Set in the mind of a young girl, Riley, the story stars five personified emotions that control her behaviour in everyday life. These characters are Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. All of which have loveable and humorous mannerisms that we can all recognise in ourselves and this was a very important theme that was featured throughout the film. The characters are set with tackling one of the toughest challenges a child can face; moving home. It is up to them to keep Riley content and stable or all could be lost within her mind. Throughout the film they have to guide her through loss of friendship and the toughness that is growing up in order to maintain mental stability. As an audience, we are taken on a long and flamboyant adventure through the mind of Riley; not unlike the journey that we are taken on in Alice in Wonderland (1951).
The narrative as whole surprised me in many ways; good and bad. For instance, I didn’t expect a film which is situated in a human mind to progress into such a thrilling adventure. In hind-sight this was rather narrow-minded, as what else can you expect from a Disney Pixar production? The story, however, did lack a clear antagonist, which is unusual for any film; let alone a film that relied so heavily on traditional Disney values. On the other hand, it could be argued that both the antagonist and protagonist were Riley herself and it was up to these five personifications to determine which is the right path to take. This produced a very interesting twist on one of Disney’s main values; doing the right thing. Much like any other Disney film, Inside Out was built on the foundations of Disney’s values and met the expectations of audiences alike. To younger members of the audience, particularly, the film conveyed a message about the human inability to understand every emotion in which we experience. Directly sympathising with the complication that is understanding our own human emotions. As well as giving younger audiences a greater understanding of right and wrong through innovative and imaginative techniques, it also offered a lot to the adult members of the audience.
Firstly, the humour. As expected the film featured a vast amount of humour that is directly aimed at adults but Disney chose to present this to us in a very different format this time around. They chose to focus on things that audiences could relate to by exploiting our past experiences. For the female audience, the producers recognised the daily struggle that is communicating to men whilst some male audience members may relate to the mind of the frustrated blue-collar everyman. These feelings of frustration with one another is presented through alternate personifications of the main emotions we meet inside the mind of Riley. These personifications portrayed different dominant emotions in other characters that explained why people behave in different ways. For example, Riley’s main emotion was Joy, whereas her mothers was Fear. These relatable social stereotypes portrayed a symbolism which was drawn from past experiences and is something that only adults might appreciate. These varied from important family values and issues that we can all recognise, such as arguments between family members right down to the colour choices of scenery and characters which quite literally presented the emotions of characters.
Disney Pixar have once again created a beautiful masterpiece. Now I’m not one of these overly obsessive people that can’t flaw anything that Disney produces, because believe me; I can. *Cough* Frozen *Cough*. But this film really did it for me. It presented us with some beautiful CGI and breathtaking cinematography as well as some real tear-jerking moments. The way in which the functioning human brain was portrayed was both original and accurate…sort of. I’m not saying that we all have colourful minions running around in our heads but the memory, imagination and mannerisms that create our personality are all presented in a way that even children might understand. I was personally very impressed with how Disney and Pixar created such an image. The delivery of how the human brain functions and in particular how we deal with emotions is as accurate as it is imaginative. It’s as if I’m never going to get angry or nervous again without imagining a little being going berserk inside my brain.
Each problem addressed in the film is something that we have all experienced at least once and this produces a nostalgic atmosphere amongst audience members of varying ages. Dream sequences in particular were something I found both humorous and relatable. Common nightmare cliché’s were addressed, such as losing teeth or being naked in public. These techniques used to present complex emotions is so original that it caused the narrative to be completely unpredictable; resulting in many tense and exhilarating situations. Despite this, I found that the film did drag a little bit. It’s running time was a 142 minutes which is only just above average for an animation feature but the storyline, as imaginative and original as it was, did become a little repetitive at times. However, Inside Out managed to stay fresh by visiting areas of the brain such as Imagination Land and The Sub Conscious which were brilliantly funny. Through the use of these, the film was again able to engage with its audience but in an entirely new way. Once more, relying on relatability, it focused on common childhood fears such as clowns, the basement and the dark. By visiting the worlds of imagination, dreams and subconscious the film was able to provide new twists and turns that made me feel like I couldn’t look away. This was just one of many ways that the film provides nostalgia for older audiences, allowing them to feel like a child again. For the younger audience, these fears are all too real and instead provide a solution to them by tackling the fears with a positive attitude.
Starring Amy Poehler as Joy, Phyllis Smith as Sadness and Bill Hader as Fear. Inside Out provides a fun adventure for the whole family with some interesting twists and turns along the way. Turning children into adults and adults into children. You’d be a fool to miss this one.