Every time a new animated film is released there is always the hope that it will be another Up or How To Train Your Dragon. Unfortunately, more often than not, animation fails to live up to the hype. With Disney Pixar expectations are always high and after a ridiculously entertaining trailer Inside Out had the potential to go all the way.
PLOT: After her family move from Minnesota to San Francisco Riley’s emotions try to keep her spirits high. Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling) try to keep life ticking over as normal but they find it difficult to agree on how to do this. END PLOT.
My inability to write a decent synopsis for the plot aside, the concept of Inside Out is clever and created one of the most original films I’ve seen in some time. Riley’s emotions being the main characters made the film stand out as something quite unique. The individual lands inside Riley’s mind, the thought train and labyrinth of long term memories were neat ideas that played out well for the most part and it goes without saying that the animation was gorgeous.
It was great fun to see the differing personalities of the emotions react to each situation and Inside Out really came to life when they were all on screen together. However, the emotions lacked subtlety with Sadness being fat and frumpy, Joy being skinny and beautiful, Fear being overly neurotic and Disgust being bratty but they were being played to extremes so it just about worked. Just.
The themes and humour were quite adult in tone and although this suited me perfectly it meant that Bing Bong, a candyfloss elephant, was shoehorned in to appeal to the younger viewers. I appreciate that I was not the target audience for the character but from a storytelling point of view he added nothing to the film and almost took away all of my interest in it. The entire middle section moved at a snail’s pace as Joy and Sadness tried to find their way back to Headquarters with the help of Bing Bong. It made the film feel much, much longer than the 90min running time.
I. Hate. Everything. About. This. Character.
Despite the fantastic concept Inside Out fell below my expectations. I enjoyed it and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see it a second time before its run in the cinema ends but I have no love for it. It didn’t stir something in me like How To Train Your Dragon and the emotional core wasn’t in the same league as Up. Inside Out gets 6/10 – a respectable score for a Summer Season release but for Disney Pixar it is poor.