Pixar, for a long time, has invested in the theme of emotions. ‘What if toys had emotions?’ (Toy Story), ‘What if robots had emotions?’ (WALL·E) etc. But Pixar’s latest release, Inside Out goes one step further, asking ‘What if emotions had emotions?’ But did it succeed in its latest venture or will Pixar have a major flop on its hands?

Inside Out is Pixar’s 15th feature film and they set themselves a huge task dealing with the motions of the emotions. The film follows the story of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), an 11 year-old girl, who is subject to a series of life’s challenges such as moving house and school. But she is not alone in facing these as she has her own team of emotions that control her mind and thoughts. Anger, Disgust, Fear, Sadness and team leader, Joy, manage and store all of Riley’s memories, keeping her life on track. However, when Joy and Sadness get lost in the labyrinth of her mind, it’s up to the others to take over.

Although the main plot of the film is what goes on in Riley’s mind, some of the most wonderful scenes are those that briefly occur in other people’s minds. For instance Riley’s mum and dad have their own “mind HQ’s” which are based on the same 5 core emotions, but each have their own differences which are key to the character. The problem with these scenes is there aren’t enough of them; only one scene in the film and various shorts during the credits and that’s it! In the cinema, they seemed to get the biggest laughs and there were plenty of opportunities to use them.  It may be something for Pixar to use in the future with other productions, instead of a straight sequel.

‘the sass of Disgust, humour of Fear and over-excitedness of Anger all work perfectly with the strong lead characters of Sadness and Joy’

Up until now Dory was always the most optimistic Pixar creation, but it seems that leader of the mind, Joy, may have taken over the crown. Joy (as her name suggests) is the brightness of Riley’s mind and is portrayed brilliantly by Amy Poehler. Anyone who is a fan of Parks and Recreation will know that Poehler was the perfect choice for this role as her cheerfulness and hilarity is the heart and soul of this film. The second mention must go to Anger (Lewis Black), the character who pretty much says what everyone is thinking. He provides many of the laughs through his rage and displeasure at everything, and when it is his chance to be in control of Riley’s mind, he goes in guns blazing and acts as a great contrast to Joy.

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Finally, the choice of emotions used was very interesting. Before the film, I didn’t think they would work together, and that another “positive” emotion would be needed to counter the 4 “negative” emotions. However the sass of Disgust, humour of Fear and over-excitedness of Anger all work perfectly with the strong lead characters of Sadness and Joy.

There are some really subtle but clever visuals used in the film that, once you’ve noticed, make you smile. Being able to spot the little details alongside the big laughs is what makes this a perfect fit into the “fun for all the family” cliché of Pixar films. However, after the recent quality slump in Cars 2, Pixar has bought itself straight back up to top form. Hopefully the Joy inside you will love it too!

9/10

Luke Norman

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