It’s very important as an author to keep abreast of what’s coming out: trends in story creation and trends in literature.

But with me, I always tend to read a book or watch a movie that’s received a lot of hype, long after the hype has died down.

Hype is really tricky! It can color the way we read something! And there’s a famous saying that you should never believe your own hype!

Okay, so I watched the roll out of the Inside Out movie with great interest.

It had some really good stars in it! The critical consensus was darn near perfect! I think 97% on Rotten Tomatoes!

And it was Pixar!

What could go wrong?

And yet the opening weekend, it DID NOT dominate the box office. And that shocked me.

Me, I seldom go to a movie in the cinemas.

It’s too expensive and ever since I heard that some movie theaters had bed bugs, I’ve been scared off!

Besides, it’s part of waiting for the hype to die down.

So I watched and waited, patiently. And then when I saw Inside Out available on Netflix, I was both excited and alarmed!

Excited that I could finally get to see it, but alarmed because I thought, “Wow! It really did THAT bad???”

And this comes down to marketing. When you’ve got a real bonafide hit, you don’t put it on Netflix a year after it debuted! You just don’t!

Disney is about the stingiest company around. They hardly put any of their best stuff on Netflix. They let dribs and drabs seep through. I watched Brother Bear and a few other of their movies on Netflix now that they’re there but they keep the ‘good stuff’ close to their chest.

Why did they release Inside Out???

So I confess I started watching it with a bit of a jaded view.

I already knew that the emotion Sadness would play a big role–thanks to some other spoilers. And I knew that the imaginary creature Bing Bong would ‘die’ by sacrificing himself, which I thought was totally cheesy because he’s imaginary, he’s a thought, Riley could always think of him again and bring him back to life!!!!

I felt totally manipulated by that! And even a bit resentful, but yeah, I think kids would find it emotional.

But what really bothered me about the movie, the reason the whole movie felt FLAT was because by the time I finished watching I realized that the brilliant folks at Pixar had missed something! Something pretty obvious!

The danger in creating a movie based on modern understandings of psychology is that we’re still learning about the brain!

And how do you do it without appealing to a HUGE part of the human psyche: FAITH! Religion!

What’s missing is SOUL!!!!

The biggest drawback of the movie is that the MAIN CHARACTER Riley is reduced to her idiosyncrasies and emotions!!!! She’s FLAT!

Ironically Joy and Sadness and the other emotions have more personality than Riley does!

I mean really? Riley has no say in what emotions she feels? She’s just like an avatar for these five emotions in her head???


It’s nonsense!

And the thing is, it’s so weird to be so critical of such a critically acclaimed PIXAR movie, that at first I thought maybe I’m wrong.

So I watched it again.

And I watched it again with my son, not telling him about the conclusions I’d already come to.

And yup, again, the fact that Riley has no soul is what is missing in the movie.

Who am I to critique a juggernaut like Pixar?

And yet…

I’m wondering if in Pixar’s quest to make a film that would appeal to the widest audience, and because of the natural reticence of Americans to discuss anything as personal as religion and faith in the public sphere, that Pixar didn’t fall short in creating a true masterpiece in Inside Out.

If only Riley could have revealed her ultimate control over her emotions and destiny…

Oh well.

It’s really really sad when something that could have been truly amazing, misses the mark.