The animation giant Pixar has never failed to awe us with their creative wonders on the big screen. Although there has been an exception to this (CARS 2), the latest release INSIDE OUT promises to bring back that old school magic that Pixar is known for.
Starting off, the film tracks the life of Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father takes up a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in 'Head-quarters', the control centre inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley's main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, all five emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school. Will this mixture of emotions in a kid's film be able to entice the audiences is what we analyze.
The last release from Pixar was two years ago (in 2013), in the form of MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (MU). However, unlike the usual fanfare and expectations that come along with Pixar films, MU had proved to be a letdown. Now after a two year hiatus, Pixar returns with INSIDE OUT that has been positioned as kids' film. Entering the film, we were geared to watch yet another kids' flick that might leave us with a warm feeling or might just turn out to be another flick not worth remembering. However, what we witnessed was the return of the giant Pixar to its former glory. Right from the start the focus of the film is on capturing the viewers' attention, with the human psychology and emotions coming to life in a rather chaotic yet appealing setting within the protagonist's mind. A point worth mentioning here is the immense attention and detail that the development team and animators have done to develop a flawless and fluid motion to the animation. In fact, the animation is so well combined with the story that they add an incredible depth and complexity to the amusing spectacle.
With INSIDE OUT, the makers manage to paint an excellent juxtaposition between the mundane human world and the complexity of the human mind. On the outside, the film presents a very drab setting to Riley's San Francisco life, an uncharacteristic setting of the normally captivating Pixar. The mind, however, is a vibrant world that is an excellent blend of organic, mechanical, industrial and fantasy all while maintaining the core of neurology? Though the makers seldom focus on the individuals, except for just glances, each character has been developed to add depth not just to the film but to each of the emotions.
INSIDE OUT is surprisingly engrossing. In fact, director Pete Docter combines his directorial skills and his story telling experience from working on earlier releases like TOY STORY, MONSTERS INC, WALL-E and UP to develop a fantastically imaginative, original, well written, and perfectly designed film along with co-director Ronalo Del Carment. While the two need to be applauded for coming up with such a brilliant concept as writers, the screenplay by Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley along with Pete is worth a mention.
However, none of this would have been complete without actors who added their own touch to these emotions with their voices. Amy Poehler (Joy), Bill Hader (Fear), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Lewis Black (Anger), Mindy Kaling (Disgust) have done a great job in dubbing for the lead characters.
On the whole, INSIDE OUT is truly one of Pixar's best works which appeals not only to the kids but even grown-ups, helping you understand your 'emotions' better. It is definitely a must-watch this weekend.