Riley is an 11-year-old girl who loves her friends, family, and hockey. A lot of Riley’s personality comes from the little people inside her head. Not only are they her thoughts but they are also her emotions. Her main emotions consist of Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger, and Fear. When she is forced to leave her Minnesota town to San Francisco with her parents, her emotions are at a loss of how to deal with this change. When Joy and Sadness are swept away, along with Riley’s key memories, she finds herself plummeting into a new person, losing any positive emotions from her life. Now it’s up to Joy and Sadness to return her memories and bring back Riley’s personality and emotions.
The latest film from Pixar is one that takes their storytelling to a whole new level. The idea may be similar to Osmosis Jones, but Inside Out captures what Jones failed to, and that is to perfectly execute a solid story/idea and make it for kids to understand and older viewers to take in. The concept itself is excellent. They use so many different emotions and memories in our minds and use them in a way that actually makes a lot of sense and how they are all connected. Like other Pixar films it features great humor and a lot of heart. This one however takes it to a more higher level because of its concept and really tries to get into the human mind and heart that gives us such a strong connection to past Pixar and Disney films. The animation is also very solid (go figure right?), at first I didn’t want to see it in 3D, but being forced to, the 3D went really well with the animation. Granted, it didn’t really add anything to the actual experience, but the fact that it blended well together was enough to give it credit. We are also given some very strong and perfectly developed characters in Riley and her Emotions. Each of Riley’s emotions get their chance to shine and make each of them very likable. My personal favorite was Sadness, voiced by Phyllis Smith because she is such a debbie-downer character and Smith has the perfect voice talent and timing for the character. The rest of the cast did an excellent job as well voicing their characters and bringing them to life. I will admit though that while it did have a lot of heart, it felt like it was trying way too hard to bring out the tears in certain scenes. In some ways I think they because of the many people that were touched by Toy Story 3 had their share of tears from that one and Pixar is really trying to milk the audience because of that. It’s fine to have heartfelt/teary moments, but it’s better when it feels natural and not obvious and it has to hit us on a personal level. It may bring some people to tears in certain spots, but I felt that there wasn’t much to relate to as far as the emotional moments of the film unlike Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo, UP etc.
All of this aside, Inside Out is easily one of my top favorites of Pixar due to the great concept, lovable characters, great talent voicing the characters, and of course the good heartedness of it all.
On a side note, I unfortunately have to say that the short film Lava that plays before the film is Pixar’s worst. It doesn’t have the charm that the others have and it had me rolling my eyes and wanting it to hurry up and be over.
My Rating: 4.5/5