We have a new Pixar film!
Two years after Monsters University failed to actively offend or actively entertain most of the world, the studio's 15th feature, Inside Out premiered out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival today. The consensus of critical opinion is that it's a strong work if not quite among the studio's best. While nobody I've found has tried to compare it to the recent run of not-that-greats including Cars 2 and Brave, it seems fair to assume it's a return to form.
Here's a quick tour of some of the reviews so far, in descending order of enthusiasm:
"...promises to forever change the way people think about the way people think, delivering creative fireworks grounded by a wonderfully relatable family story."
-Peter Debruge, Variety
"This is a humane and heart-wrenchingly beautiful film from Docter; even measured alongside Pixar’s numerous great pictures, it stands out as one of the studio’s very best."
-Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
"It hasn’t anything as genuinely emotionally devastating as Up, or the subtlety and inspired subversion of Monsters Inc. and the Toy Stories which it certainly resembles at various stages. But it is certainly a terrifically likeable, ebullient and seductive piece of entertainment."
-Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
"It can feel didactic in a way that the let-the-pictures-tell-the-story elegance of "Toy Story" and Docter's own "Up" never did... However, once the gigantic machine is up and running, these issues mostly fall away like booster engines from a space rocket."
-Jessica Kiang, Indiewire
"It’s an audacious concept, and Docter’s imagination, along with those of his numerous collaborators, is adventurous and genially daft enough to put it over."
-Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Those of us stuck hundreds of miles from the Croisette have to wait a while yet to make up our own minds - Inside Out hits the States on June 19. These early reviews have done a mostly good job of calming down the little voice inside my own head that's been terrified that Pixar would be stuck in a gear of high-achieving mediocrity for the rest of time, though "hey, this is a fun and good movie!" isn't quite the overriding level of passion that the studio used to produce from film after film after film.
Still, it augurs well that, at a minimum, we're going to have a pretty snazzy piece of creative and moving entertainment at this time next month. It's a great feeling to actually be looking forward to a Pixar movie for a change, and not nervously counting down to the release date while praying "please don't suck". "Not one of their all-time masterpieces" will be good enough to get through these last few weeks of waiting!