Disney/Pixar have done it again with another emotionally moving and intelligently crafted animation – that really brings to life those little voices inside your head.
This is undoubtedly the classier children’s offering – which kids below the age of six or seven will maybe find a bit too hi-brow to retain their attention throughout – to those wacky Minions this summer, but is equally entertaining family fayre on a completely different scale, that has moments that really tug at the heart strings.
Inside Out actually takes you inside the head of happy 11-year-old Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), who proves growing up is a bumpy road after she’s uprooted from her Minnesota life – where she was star of the ice hockey team – when her father (Kyle MacLachlan) starts a stressful new job in San Francisco.
Her emotions – Joy (Saturday Night Live’s Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader from the forthcoming Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black) – come in the form of physical entities, complete with control room and hi-tech contraptions, who’ve had it easy keeping the youngster in-check with a swathe of joyful memories.
But when this change of scenery – compounded by a terrible first day of school – throws Riley out-of-sync, her consciousness turns to despair, and Joy and Sadness get ejected to the far reaches of her mind, as Riley’s places of happiness literally crumble around them.
It’s then a race against time for Joy and Sadness to combine (their distinctly different) forces – with the help of Riley’s childhood ‘imaginary friend’ Bing Bong (Richard Kind) – to get back to headquarters, where Fear, Disgust and Anger are alone (badly) manning the fort, before Riley goes into complete meltdown and does something she regrets.
And this is done in such an exceptionally well-thought out and touching way – helped by the cleverly created characters led by Poehler and Smith – that you can’t help but be charmed by yet another stellar Disney/Pixar catalogue entry.
It does have a couple of lulls and minor mis-steps – which leaves it a touch shy of living up to the immense hype – and isn’t helped that arguably the funniest set-piece has already been seen in the trailer, but with so many great ideas you’d be hard pressed to deny it a place in the upper echelons of Pixar’s best.
You’re never ever going to top Toy Story (which is the best animation franchise of all-time), but Inside Out sits up their nicely with the likes of Up and WALL-E as one of their most inventive and poignant films – that all families will be able to relate to.
Parents will undoubtedly love this as much as their kids – especially if they’re a bit older too – so turn your pockets inside out to make this your family’s animation of choice this summer.
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Gavin Miller[youtube id=”WIDYqBMFzfg” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Voice Cast: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Richard Kind, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, Diane Lane, Kyle Maclachlan, Kaitlyn Dias, Frank Oz, Flea & John Ratzenberger
Running Time: 1 Hr 34 Mins
Director: Pete Docter