The Emo­tion Pic­ture

SFX - - Reviews -

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?

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