Emotions are tricky things - especially when they lose control of your brain's central command! Inside Out rides the rollercoaster of growing up on 4K UHD. The extra resolution and HDR10 add an extra kick to the incredible visuals while the Atmos mix makes great use of the format. While the film is still geared towards kids, it's the adults in the room most likely to relate to this wonderful heartfelt flick that's a true testament to Pixar's enduring creativity. Highly Recommended.
Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is an average young girl living in Minnesota with two loving parents and a group of friends. But when Mom and Dad have to move the family to San Francisco, Riley's emotions Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) are thrown for a loop. When Riley's happy core memories are polluted by sadness, Joy and the rest of the team need to find a way to help Riley navigate her new home and surroundings and her new complex emotional responses.
Read our original Blu-ray review HERE.
Read our original 3D Blu-ray review HERE.
Save for the clunky The Good Dinosaur and Cars 2, Pixar's track record for delivering big concept creative storytelling that's good for everyone of all ages is impeccable. They're great about putting out commercial favorites with big themes that resonate with the audience but are still wildly entertaining. Inside Out is probably their most mature concept piece to date by taking a smart look at the complexities of emotional intelligence. How we manage happiness, sadness, anger, fear - we like to feel like we're the ones in control at all times. As this movie smartly reminds us, we're often along for the ride. When we're kids growing up it's less a ride than a violent rollercoaster with no discernible beginning or end. All we can do is work our way through them and process as we go along.
What I particularly loved about Inside Out was that it felt like a film that wasn't made for its marketability. Don't get me wrong, I love the Toy Story sequels and I had a blast with Incredibles 2 - but I really appreciated that this felt like a truly unique and individual story. Sure you could turn those colorful emotions into action figures but could you honestly see a kid huddled in a corner playing with Joy and Anger in a battle against a squad of G.I. Joes and Ninja Turtle figures? Well... maybe with anger and his penchant for fire-breathing responses, but the rest of the emotional spectrum probably not so much.
Inside Out was the first Pixar flick I felt really excited to see in theaters in a while. It was something new and high concept that I hadn't seen done in a kids film. I loved that it was a simple personal development lesson geared towards kids of a certain age - but everyone could relate to it. I thought it was a great time when I first saw it in 2015, but watching it again the film hit an extra cord as my wife and I are expecting our first kid. As we inch closer and closer to our due date, that opening where Riley is born and Joy emerges slowly followed by her fellow emotions, that really hit hard. Not quite Up levels of emotional impact but pretty damn close! It may not be the most fun or exciting Pixar film to date, but it's probably their most conceptually ambitious making it one of my top five alongside Ratatouille, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K UHD Blu-ray
Inside Out arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Disney and Pixar in a three-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital set. The discs are housed in a standard two-tray black 4K case with the UHD disc stacked on top of the included bonus features disc with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to Disney's standard language menu before moving onto the submenu that lets you skip directly to the main feature or move onto an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
Upscaled to 2160p from a 2K DI with HDR10, Inside Out offers up a notable improvement in definition, color, and image clarity on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. I dug how the film looked already on 2D and 3D Blu-ray with bright colors and the interesting character design of the emotions with the little circles crafting their shapes and features. With the upscaled image and the added color depth of HDR10, I thought the image took on a much more luminous appearance with a further refined color pallet. On SDR Blu-ray, the colors for the individual characters were fairly uniform, now there feels like shade variance - especially with Joy and Sadness as they travel throughout Riley's subconscious. Anger also gives off a nice varying shade of red depending on how comically angry he is.
Details, I felt like was seeing individual features clearer and lines looked a bit stronger and more clearly defined. This doesn't immediately leap off the screen when doing some fast side by side comparisons, but as the film went on I felt like I was seeing smaller things much clearer. We're only given a few glimpses of the human world but keep an eye for signs and text and they do take on a much clearer presence than before. Another great sequence is when Joy and Sadness become abstract ideas and their textures and "cardboard' presence and layering looks great with some nice dimensional pop.
Black levels and contrast are also nicely tuned up. Black levels especially become important towards the end of the second act as we move into the subconscious and the depths of Riley's forgotten emotions. I thought this sequence looked pretty great before in SDR 2D or 3D but now I felt like I could really see how expansive that dark forgotten place was with crumbling emotions shimmering and shining in the darkness. I for one am damned impressed with this upgrade in overall picture quality. I was a big fan of the 3D release of this one, but this 4K disc is my new favorite presentation.
Inside Out returns to its theatrical roots with a thunderingly terrific Dolby Atmos mix. To be fair to the previous releases, I was perfectly happy with their respective DTS-HD MA 7.1 tracks, but the extra atmospheric spacing along with the advantages of overhead/vertical effects, this little film just feels a whole lot bigger. Dialogue clicks through nice and clear throughout the feature without any interference or softness issues. Levels are also nice and prominent without needing any extra boosting.
As I mentioned, this mix just feels bigger and more spacious with subtle activity moving around the channels. The inner workings of the emotional command center with the tubes of memories rolling around provide nice side and background movement. During the big sequences, the overheads take a much more prominent place in the mix. As Joy, Sadness, and eventually Bing Bong make their way through Riley's emotional landscape there is near-constant activity to keep the mix active.
LFE comes to life in a lot of great ways. Anytime Anger gets control of the command center, when Jangles wakes up, the rush of Bing Bong's rocket, you get some nice bass rattling low tones that really keeps the audio track present and in your face. At the same time, you have sequences like when Joy and Bing Bong try to fly the rocket out of the walls of Long-term memory where you have fantastic channel movement up into the verticals complete with some excellent LFE push.
With the SDR disc and the bonus features disc included, this one comes with the same set of extra features without having anything on the 4K UHD Disc.
Riley's First Date
Paths to Pixar: The Women of Inside Out
Bonus Features Disc
Story of the Story
Mapping the Mind
Our Dads, The filmmakers
Into the Unknown: The Sound of Inside Out
The Misunderstood Art of Animation Film Editing
While I understand the need for sequels and franchise properties, I appreciate that Pixar continues to find interesting projects to bring to the big screen. I just can't imagine any other studio taking a story about a little girl's emotions and having the confidence that it would be commercially viable. Inside Out is one hell of a smart film with a terrific understanding of human emotions. With it's PG rating it may be intended for the slightly older kids in the group, but everyone in the room should find something to love with this amazing movie.
Disney/Pixar mine more cinematic gold out of Inside Out with a great 4K UHD Blu-ray that offers up a fine range of improvements over an already impressive 2D SDR and 3D Blu-ray release. The HDR10 adds extra color range with some fine details enjoying an extra push while the Atmos mix really comes to life in all of the best ways. These improvements may not be leaps and bounds better, but they're noteworthy and this wonderful film looks and sounds amazing for 4K fans. Highly Recommended.