Pixar’s most ambitious concept doesn’t quite pay off in its latest animation Inside Out. It comes from Pete Docter, one of the minds behind Toy Story and Monsters Inc.
Pixar Inside Out

Inside Out takes us into the brain of teenager Riley, where Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Sadness operate her controls. When Riley’s family move house, Joy and Sadness get trapped in Riley’s long-term memory and her happiness plummets. The trouble with Inside Out isn’t the gap between these two parallel stories but Joy’s tedious journey through the brain as she tries to return to headquarters and is hindered by a repetitive series of obstacles.

It’s peculiar that a film about emotions should fail to evoke the same magnitude of human feeling found in previous Pixar ventures Up and WALL-E. Of course there are some wise messages here, many of which come hurtling towards audiences in the last fifteen minutes. For this reviewer, it’s too little too late.

The film’s smartest comment – that all happy memories are also sad precisely because they’re in the past – is joined by another valuable observation about the flawed pursuit of happiness. Joy’s unrelenting perkiness helps to build this message but risks annoying the film’s adult audience.

Inside Out is certainly creative, taking us through the brain’s zones of Abstract Thought, Subconscious and the Dream Department. Yet big ideas and potent messages can’t make an exceptional family film alone and there simply aren’t enough laughs here. It’s a shame: when Inside Out does deliver Pixar’s trademark humour, it’s a knock-out blow.

 

VERDICT: ★ ★ ★ 3/5

 

Certificate: U
Running time: 102 minutes
Images: © 2015 – Disney/Pixar
UK release date: 24 July 2015

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