Inside Out movie full length review - A rewarding experience for the whole family.
Inside Out is a film that brings to mind Pixar's previous animated works, such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo, while also containing it's own valuable message for both younger and older viewers.
Pete Doctor, the Pixar veteran behind the brilliant Monster's Inc. and Up, takes the helm once again on Inside Out and his return is more than welcome as the film serves as one of the studio's best pieces of work since Toy Story 3 in 2010. The personification of emotions was never going to be an easy task to carry out, despite the characters already having predetermined personality traits as their names would suggest, but here, Doctor has managed to bring them to life wonderfully and made each of them engaging in their own way. The aforementioned Joy and Sadness are the film's main focus and are the perfect odd couple, which allows them to provide a great deal of humour, and a dash of heart, whenever they are on screen together. Amy Poehler is given free reign to be as exuberant and gleeful as she can possibly be here in what is an amazing performance as Joy and it sounds as if the actress has never had more fun with material in her often stellar film career. On the other hand, Phyllis Smith gives a restrained, weary performance as Sadness which is more than fitting for her character given that she is usually to blame for anything that might go wrong within Headquarters, and regularly given menial tasks to perform in order to keep her from causing Riley from feeling even the slightest bit of, well, sadness. Come the end of the film, however, Sadness is realised as being integral to Riley's well-being and helps convey the films message.
Despite the focus being upon the two polar opposite emotions, it's the supporting characters that offer the most laughs. The three remaining emotions, Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling), attempts to keep Riley out of trouble actually do the complete opposite and, unlike the mostly stable and organised Joy, they prove to be incapable of carrying out their daily tasks. Anger provides one of the films funniest lines, which showcases Pixar's ability to cater to both children and adults, as he expresses his desire to make Riley say the curse word he knows, claiming that 'It's a good one!' There's also a hysterical reoccurring joke which revolves around an advertisement jingle for a piece of chewing gum introduced by two 'Forgetters', small, cell like creatures charged with disposing of Riley's old memories, while Riley's forgotten imaginary friend, Bing Bong (Richard Kind), manages to steal many of the scenes he appears in. Part elephant, part cat, and part dolphin, Bing Bong provides one of the film's most touching moments which will lead older viewers to recall their own imaginary friends and how such basic comforts once provided so much happiness at an earlier point in their lives.
It's not just the characters themselves, however, that make the film a resounding success. The brightly coloured interiors that make up Riley's mind offer an ever-changing environment for Joy and Sadness and it's both interesting and comical to see they ways in which the film's writers have interpreted certain concepts and included them within the narrative. From Imagination Land to Dream Productions, and even the grey, lifeless Memory Dump, there is never a dull moment within the film as the audience goes on a seemingly large adventure with the characters while never leaving the confines of a young girls mind. It's further proof that the team of animators working at Pixar are masters of their craft, able to conjure up an image for any landscape they are given, no matter how inconceivable it may appear on paper.
If there is one flaw to be found, however, it's within one of the film's plot points. As mentioned above, Toy Story and Finding Nemo come to mind when viewing Inside Out as, once again, two characters which exist as polar opposites find themselves on a journey together. Joy and Sadness may be engaging characters but it would be interesting to see whether they are capable of becoming as iconic as Woody and Buzz, or even Marvin and Dory. Perhaps Inside Out is destined to be remembered (and remembered it will be) for the message it carries and it's inventive scenarios rather than it's characters. While Toy Story was about strength of friendship and Finding Nemo was about the strength of family, Inside Out is about the strength we have to find within ourselves to realise that it's OK to be sad from time to time and allow ourselves to feel joy as a result of that. The film concerns itself with the complexity of emotions, despite whittling them down to just five, and the ways in which we must learn to balance them to function as a complete human being. It's a message which is just as important as those featured in previous Pixar films because after all, how can we love and treasure those around us if we can't love and treasure ourselves?
After missing the mark a little bit with Cars 2 and Monster's University, it's great to see Pixar make a superb return to form with Inside Out which stands out amongst superhero movies and dinosaur fights as one of the best films the summer of 2015 has to offer. Make sure you stick around during the end credits to gain an insight into the minds of other characters within the film, as well as cats and dogs, which only further ensures you'll leave the cinema with a smile on your face that will last all the way home.