Pixar has a new bun­dle of Joy

The full gamut of emo­tions are felt in this in­stant clas­sic

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ONSTAGE - Cer­tifi­cate U Fea­tur­ing the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyl­lis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kal­ing, Kait­lyn Dias, Diane Lane, Kyle Ma­cLach­lan, Richard Kind, John Ratzen­berger

DE­SPITE gar­gan­tuan ad­vances in med­i­cal science, we still don’t fully un­der­stand the com­plex­i­ties of the hu­man brain: its abil­ity to process vast quan­ti­ties of in­for­ma­tion, solve prob­lems and store mem­o­ries at speeds that put su­per­com­put­ers to shame.

Pixar An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios, the wizards who con­jured the Toy Story tril­ogy, con­tem­plate the va­garies of neu­ropsy­chol­ogy with this vis­ually stun­ning and emo­tion­ally rich com­edy, which un­folds pre­dom­i­nantly in­side the head of a lit­tle girl.

This high-brow con­cept doesn’t seem like the most ac­ces­si­ble sub­ject mat­ter for a fam­ily-ori­ented com­puter an­i­ma­tion.

But di­rec­tors Pete Doc­ter and Ron­aldo Del Car­men el­e­gantly tilt their film at the wind­mills of the mind and de­liver a hi­lar­i­ous, heart­felt and ul­ti­mately lifeaf­firm­ing ad­ven­ture that cel­e­brates child­hood in­no­cence, fam­ily unity and the power of the hu­man spirit to over­come ad­ver­sity.

Laugh­ter and tears abound, as well as cute vis­ual gags, en­sur­ing par­ents will be re­peat­edly dab­bing their eyes while chil­dren whoop and gur­gle with glee at the slap­stick and rol­lick­ing ac­tion se­quences.

A mother (voiced by Diane Lane) and fa­ther (Kyle Ma­cLach­lan) welcome a baby girl called Ri­ley (Kait­lyn Dias) into the world.

From the mo­ment she opens her eyes, Ri­ley’s mood is shaped by five coloured emo­tions – golden Joy (Amy Poehler), blue Sad­ness (Phyl­lis Smith), pur­ple Fear (Bill Hader), red Anger (Lewis Black) and green Dis­gust (Mindy Kal­ing) – who bicker be­hind a large con­trol desk laden with but­tons and levers.

Joy is the dom­i­nant emo­tion in head­quar­ters and she safe­guards Ri­ley’s mem­o­ries, which are stored as glow­ing orbs, tinged with the colour of the emo­tion that pre­vailed at the time.

When Ri­ley turns 11, her par­ents re­lo­cate from Min­nesota to San Fran­cisco.

Trau­matic events, such as a first day at a new school, nudge Sad­ness to the fore.

Fol­low­ing an al­ter­ca­tion, sworn ri­vals Joy and Sad­ness are ex­pelled from head­quar­ters and find them­selves stranded in the labyrinth of Ri­ley’s long-term mem­o­ries.

Aided by Ri­ley’s imag­i­nary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind), Joy and Sad­ness blaze a hap­haz­ard trail on the chug­ging train of thought back to Fear, Anger and Dis­gust, who have been left in charge of head­quar­ters, with dis­as­trous con­se­quences.

In­side Out is Pixar’s best film since the holy an­i­mated tril­ogy of WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3.

Doc­ter’s script, co-writ­ten by Meg LeFauve and Josh Coo­ley, glis­tens with imag­i­na­tion, wit and in­ven­tion, de­liv­er­ing guf­faws with de­tours into the heads of Ri­ley’s par­ents as they at­tempt to deal with her pre-teenage re­bel­lion.

Vo­cal per­for­mances are note per­fect, led by Poehler’s ex­u­ber­ant por­trayal of Joy and Smith’s sin­cere em­bod­i­ment of Sad­ness, who tugs heart­strings as the film reaches its ex­quis­ite con­clu­sion.

The film is pre­ceded by a short: a mu­si­cal love story en­ti­tled Lava be­tween two vol­ca­noes called Uku and Lele, di­rected by James Ford Mur­phy.

Joy and Sad­ness shared bliss­ful con­trol of my mind through­out.

Joy (Amy Poehler) is in a race against time in In­side Out

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