Directors: Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen
Runtime: 95 minutes
Cast: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Mindy Kaling, Kaitlyn Dias, et al…
Plot (taken from IMDb): After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school.
Inside Out sees Pixar return to form with a smart, funny and touching film about what goes on inside of a little girl’s head. The high-concept idea behind Inside Out might go over small kid’s heads, but Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen executed the ideas beautifully by way of the film’s simplicity. However, the themes and situations in Inside Out do perhaps feel a tad familiar to fans of Pixar.
Pixar’s films, such as Toy Story, deal with the idea of growing up, so there is some familiar ground covered in Inside Out; to be honest though, I couldn’t care less when watching the film. Inside Out wears its emotions on its sleeves, by literally making the characters in the film emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). Whilst the film is about Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) dealing with moving homes, it focusses on Joy, and how she deals with the move.
We are shown how Riley has had her life sculpted around Joy, who, as the original emotion in Riley’s life is something of a leader for the emotions. Joy feels it is up to her to create happy memories, not really letting the other emotions get much of a say in matters – particularly Sadness. Riley’s life is built around core memories, memories deemed important for her moral and mental well-being. The drama for the film comes when Riley’s core memories start to fade away, and Joy goes on a quest to save them.
The plot thickens when Sadness wants to get more “hands on” with Riley’s life, which is not appreciated by Joy, who needs to learn that Riley needs all of her emotions to be stable, not just happiness. The film builds up to this realisation, but for anyone over the age of seven, you can probably see it coming from miles away. As I said, Inside Out does cover some familiar ground, but it does so in a smarter way.
Inside Out feels similar in style to Monsters Inc. and even Disney’s Wreck it Ralph, and for me, this is very much a compliment. Whilst it is not Pixar’s funniest, it is arguably their smartest and most thought-provoking. The idea that one’s actions and memories are given by emotions living inside of your head is very interesting, and there are many moments in the film that play with these ideas, be that funny, or a little tear-jerking. There is more to Inside Out than emotions, as we are shown a whole industry of the mind, and it is as clever as the rest of the film.
Of course, as with every Pixar film, Inside Out has stellar animation, some of the best I have ever seen. To go along with the animation is a pleasant soundtrack and quality voice-acting from the entire cast – again, as to be expected from a Pixar production. Indeed, Inside Out is a Pixar film through and through, which is definitely part of the reason its themes feel familiar despite different execution.
Inside Out is an intricately designed movie that only really has one fault – its length. Indeed, at 95 minutes long, it feels too short. I would’ve loved to have seen a longer version of this film, as its idea is so smart that I feel at 95 minutes, not everything was covered in enough detail. There is a lot of potential for the idea behind Inside Out, potential, I feel, that needed an extra fifteen minutes or so to be more fully realised. I loved the film, and I didn’t want it to end. I’m not calling for a sequel or anything, but an extended edition would certainly be nice as I just want to see more done with the concept.
Despite covering some familiar ground, Inside Out is a quality movie. With it, we find Pixar back at their best, with a high-concept film that works on almost every level. I would’ve liked the film to be a bit longer, but what we’ve got is smart, funny, moving and just generally very, very good. Pixar know how to make a film for everyone to enjoy.
Very smart, very funny and touching, everything you’d want from a Pixar movie.