With a unique premise that delves into the mind, Inside Out is based in a new cinematic world, which is interesting enough to get you attracted, but lacks the depth to keep you addicted.
Intelligently crafted with powerful imagination, the film is about how the brain functions. It is about internal logic and external manifestation of emotions and their impact on memories - short term and core memories.
Primarily, the tale reveals what is going on inside Riley's (Kaitlyn Dias) mind. The plot involves her emotions; Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Anger (Lewis Black). They live in the headquarters, designed like a complex control room. They are entrusted with her well-being and memories, to make-up who she is and develop her personality.
The plot races through Riley's initial growing up years. Then, when she is 11 years old, her father takes up a job in San Francisco and the entire family is uprooted from Minnesota. Riley has a hard time adjusting in her new surroundings. Although Joy, Riley's main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the conflict of the emotions on how best to navigate a new city, house, schools and friends to develop Riley's personality, forms the crux of this story.
Though complicated, co-directors Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen along with their writers Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, have very smoothly ironed out all the complex issues, making this a simple, easy to absorb narration. The more you try to analyse the creative process, the more impressive it gets, but unfortunately the conflicts are too few to give you a high.
The film is brought to life with interesting characterisation and props, like the train of thoughts. The character graphs are well-etched within the environment. It's somewhat strange to think about characters as short-lived as emotions and imaginary friends, Bing Bong (Richard Kind) and a floppy-haired boyfriend, but they really work on two levels; the emotions themselves as exaggerated figures with distinct points of view and how they help us to get more information about Riley.
The messages are simple that hit the right notes. The narration drags at mid-point as it tells us the journey of Joy is to accept being sad. Sadness isn't necessarily an emotion to reduce, but an integral part of human life.
Humour is consistently paced and each emotion gets some good jokes. It is actually during the last act and scene, when the film plunges into the minds of Riley's parents and her dog, which makes the tone amusing and attention-grabbing.
The vocal cast is expertly chosen and all of them deliver beautifully.
This is definitely not one of Pixar's best production in terms of visuals. The animation, with 2D and 3D effects is pixelated, oft-seen and less flashy, but nevertheless effective.
This is a heart-warming funny film that may well be a bit abstract for children, but would definitely appeal to the rest.