The Emotion Picture
RELEASED 23 November
2015 | U | blu-ray 3D/Blu-Ray/DVD
Directors Pete docter, Ronnie Del Carmen
Cast Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith,
Kaitlyn Dias, Richard Kind, Diane Lane, Lewis Black
Oh, Pixar, how we love you, even if you do break our hearts every time we watch one of your films. “I hoped that this would be emotional,” says writer/director Pete Docter in his commentary, and he nailed it – about two-thirds into Inside Out you will be crying like you did at the start of Up or the end of Toy Story 3. Pixar seem to have a GPS location for our heartstrings, and they enjoy swinging on them so hard that one day they’re sure to snap. Actually, did we say we love them? Make that hate. Bastards.
Still, it’s not all snotty hankies: Inside Out is also wildly funny, with a glorious line in wit and snark; boasts imaginative, colourful visuals, including a spectacular, flat “2D” sequence – that’s ironically more expensive than any other and contains fantastically relatable characters and a genius central idea.
It’s the story of Riley, who we follow from birth to 12 years old through the eyes of the emotions in her head: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Rage. Watching her life unfold through a control room viewscreen in her brain, Joy (Amy Poehler, essentially channelling Lesley Knope from Parks & Recreation into a cartoon) is determined to keep Riley as happy as possible, but her plans are scuppered when Sadness (Phyllis Smith) loses her “core” memories – the ones that make Riley who she is. Embarking on a mission into the depths of Riley’s brain to retrieve them, Joy and Sadness meet the kid’s almost forgotten imaginary friend, Bing Bong (Richard Kind) and struggle to get back to their control room before Riley’s life goes totally off the rails under the tutelage of Fear, Disgust and Rage.
As a metaphor for growing up, Inside Out is exquisite; we’ve all gone through it, and many of us have seen our kids go through it, too, and so there are layers of pathos here that resound on all levels, for both young and old viewers. Bubbly Joy is a sweet, hopeful hero – originally the character was called Optimism – and despite chattering away and bouncing like a puppy throughout the film, she’s not irritating at all (according to Docter, originally she was even more cheerful, until test screenings gave them feedback that she was making people’s teeth hurt).
Riley’s external world is also enjoyable, with the interplay between her family feeling real and well-observed, and some of the tiny details are great fun – such as the fact that we get to look inside Mum and Dad’s heads, too, and discover that Mum’s control room looks like a daytime talk show and Dad’s resembles NORAD HQ.
But, as always seems to be the case with Pixar, for all the film’s
As a metaphor for growing up, Inside Out is exquisite
exquisite detail and fine worldbuilding, it’s human emotions – including sadness – that make
Inside Out strike such a chord. Your chin may wobble, yes, but that’s because the writers have tapped into a basic human experience: growing up is hard to do.
Extras Two short toons provide perfect accompaniment to the main feature. The adorable “Lava” tells of two Hawaiian volcanoes in love, while “Riley’s First Date?” continues on from Inside Out with a gorgeously funny vignette that focuses on her parents.
Both DVD and Blu-ray also have a commentary hosted by writer/ directors Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen. Sounding as though it’s been meticulously planned out, it’s an interesting listen, though possibly a little too technical at times. However, that’s offset by moments that are enormous fun, such as the guys calling actor Bill Hader for a chat, or revealing concepts that didn’t make it into the film (their idea to explain why brains forget people’s names is too long to go into here, but it’s absolute genius). There are also some lovely little insights, such as the fact that the writers went to visit Hader on the set of Saturday
Night Live – not just for a jolly, but to see how a working TV studio looks so they could use it for the Dream Production section of Riley’s brain.
Buy one of the Blu-ray formats and you also get seven short featurettes on subjects such as the sound design, editing animation and “the women of Inside Out”, plus four deleted scenes and trailers. Jayne Nelson
“Lava” was inspired by the music of Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole, who is an icon in Hawaii.
“Someone get these slugs off me!”
Joy and Sadness: but which is which?