Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out (2015 film) poster.jpg
Forward Emotion

Director: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Kaitlyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, Richard Kind

Once upon a time, Pixar were regarded as the studio to beat when it came to animated films. Their juggernaut status began with a simple tale of toys who came to life, and was further solidified with heartfelt stories of monsters, rats and robots. But while prominent rivals have arisen, a combination of disappointing films and unnecessary continuations have diminished their status. Thankfully, the first of the companies 2015 releases shows Pixar may be back on form.

Riley is a young girl whose life suddenly changes, when her family moves from their Midwestern town to San Francisco. As her emotions - Joy (Poehler), Sadness (Smith), Anger (Black), Disgust (Kaling) and Fear (Hader) - help her try to adjust to her new life, turmoil ensues as Joy and Sadness are separated from headquarters, and must make the journey back.

Joy is the prominent emotion, being a bit of a perfectionist. Ultimately, she just wants Riley to be happy and have a life full of wonderful memories. Unfortunately, she leaves Sadness with little to do but read manuals, as she ends up feeling useless and living up to her namesake. These two opposites are fantastic to watch together, as Joy's upbeat attitude humorously clashes with Sadness' gloomy persona. It's a duo that deserves to be remembered in the same way duos like Woody & Buzz, and Mike & Sully are remembered.

While Joy and Sadness are trying to fix the aforementioned turmoil, it's up to Anger, Disgust and Fear to take control of Rileys emotions. But as expected, it's not healthy for a person to use only these three emotions. While these emotions may not get as much development as Joy and Sadness, their willingness to try and help Riley makes them endearing to watch, even when they make the wrong decisions. If Joy and Sadness are this films Woody & Buzz, then these three are equivalent to Rex, Mr Potato Head & Hamm.

Just six more Dragonballs...

It's also worth a mention how perfectly cast everyone is. Amy Poehler is a standout, in a role which may as well have been written just for her. It brings to mind her best work of Parks and Recreation's own Leslie Knope, right down to the amount of binders she has.  Special mention to Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane, who do brilliantly trying to adjust to this new life, while dealing with their emotional daughter who's perfectly performed by Kaitlyn Dias.

While people often see the use of the Joy emotion, the others are seen more as hindrances in everyday life. What's wisely done is showing how no emotion is really useless, and each one has a different usefulness to them. It's a wise move on the films part, and goes well with the amount of imagination to show a vastly creative and well written world. A lot has gone into fleshing out the world inside Rileys head. Her dreams are created within a film studio, while a clean-up crew regularly disposes of memories considered inessential, such as phone numbers and most of Riley's piano lessons. It's witty touches like those which make things a joy to watch.

It's clear there's no shortage of laughs, as this proves to be Pixars funniest picture in recent years. We're treated to fantastic sight gags and jokes, and don't be surprised if you hear people quoting Anger's lines, particularly one involving pizza. But it boasts another title, as it manages to become Pixar's most emotional film since Toy Story 3. What's surprising isn't how the film contains a great deal of emotion, considering that's what the bulk of main characters are, but how effectively it hits you.

At this point, Pixar could easily churn out a soulless picture lacking in any good qualities from their past work, and still watch the money add up. Instead, Inside Out comes packed with imagination, humour, likeable characters, laughs and, well, emotion. Pixar has returned to their creative highs, delivering one of 2015s best films. It'll stay in your mind for longer than a jingle from a Chewing Gum advert.