Pixar’s latest animated film Inside out is a classic example of taking a known idea or premise and doing something inventive and new with it. The idea of looking at the human body as if operated by sentient organisms is hardly new, there was the Beano comic series called the Numbskulls, The movie and cartoon series Osmosis Jones and others. However, while the Numbskulls were about the five senses and how they operated and Osmosis Jones took a buddy cop movie tone, Inside out is about emotions and how they affect not only us but those around us.
The movie centres on 11 year old Riley Anderson, more specifically her emotions Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. Riley’s life takes a turn when she and her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco. The stress of moving, new life and accidents takes its toll on the Anderson family. On top of that, the core memories which make Riley, well, Riley get sucked along with Joy and Sadness who have to return the memories and get to headquarters as soon as possible.
While the plot may seem a little on the childish side, the story is about the stress and changes that come hand in hand with growing up. On that front it really works. The pacing of this film is really well done and gives us enough time to not only understand these characters but also relate to them. Inside out might look like a children’s film but it has much less jokes than you would expect. In fact most of the jokes are aimed at the adults and teens who I believe are the real target for this film. The animation of this film, like most of Pixar’s line up, really capture the atmosphere in their scenes. Particularly in the third act.
Another trait this film has in common with this predecessors is its characters and how likable they are. Joy and Sadness are the main characters in a sense but the others shine brightly as well. The relationship and contrast between all the emotions is brilliant to watch unfold particular Joy and Sadness. I was a little concerned when I saw all the big names in this film. The problem with using celebrity voices in animated movies and shows is that you see the actor, not the character. Does Inside out fall into this trap? Well, yes and no. Amy Poehler and Phyllis Smith are recognisable they get away with it, the same cannot be said for Bill Hader though. However it doesn’t take you out of the flow of the film as much as I had expected.
As previously stated it didn’t have many child oriented jokes, and is a rather bittersweet film. It is also extremely relatable for adults as it is a love letter to childhood and the changes we had to face growing up. Plenty of amazing visuals, funny jokes and great characters. I would Highly recommend this film.