This film must have been so hard to produce. And that is what makes it so enjoyable. It probably involved a lot of studies behind the mind and emotions.
There were actually going to be more emotions than the five the film created for Riley. But that didn’t work out.
Enough said on the introduction. Let’s get down to the critique.
First, the strengths:
1: The mind and emotion constructions
The mind is an abstract place. The creators made everything so literal, and that must’ve been very difficult. There was the train of thought, the core memories, islands representing Riley’s different interests and life essentials, and, of course, the emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear.
The emotions matured as Riley aged over time. When Riley was a toddler, the emotions would react strongly to broccoli and no dessert if she didn’t finish her dinner (which had no protein, by the way. But that’s another topic).
By the time Riley was eleven, the emotions have matured even more. I appreciated how Joy could feel grief and pain as she was unable to make Riley happy throughout much of the film. However, there is also a special feature of Riley without her internal emotions being shown. And I heard the viewer can understand why Riley can’t be happy.
Who doesn’t love Bing Bong? Or that cute little song Riley made up as a toddler? He was such an imaginative character as well as a fun one. I loved when he barged into Riley’s dream. But it was very upsetting when bad things happened to him.
3: The “Triple Dent Gum” song
Why was that song so annoying to Riley and even a bus driver at some point? I found it amazing and funny. It was a great way to incorporate humor.
4: A boy’s emotions when Riley developed strong feelings for him
“Girl, girl, girl.” The emotions panic like crazy in his head. It was so hilarious. It is also realistic for boys if girls like them. Many have been nervous about impressing girls. The animals’ emotions were funny too.
Which brings me to the flaws…
1: Why do Riley’s parents have all male or female emotions while Riley has both?
This plot hole has been wondered so much by the general public. However, the creators revealed that it was just for humor. I guess that’ll work.
2: Why do the Andersons move?
When things go well, of course conflict has to happen. However, why did Mr. and Mrs. Anderson sell the house? Why did they move to a less-appealing building, both unattractive on the outside and the inside? Were they unable to afford the house in Minnesota? Did one of the parents get offered a new job in San Francisco?
It makes sense for Riley to be unhappy with the move. At some point, her dad said that he missed Minnesota, too (but he and his wife were the one who chose to leave). Is it supposed to remain a mystery?
3: Would a pizzeria really only serve broccoli pizza?
It’s believable for a pizzeria to only to plain cheese pizza. But just broccoli pizza, only for plot convenience? I can’t imagine so. Also, couldn’t Riley have just removed the broccoli from her pizza?
4: “Child runs away from home and parents comfort them after” cliché
I don’t know why the media keeps portraying this. It’s not really credible, let alone allowing an eleven-year-old to walk to school unsupervised in the 2010s (which would get you in trouble with CPS). Riley also stole her mom’s credit card to pay for a bus ticket back to Minnesota. Add that to running away, Riley would’ve gotten the beating of her life and been severely punished for months if this were believable. But the parents had to feel sorry just for plot convenience. Kids, don’t try this in real life. You will most definitely get the beating of your life as well as be grounded for several months—at least.
5: Toddler Riley has no nipples
Okay, this might be a bit much, although they show topless Toddler Riley. And she has no nipples. When I saw this in the movie theater, I found it strange and was thinking “Maggie Simpson has nipples”.
And that’s all. I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. It must’ve been one of the hardest films for Pixar and Disney to create. I always found productions that look so challenging to make more enjoyable than those that look to easy to create.