Pixar delivers again with Inside Out, the story of a young girl named Riley who goes a little crazy when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. We’re treated to the inner workings of her mind, where Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith) and Joy (Amy Poehler) run the command console that controls Riley’s emotions.
It’s typically Joy’s responsibility to keep everyone in line with her near-overbearing but ultimately endearing positivity, similar to Poehler’s Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope. But when she and Sadness become lost and stranded in Riley’s cavernous hall of long term memories just at the time her world is literally crashing around her, leaving Fear, Disgust and Anger in charge, things obviously take a turn for the worst.
Both conceptually and visually this is a feast for the eyes, especially in 3D. All the various facets of Riley’s mind, including imagination land and dream production, are realized brilliantly. We’re also introduced to a breakout character in the form of Bing Bong, Riley’s former imaginary friend, an elephant made of cotton candy perfectly voiced by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Richard Kind. Expect to see various merchandise of this guy for sale in Disney’s Stores and Theme Parks for decades to come.
Casting is great across the board, including the aforementioned Poehler deftly carrying the film as main character Joy, and we especially enjoyed Lewis Black as Anger. Little Easter Eggs like how the headlines of his newspaper are always related to events in Riley’s life amused us as well, and I’m sure similar “blink and you’l miss it” touches, a Pixar staple, will become apparent upon subsequent viewings.
Inside Out is definitely a can’t miss proposition for animation enthusiasts of all ages, another jewel in Pixar’s near unbeatable crown.
After our preview screening here in Philly at The Rave in University City, there was an illuminating Q and A session with Pixar royalty, Producer Jonas Rivera and Director Pete Docter. The two veteran filmmakers talked about casting, deleted scenes and concepts, how long it takes to make one of these instant classics and what it’s like to go to work everyday at the world’s most famous and beloved animation studio. They were patient and kind with the many young children in the audience and very generous with their insight to several animation students in attendance. It was an honor to meet them.
Inside Out opens June 19th.