Pixar has managed to stay pretty with the quality of their films. Each one seems to be better and more creative than the next. Their latest, Inside Out looked like it could be yet another fun little adventure, but the trailers never really fully knocked it out of the park. Could this peek inside the emotions of the human mind deliver yet more animated perfection or will it leave you with mixed emotions?
Inside Out follows young Riley who is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, causing her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – to conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school. As with all of their films this one sports yet another great voice cast including Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Billk Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Khaling, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, John Ratzenberger, Flea, and Rashida Jones. From the moment this film kicks off you can tell you are in for something special. Taking this concept with nothing to really base it off of other than actual emotions is a big challenge, but you quickly buy right into each every character. Each of them not only bring their respective emotion to life but they do it in a way that manages to give each of them perfect personalities as individual characters. While the emotions are the primary focus of the film they made sure to make the human characters a significant driving force so that you can see the effects of what the emotions are causing by their actions. All of the voice cast do a great job as expected, but they bring so much to each character that you forget who the actual actors are and just enjoy the characters. This is a rare occurrence because as enjoyable as these films are you often can instantly hear the voices and become more focused on that it’s your favorite actor doing it instead of just the character, but here it merges flawlessly. While everyone is great it is really the chemistry between Poehler and Smith that is the heart of the film. They are both great, but Phyllis Smith steals the show as the Eeyore of the story and despite being Sadness brings some of the funniest moments and most heart in the end.
It’s no surprise that the animation side of it is amazingly vibrant and beautiful as ever. They have crafted a simplistic yet complex world in the young girls mind for this adventure to take place that is so full of imagination and life you can’t help but get sucked right in. Bringing emotions to life has to be hard as there is nothing to base it on, but the simplistic nature of using shapes made them each unique and stand out more than you would have thought. The distinct difference between the real world and inside her mind is polar opposite in a perfect way and helps to drive the story so much better. The clever use of bringing things to life like the train of thought, imaginary friends and long term memory makes you fully buy into the fact that you are inside her mind and understand the struggles of what is happening. Seeing her affected emotions in the real world based on what they are doing was expected, but using real world situations and actual mood swings we have all seen or had made it feel more real than you would expect from an animated film. The resolution to numerous aspects of the story takes you into a place we have all been on some level and in turn makes for the perfect wrap up to it all.
Outside of the main story there are some clever directions with other emotions including the end credits that offers up some of the most clever takes on the subject matter that will no doubt have people not only laughing but also relating all the more. In addition to this beautifully heartwarming film they have the Pixar short Lava that is yet another example of simplistic brilliance that tells so much story through visuals in a small amount of time it is amazing. This film is yet another example of why Pixar is the best at what they do and have once again delivered a film that is a must see by all ages.