There is no other studio that seems to have the creativity and imagination that Pixar does. What makes this creativity and imagination more incredible is that the ideas are so simple. Toys coming to life after you’ve left the room, the secret life of bugs, the actual story of the monsters in your closet and then what happens inside your head!
The idea is so simple. What if we were controlled by a Star Trek style control team who represent each of our key emotions (Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and most brilliant of all, Anger)? How would these emotions control our everyday experiences and most interesting of all, what if we lost one or two of these emotions?
That is an interesting enough concept without the bundles of different creative ideas that Pixar throw into the mix. The control room covers the ideas of memories, core emotions, personality and dreams in such an imaginative way that you could have the whole film set here. When Joy and Sadness get lost inside the rest of the mind of their human, Riley, Pixar get the opportunity to go crazy with their creativity, showing memory banks, how and why we forget things and the sad outcome of simple concepts like imaginary friends.
I could list all the different places and story points here but that would spoil the experience that is best viewed fresh. What I can say is that you will be amazed how simple, but often genius, each of the concepts such as dreams, imagination and even “Trains of Thought” are presented.
Of course, none of this would be of any substance if it wasn’t held together by a decent story. Again, this is a really simple concept. Pixar have always been very good at taking not just simple ideas and developing them but also experiences that most people will have gone through. Up dealt with loneliness, Toy Story dealt with growing-up and feeling like belonging while Inside Out effectively covers the experience of moving to a new place and losing what makes “you” you. Again, a simple idea but done so well and with such heart.
In fact, it is the emotional rollercoaster which will stay with people the most. More than any other Pixar film, this will touch everyone in some way personally and doesn’t feel like it’s forcing a very clear message. Just like the characters themselves, at some point you will feel Sadness, Joy and maybe even Disgust!
The characters are voiced perfectly. Amy Poehler is the upbeat, ever positive Joy, Richard Kind embodies Anger perfectly but it is Phyllis Smith as Sadness that takes the film. Her downbeat, worried but sweet tone fits the character of Sadness exactly and just adds to the story-arc that the individual character has, particularly towards the end of the movie.
Overall, Inside Out is Pixar at it’s best. It is creative, imaginative but ultimately so simple. The story is just an experience to throw the well-voiced characters into different, amazing environments, each more clever than the last. Add to this an emotional story which will chime with most people and you have a Pixar film that could rival even the studio’s best.
Rating – 5!
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)