From the creator of Monsters Inc. and Up, has Pete Doctor managed to do it again with Inside Out? Pixar, now under Disney has finally brought out a new animation that isn’t a sequel or a prequel, and have instead taken us into the mind of a young, adolescent girl as her family move to a new home. 

Inside Out film poster promotional marshmellow

The film opens up by introducing us to the concept of how our mind works. “Headquarters” is where our conscious thoughts are processed, controlled by a mix of 5 emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. First thing I thought was that, wow, there are  a lot of negative feelings. However that doesn’t play true at all, and each personification of an emotion is an interesting and fun character.

After the characters are introduced, we get details on how the mind works. Everything that we experience comes through as a memory orb, which gets sent away to storage. Core memories a shiny and special, creating islands in out mind which ultimately go onto help shape ourselves as people.

Inside Out has managed to explain a lot of complicated head things into very simple to understand ways. I was dubious at first as to whether it was really a show for children, but the bright colours which are associated each emotion/character made it easy to recognise and also adore each character.

Building on those fundamentals the film continues to humorously show us how our emotions can affect our actions, how our actions and their consequences then go onto to affect our emotions, and that repeating cycle. It’s really, a very, very educational film. The internal struggle between emotions, sometimes arguing amongst each other and taking over to unwanted outcomes, project everyone’s inner turmoil over simple decisions and reactions we make.

I found that even when Riley, our main character, made mistakes, we understood why. We understood how when one emotion is in charge, we react in one way, and when another takes over we react differently. Simply put, I really loved the concept and execution of the characters of Inside Out.

The story progresses, when Joy the leader of Riley’s emotions, and Sadness lose some memories whilst in a fight about Sadness’s influence on Riley’s memories, and the two of them are ejected outside of Headquarters and ends up in the rest of Riley’s head. The two have to make their way back to base with the important core memories.

We see more of the inner workings of Riley’s head, such as the “long term memory” storage system, which come with workers who suck away unneeded memories to be forgotten, who also play tricks such as making you remember something silly like a TV jingle. We meet Bing Bong who is Riley’s imaginary friend, and causer of many tears later on in the film.

There are lots adult humour sneaked into the script, as is with all pixar films, as well as more obvious jokes for children. The film manages to make adults feel like children again, and children to understand a little more about themselves.

The ending is climatic, both for Joy and Sadness’s adventures at getting home, and Riley who is unable to feel happy or sad at the circumstances happening around her. I would say Pixar has managed to do it again, and created a movie that’ll become a classic in their repertoire. I liked it more than Up (although my friends find it blasphemous that I didn’t truly enjoy up that much) but I didn’t love it as much as I love Monster’s Inc.