Inside Out: The life of Riley

Disney Pixar’s latest is just wonderful and Inside Out is perhaps its richest film since Up! It packs a similar emotional punch with a feeling of elements of Wreck It Ralph and really does make you think…a lot.

It’s a particularly deep and thought-provoking film, period, never mind for animation. It’s hard to not think about your emotional actions in an entirely different way post viewing. It really does strike a massive emotional chord, whether you are watching it as an adult or a child. But at the same time it is seriously joyous, funny and thrilling at the same time and boasts some excellent set pieces that really ramp up the tension.

And at some points it’s really difficult to figure how things are going to play out for the characters, constantly pulling the rug out from underneath you.

rileys-emotions-inside-outInitially the concept seemed a little The Numbskulls, as we inside the mind of 11-year-old girl Riley, but this is quickly transcended to deliver an animated film at its peak with some really deep and meaningful ideas about memories, what makes us us and what makes us tick.

It’s very much a film about the difficulties of growing up and is as powerful a coming of age drama as the likes of the Oscar-winning Boyhood. And this must be a dead cert to take home the Animated Feature statuette next year.

The characters inside the head of 11-year-old Riley, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust, pretty much describes that emotional roller coaster that the viewer goes through and at the same time we get emotional and story echoes of the likes of Monsters Inc, Wreck It Ralph, Toy Story 3 and Up! These are films that we just don’t watch and enjoy, they teach us key life lessons.

It’s little wonder then that the film’s main director is Pete Docter, who also helmed the first Monsters film and Up! But this is no carbon copy of the aforementioned.

Inside-Out-RileyYou’ll also be sure to have a little something in your eye over a certain part elephant, part candyfloss character and the lighting and emotion in the ‘real world’ scenes, especially the journey to the bus depot in drab San Francisco, also packs a powerful Pixar punch.

Riley’s world (head) is in contrast all about colour and has some amazing concepts and look wonderful and work wonderfully, part Wreck It Ralph, part Metropolis via way of Tron Legacy. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about wanting an ‘Art of’ book so much, although having read reviews they lack commentary which is a crying shame and much missed opportunity.

All of it deftly underlined by a touching and exhilarating Michael Giacchino score that really fittingly plays the emotions in our head.

The four-year old (nearly five) I watched it with really rolled with the gamut of emotions and afterwards was talking about the characters of emotions of joy, anger and sadness and how ‘the people in her head’ were with such things.

It ensuring that this film will resonate with parents and children, and even those who are not, long after the credits have rolled. We’ve just recently moved house and after the summer our daughter, Isabelle, is moving schools, so it was difficult to not think Riley as Isabelle at times.

Perhaps it is unsurprising then that according to IMDB psychologists and other experts were consulted so the writers could make the way Riley’s mind works scientifically accurate. For example, it is believed that short-term memories made during the day are converted into long-term memories during sleep, which is what happens in Riley’s mind.

This is something seriously special and even as it unfolds you know you are watching yet another bonafide classic. Dreamworks can’t even begin to touch this output.

A special mention must also go to the  sublime Lava, that precedes Inside Out, about a singing volcano that provides a pyroclastic flow of emotions and does for volcanoes what Blue Umbrella did for brollies.


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