough to defeat an enemy on his own, quickly told Luke that if he ever needed his assistance to just click this button. Jordan of course handed him a Justice League galactic pager. Jordan, once back on Earth, told his companions of his new friend and the rising threat. Now, with the pager beeping and the threat clear and present, the Justice League knows that it must rise to the occasion. They are going to a galaxy far, far away.

Ultimate Doom

Luke along with Finn and Rey have taken shelter on the abandoned planet of Jakku to await the Justice League and Brainiac’s arrival. Unfortunately, Brainiac is first to appear. With trillions of nanites Brainiac launches a full on assault on the trio. Luke is able to create a defined line of defense using his enhanced force shield while Rey and Finn fend off any nanites that make it through. The Justice League arrive to find Luke struggling to maintain his defenses. Superman and Martian Manhunter begin to use their strength to fend off the nanite attack on the Jedi, while Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Batman launch an aerial attack on Brainiac’s main ship. Brainiac being as strong and brilliant as he is, quickly grounds Batman and incapacitates Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. He orders his nanite army to cover Superman with kryptonite laced nanites that enter his bloodstream and incapacitate him. He also sets fire to the surface where the heroes fight for survival. While doing this, Luke, Rey, and Finn reach Batman’s downed Batwing, but Martian Manhunter, busy with defending the Jedi, is overcome by the fire. Luke is able to maintain a force shield around the remaining heroes, while Rey and Finn help Batman. Right as Batman emerges, Luke who has been holding off the full force of Brainiac’s nanites by himself is overcome and consumed by Brainiac. Rey and Finn attempt to use their combined strength to fend off the hoards of nanites, but can only create a small radius of safety. Batman sets off an emergency low range EMP that deactivates many nanites surrounding them. Brainiac annoyed by their persistence decides to personally dispose of the last heroes. He emerges to find both Rey and Finn suffering from exhaustion and a wounded Batman. Brainiac, thinking that Rey and Finn being Jedi is a bigger threat, disposes of them rather quickly due to their inability to defend themselves after using so much of the force at once. Finally, Brainiac stands in front of Batman disappointed that he is the only hero left, and poses no threat. However, right as Brainiac puts his hand to Batman’s throat, a light flashes from beneath him. It is only after the cut has been made that Brainiac is able to comprehend the damage. Batman, a mere mortal man, has killed Brainiac with Luke’s lightsaber with a stab to the chest. Batman, saying the last words Brainiac will ever hear, painfully says to the myth that is Brainiac, “Do you bleed? You will.”

So did you guys like my little bit of fanfic? Should things have gone down differently? Let me know! Also be sure to check me out on MoviePilot.com/HaneyCasey as well as follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey! Thanks for reading!

Jun 29, 2015

Regular Guy Review: True Detective S2E2

I guess a shotgun shot to the gut isn’t as bad as getting your twig and berries shot off at point blank range with one. Well, this episode was a definite step up from last weeks disappointing season premiere. The wheels are turning and some have apparently stopped already. We get much better pictures of our characters this week as well as a better grasp on the plot. The writing was still a bit too heavy handed, but the acting is still through the roof. I am beginning to have a few issues with the cinematography, but they aren’t too bad. Also, I hope the show isn’t going to deliver shockers like the one in this episode on a regular basis. It worked very well tonight, but I hope they don’t try and twist and yank us around all season. So, with all of this said, let’s begin our autopsy for this week’s episode of True Detective.

What Worked?
Vince Vaughn
We begin this week’s episode with a scene of Vaughn and his wife/girlfriend (I don’t know if it’s been officially disclosed which she is). He is staring at the ceiling contemplating his current situation and how it connects with an extremely pleasant childhood memory. I speak of course about his story about his drunk father locking him in the basement for 6 days in the dark with little to no food, a shitty light bulb, and of course rats. There’ll be more on this anecdote later. Although, I had some issues with the story being told, Vaughn was extremely believable as an unhinged gangster remembering the days that shaped him into who he is now. He is telling a great story with his eyes during this scene. You can seem to see him actually recall these events as if he were using a personal story for his character. Later in the episode, you can see his desperation wiped away. In the first episode, one of my criticisms was that he didn’t seem like a believable gangster. Now that he isn’t playing nice anymore, I can see what the casting director obviously saw. He is very reminiscent of Vincent D’Onofrio from Daredevil. Much like Kingpin, Vince Vaughn is forced to get tough with those around him who are trying to screw him over. Much like D’Onofrio, Vaughn is charismatic and unhinged. I’m excited to see him get his hands even dirtier. I like his reluctance to get back into the underworld, but you can tell that this is where he thrives. I’ll be keeping a close watch on his eyes, because that is where Vaughn is telling his story.

Colin Farrell
Can you keep breaking my heart, making me hate you, and making me root for you? Up until he was shot and presumedly killed at the end of this episode, he was, pun intended, murdering his character. Farrell has created a character so dynamic that it's almost excitedly, exhausting just keeping up with his storyline. He shows you all the sides of his character whether ugly, good, bad, beautiful, or sad. The whole episode this week just seemed to shit on him, and he just took it in stride. He considered the idea that perhaps he wasn’t all bad, just to then get shot right in the fucking gut, twice. I really hope he isn’t dead. I don’t think the show would kill off its easily most compelling character. It just wouldn’t make sense for them to kill the character we feel the strongest connection to. I really think he is wearing a vest. If he were to die, I would be extremely sad to see his character leave the show with having only thought of redemption rather than attempting some sort of act of redemption.

Character Filth
We all love this show for the horrible pictures it paints with its characters. The side characters we see this week are creepy, gross, and corrupt. The psychiatrist we meet is extremely unsettling with his mannerisms and tone. He obviously knows much more than he is letting on, and perhaps could play a much bigger role in this season than just this small part. Also, the fact that he knows Rachel McAdam’s father is another hint/nod that the cult/commune her father leads could be much more nefarious than previously believed. We know that True Detective doesn’t just reference things offhandedly.
Also, the mayor is just such a despicable leader and overall corrupt person. His demeanor is just so revealing about what he is all about. He obviously isn’t bothered by what is going on because he is in a safe position, however, when he needs to show power or make a point, he sits up in his chair and makes pointed eye contact. This just asserts the level of talent all of these actors have, but it just oozes what True Detective is all about. We want to see the worst in the world and how it operates, and this week we saw just that.

I can happily say that I have a better grasp on what is actually going on now. Vince Vaughn lost all of his capital because Caspere screwed him over, and then died. Now Vaughn is not only out millions of dollars, but out of the deal that he and Caspere were working on regarding the high speed railroad. We know that Vaughn is also in deep water with some of his more nefarious investors such as the russian mobster we saw last week. Rachel McAdams is also now the task force leader in the investigation to solve Caspere’s murder. Taylor Kitsch is still the same brooding man he was before and has a fucked up mom who is oddly sexual towards him. Farrell is, with the prospect of losing his son, reevaluating his involvement in the criminal underworld. He now wants to actually solve this case rather than obstruct it in favor of the mayor and police chief. Obviously now, Caspere’s murder will be the catalyst all of these characters need in order for them to develop and change. I am now intrigued and wanting to see and learn more about Caspere’s murder as well as what he was involved with whether it be another cult, or some other sort of criminal enterprise.

What Didn’t Work?
Ok, seriously how many fucking aerial shots do we need in one episode? Literally after 99% of the scenes in this episode it is immediately bridged by a roaming aerial shot of the L.A. traffic landscape. It does nothing to help me get in the mood for what is to come, or help me understand anything. All it does is take me out of the moment that the previous scene just worked so hard to get me in to. It just makes me think, “Hmmm. L.A. traffic does suck. Glad I don’t live there.” True Detective is usually much more pointed with their scenery. It usually means something, or is supposed to make you feel a certain way, but it is having the opposite effect on me now. I hope this begins to change, but I have a lingering feeling that it won’t.

ClUnkY WritInG
This is exactly how I feel when listening to some of the bullshit written for these compelling characters to say. The opening anecdote that Vaughn tells is completely unnecessary and circular. I don’t feel like the story led me anywhere, and in fact, just repeated what it said in the beginning with the same lack of substance as it had the first time. He begins to talk about the world feeling like paper mache which then leads to a fucked up story about the abuse he endured because his father is a drunk and got arrested. Then the two completely separate issues are connected by nothing more than the fact that Vince Vaughn is speaking about both. They have no connection whatsoever, and if it weren’t for Vaughn’s excellent acting during this scene, I would have turned the episode off. Then later on, some of the dialogue between characters was so good and funny, only to be immediately ruined by dialogue that didn’t seem like it fit the characters at all. There was obviously lazy writing interspersed with great dialogue and storytelling. I hope this uneven writing doesn’t continue to happen, but so far we are two for two.

Overall Assessment
This was a large improvement from the season premiere. I am officially excited and intrigued by this new season. I am invested in the characters and care what happens to each, except for maybe Taylor Kitsch. He needs a bit more development. This episode delivered some admittedly disappointing elements, but they were fortunately out-weighed by the phenomenal acting and interesting plot. I hope Colin Farrell isn’t actually dead, nor do I really think he is, but who knows. This ending is one way to keep me watching! (I also loved the shoutout to Gilroy, CA, my hometown, in the episode!)

Score: 6.7/10

As always let me know what you think? Am I being too harsh on True Detective? Were you surprised by the explosive ending? Do you think Farrell is really dead? What is your impression of the season so far? Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey, check me out on MoviePilot.com/HaneyCasey and read what else I have on my site SlackerNerds.com where we talk Tv, Movies, Comics, and Video Games! Thanks for reading!

Jun 22, 2015

Regular Guy Review: True Detective S02E01

Well it’s here! The second season of the anthology series True Detective premiered tonight. I’m sure we were all anticipating the premiere and wondering if it would live up to the first season. I was excited to be introduced to the new bleak world of these characters, but my excitement turned a little sour. The first episode got off to a bit of a rough start with some sloppy exposition and some eh level acting. It’s certainly not bad, but it isn’t living up to its predecessor just yet. However, let’s open our investigation into the first episode of True Detective Season 2 Episode 1, “The Western Book of the Dead.”

What Worked?
Colin Farrell

Image result for colin farrell true detective

I don’t think anyone doubts Colin Farrell’s ability to act, but over the years he’s taken some questionable roles, in some questionable movies. He has always been a great actor, but I think some were worried that this would be another role he would phone in and not show off what he is made of. Well, it’s safe to officially say, he is all in. He is the shining light in this episode, granted that light burns nothing but pure darkness. He gives us the depth of a man who has been broken and torn apart from the inside out. Farrell gives us a multifaceted character with a full range of manic emotions. We see him go from loving father, to vengeful husband, to murdering psychopath, to crooked cop, to self-loathing drunk, to just another cop. In the first episode, Farrell has given a performance that is extremely pointed, precise, and descriptive. I feel like I know his character as well as I knew McConaughey's from the first season. I think Farrell’s character has the potential to be as interesting as McConaughey’s while still being different enough to stand alone.
In this episode, we see the two extremes of his story so far. We see a flashback to when he is looking for the man who raped his wife while also seeing him working for Vaughn later on in present day. His relationship with his son is thoroughly terrible. The episode starts with a nice little speech only to return to him calling his son a “fat pussy” when questioning him about who was bullying him. It’s easy to see why he’s not granted very many visitation hours. I’m looking forward to his relationship with Vaughn being explored a bit more. I’m curious as to how he started by just acquiring information from him, to full on killing someone for him now. There is certainly a lot of history to be explored between both characters.

Rachel McAdams

Image result for rachel mcadams true detective

What makes True Detective so great, is a combination of two things: characters and plot. Rachel McAdams is helping check off the character’s box for sure. She is very engaging and we get a good chunk of her story in this episode. She has a sister with questionable judgement/employment, a dead mother who committed suicide, and a spiritual leader as a father who revels in remaining uninvolved in his family’s life. Having such a rich background to pull from, McAdams really brings the audience into her conflicts in such a way that makes us feel as if we’ve been following them all along. She is also a very strong character who hides her vulnerability in plain sight. It’s nice to see such a strong female character amongst a cast of mostly males who are just as screwed up as she is. She definitely holds her own, and outshines most of them. I am really looking forward to seeing more of her.
In this episode, we get to be introduced to the family she does have, as well as how she feels about them. We also get to see how she operates. She’s a tough sheriff who is struggling with doing what’s right while also only being able to do so much. You can tell she cares about the cases she gets, but perhaps feels like enough isn’t always done. I think this is something that will help connect her with Taylor Kitsch’s character. Speaking of him…

Taylor Kitsch

Image result for taylor kitsch true detective

Many people doubt Taylor Kitsch due to his checkered background of work in film, however he has talent. He can act and do it well. I’m glad to see he’s bringing it in True Detective and is being given a sizable role. I think this can be something he really shines in. Although he’s playing a bit of a straight laced boyscout, there seems to be some layers that might get peeled off during the season to reveal a bit more about his character and his past. I’m interested for sure.
In this episode, we see him as a hardass CHP officer who, like McAdams, cares about doing the right thing, but get’s in trouble when doing so. He gets put on leave for trying to ticket a celebrity and doing his job. We see him then go to his girlfriend's house where he is greeted with a sexual invitation. Instead of accepting, he goes to the bathroom where he takes a pill and broods for a bit. It’s here where we see his vast collection of scars. Afterword, he comes out, and does the dirty. It’s revealed that some of his horrendous scars were from before his time in the army. After, he goes a bit crazy, speeding down the highway with his light off on his bike, and almost crashing. This is where he discovers the missing body of City Management official, and dirty criminal, Casper. This is ultimately what connects our three “heroes” together.

The Cinematography
In this episode, there are quite a few establishing shots to help get the audience familiarized with their new surroundings. Each one is a great view of California. Also, the close-ups are phenomenal. They help really capture the emotion of each character. Each close-up is like a glimpse into the complicated psyche of each admittedly screwed up character. Also, I am enjoying the reddish color scheme juxtaposed with the dark shadows in almost every shot. Even if the show doesn’t deliver this season, it will at least look great.

What Didn’t Work?
Unfortunately, one of the two key ingredients to making True Detective work, failed to get me interested. The plot is more crucial in this series than it is in other shows. The first season raised our expectations so much, that I expected nothing short of thrilling. The plot I was introduced to was much more convoluted and uninteresting. It gave me a lot of horror in terms of events, but not enough clarity or involvement to make me care. There isn’t as much mystery either. Where the first season was layered and full of head scratchers, this season is much more direct and dark. Hopefully, this will change in later episodes, but for an introduction into the season, this episode’s plot did not deliver.
We are told that a corrupt city official is missing. We are told Farrell’s wife was raped and beaten by an assailant years ago. He had to go to Vaughn to get information. He now works for Vaughn years later. McAdams has family issues and doesn’t succeed too well at her job. Kitsch has some repressed feelings about something, and is also a good apple being tainted by a dirty system. Vaughn, with the absence of Casper, is unable to close a deal on a corrupt licensing agreement with an assumedly Russian mobster posing as a clean business man. All of these things seem to just be mushed together in no real fluid way. They just fit together like pieces to different puzzles. The only redeeming part was the last 2 minutes when our heroes are joined together, however the entire episode just feels sloppy, uneven, and messy. You can see the writers trying to do what the first season did without the same precision or expertise, which is very unfortunate. Hopefully it improves over the coming weeks.

Vince Vaughn

Man. I was hoping so much that he’d be an interesting fit for this character. Unfortunately, he’s the same old Vince Vaughn without the funny. He overacts and doesn’t hit his lines with the right set of emotion that I feel like they were trying to convey. He looks like he is constantly trying to remember to stay in character. He doesn’t sit well as a villain or a gangster. It’s as if he doesn’t actually belong there and in fact stumbled into this entire organization. He is not believable as this manipulative and cunning criminal. He doesn’t seem like someone who could demand Farrell’s character to do anything regardless of the information he had on him. Vaughn doesn’t bring the intensity and gravitas to the table that we expect from each actor in True Detective.

Heroes and Villains
True Detective has shown us that the lines can be blurred between both hero and villain, but at the end of the day each person is either one or the other. Right now, it seems a bit too convoluted in regards to Farrell’s character. His character seems to be a bit too erratic and seems to be shifting to from hero to hard villain back to hero. Hopefully they decide which he will be soon. I need to know if he’s a villain with a good side, or a hero with a bad side because it seems a bit too much on each.

Clunky Exposition
While I’m interested in parts of the plot, most of it didn’t capture me. I think this was due in part to the fact that a lot of it was spelled out for us in exposition that seemed to come out of nowhere. For instance, when we find out that Farrell’s wife was raped and beaten and that they’re divorced, it’s basically the first sentence in a new scene. Then, the conversation between McAdams and her father is basically a plot device to learn more of her backstory so that we may more quickly progress with her currently storyline. Next, the scene where Vaughn, his girlfriend, and his henchman discuss the casino and journalistic investigation into his business just seems to be there simply to add credibility to the fact that he is indeed the bad guy. The whole episode just seemed to come right out and say, “HEY! THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS CHARACTER. YOU’RE WELCOME!” I don’t want to see a show where everything is handed to me, especially when that show is True Detective. The greatest part of the first season was the unravelling of each character’s backgrounds, motivations, grievances, and mysteries.

The Opening Sequence
This is a minor grievance, but that opening song is terrible.

Overall Assessment
This season of True Detective is off to a rocky start. As always, we should give it a chance since this is only the first episode. Unfortunately, they really need to get a handle on the plot and writing. Most of the cast seems ready to bring it and act their hearts out, but if the writing is clunky the acting will be clunky. Also, if the plot is boring, the characters will unfortunately become boring. So, there were some shining moments tonight, but overall it was a disappointment to me and the franchise. Let’s try to remain a bit optimistic though. Here’s to hoping next week will be better.

Score: 5/10

As always, let me know what you all thought. Did you like the season premiere of True Detective season 2? Was it all you hoped for? Any predictions? Who's your favorite character so far? Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey, check me out on MoviePilot.com/HaneyCasey, and check out my website SlackerNerds.com. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next week.

Jun 21, 2015

The 5 Best Pixar Theatrical Shorts

With the release of Inside Out this weekend we are graced with another Pixar short. Pixar has become at least partially known for the charming shorts they play in front of their films. Over the years the shorts have increased in length and in emotional impact. However, some of the older shorts are still just as touching as the newer ones. So, let’s take a quick seat and sit back as we prepare ourselves for a heartwarming and heartbreaking look back at the 5 best Pixar theatrical shorts so far.

5. Day and Night

Starting off our list is the short Day and Night. As every Pixar short does, this one tackles issues much greater than just two characters struggling to get along. Day and Night touches a lot on coexistence with those who are different than ourselves. However, once it shows us how to get along with others who are different, it shows us that we are all really one in the same. Day and Night has some really clever visuals that help depict the emotions and reactions of both characters. The facial animation on each character is very descriptive as well, which Pixar has become masters of. Most of their shorts have no dialogue, so they rely upon their ability to convey emotion with body language and the settings they create. With the message and imagery in this short, it deserves the number 5 spot no doubt.

4. Luxo Jr.

Being the second short that Pixar ever made and becoming the defining symbol of the company are just two reasons why Luxo Jr. deserve to be on this list. However, Pixar’s ability to make me care so much about two lamps speaks volumes about how much more impactful this short really is. The story is one about a father/mother and a son/daughter. The parent lamp is trying to play with its child, and is surprised by the ability the child has to bounce back (quite literally). Much like most parents, the lamp realizes how resilient their child is even when saddened. The short also catches the wonder and happiness that children have when they are doing something as simple as playing with a ball. Luxo Jr. reaches both parents and kids, and tells a story of appreciation on both accounts. It’s a great short that I’ve remembered since the first time I saw it.

3. Knick Knack

Knick Knack is one of the funniest shorts from Pixar, if not THE funniest. It’s a little hard to put my finger on exactly, but this short is much more about the comedy than it about the message when compared to other shorts. There’s something about the levity in this that just makes it so enjoyable to me. It’s a great story about being trapped and being left out and learning to accept your situation, but honestly it’s just really fun to watch.

2. Lava

Lava was by far the most heartbreaking short film I’ve ever seen from Pixar. It was beautiful through and through. From the visuals, to the music, to the story, to the characters. It was nice having actual voices in the short, which as we know almost never happens. I think it was a great move on their part because it helped break my heart (in a good way). It was so sad to see the loneliness felt by the volcano and his inability to communicate with the other volcano. His descent into the ocean made me tear up. However, Pixar being who they are, they took me to the saddest parts of my soul to bring me back up and give me the pay-off I was looking for. The volcano’s ascension back to the surface to meet the other volcano was a moment that nearly made me cheer in the theater. This was without a doubt a high point in Pixar’s short film career.

1. Geri’s Game

Geri’s Game holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first short I had ever seen, and I was blown away. I didn’t know you could even tell a story this quickly, nor did I think one could be as engaging as this was. Another reason it holds a special place in my heart is the fact that it introduced me to jazz. I always loved watching this short just to hear the music in the background. However, Geri’s Game isn’t only the best short because it means so much to me, but it is the true embodiment of what Pixar is. Pixar is all about the child inside of us and allowing that to come out. Geri’s Game is all about a single elderly man playing chess against himself. He is conniving and cheats and laughs and does all the things we would do as children when playing with one another. A Pixar short has always needed to remind me of this aspect of life, and Geri’s Game not only delivered on this message, but will always remind me of where I come from as well as where I’m headed. It tells you to remember to have fun, no matter where, when, how, or with whom. I can’t think of a more memorable, enjoyable, or pure message.

So that’s it folks. As always, let me know what you all think. What’s your favorite short? Do you remember seeing any of these for the first time? Did any impact you in a special way? Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey and check out my website SlackerNerds.com where we talk all things nerdy! Thanks for reading everyone!

Jun 19, 2015

Regular Guy Review: Inside Out

Inside Out? More like tear my heart out from the inside out. Pixar does what it does best here. It pulls on your heart strings and plays sweet sweet music with them. Inside Out makes you cry, laugh, and cheer just like most Pixar movies do. However, I will say that perhaps expectations were too high and this movie felt like a bit of a let down due to some of the press surrounding it. So, let’s hop on the control panel, and decide what emotion describes how I felt about the movie.

What Worked?


Image result for riley inside out

Let’s face it. Pixar’s ability to feel a spectrum of emotions during their movies wouldn’t be possible without their creation of such memorable and relatable characters. Riley, the little girl in the film, was much like any of us were as children especially at her age of 11. I remember acting out, feeling sad, wanting to run away, the overwhelming nervousness of a new school, and trying to face each obstacle with a smile on my face. She really reminded me of myself, and I feel like most people could relate to her as well. The real finesse on Pixar’s part comes in the form of their embodiments of emotions. Each major emotion is a living being who helps take control of Riley’s body and decisions. These characters could have fallen flat and seemed one dimensional especially since they are inherently one dimensional being that they are the physical embodiment of one emotion. Each one interacts and works so well off of the other though that you really get to see the full spectrum of human emotion. Even the side characters are ones who play an integral part in helping our heroes much like most side characters in Pixar movies. They ensemble reminded me of Finding Nemo, where each new side character was vastly different than the last, but each one helped fit a role that needed to be filled.


Image result for Joy with the memories inside out

It was very interesting and unique to see an adventure within Riley’s mind, as well as the consequences of that adventure in her real life. It was a great dynamic. Joy and Sadness’ journey to save Riley’s long-term memories in order to maintain her personality was one that you grow to care about very much. It made me even reflect on some aspects of my former self that I may have lost or let go. Also, Riley’s subsequent reactions to each decision made in her brain by the emotions, whether it be running away, quitting hockey, crying in class, or yelling at her parents, all made for a trip that played out like a rerun of my own life. I think most people probably felt similarly. Joy’s journey to understand that each emotion must live in tandem was also a great lesson learned that played out very lovely. Each piece of progression in the plot, although thickening the main plot, had a great message of its own. Most movies can’t do that as smoothly as Pixar managed to do in this film.


As usual, Pixar just crushes it when it comes to visuals. Every aspect of their animation is just so unique and flawless. They delivered on their definite style while also feeling different enough from previous movies that it wasn’t distracting.

What Didn’t Work?

Plot Layout
Although I enjoyed the journey very much, and I like each lesson that was learned, it was a little too predictable. The film literally has Joy and Sadness run from each personality island in order just to have each one crumble before they get there. It just seemed unnecessary to have each one go down in order. Also, the visual representations of these islands, long-term memories, and thought train, made it too obvious that they were going to take a very specific route out of the control center, and back there again. This isn’t a huge grievance, but usually Pixar is a bit less on the nose about where they are going with a plot whether it be visual cues or even verbal ones.

They started out much like they do in every movie, with a little 5 minute introduction scene to get you invested in the characters before they jump into the main story. However, once we jump into the regular story, things just didn’t seem to slow down enough for me, and it made everything feel rushed. It didn’t help that the plot itself dealt with a time constraint, but perhaps the pace was set fast on purpose in order for the audience to feel rushed to have Joy and Sadness return to the control room. I just didn’t think it worked to well. I felt literally exhausted at the end of the film because there was just so much emotion, and so little down time to process it.

Overall Assessment

Of course this movie is great. It’s really good. However, I wouldn’t agree with a lot of hype asking or stating that this could be Pixar’s best movie yet. I highly disagree with that. It comes in softly as my 5 on my top 5 Pixar films of all-time. To be fair though, Pixar is like a guy who only shoots and hits net. Every once in a while though, they hit the backboard or the ball circles the rim and still goes in. Pixar rarely misses, but sometimes their shots look a little better than others. This was definitely a make, but it just wasn’t quite as great as their phenomenal films. You should really go see it, but don’t feel too distressed if you can’t make it to the theaters. You can wait for this one to come to Redbox or something else. Just be sure to see it.

Score: 8/10

As always, be sure to tell me what you think? Have you seen the film? Will you being seeing it in theaters? Do you think it's Pixar’s best so far? Please make sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey, check out my website SlackerNerds.com, and check me out on MoviePilot.com/HaneyCasey.