Inside Out's one of the greatest Pixar movies to hit screens in a while. It's funny, moving, complex. The animation's great too, as are the CGI worlds and hi- jinks. All in all, Inside Out's not really a children's animated film - it's an epic, funny, dramatic adventure like Jurassic World or Avatar. Except it's set entirely in a little girl's head, and it features multi-colored cartoon people instead of humans. Oh, and maybe even a visual touch of Indiana Jones or fantasy games like Super Mario - because essentially the movie is a quest into the magical and unknown.
Inside Out takes place in the head of Riley, a 14-year old girl moving from New York to San Francisco. She doesn't like it, and her emotions get hairy. Actually - her emotions are the ones running the ship - surprise - and they're the main characters, not her. Yes, Riley's mind is a living, breathing place - a cloud candy heaven that looks very similar to places from Spyro the Dragon, Mario Kart, or Bioshock. The main emotions are Joy, Sadness, and they live in a tower called Mission Control: a window looking into the real world and also over the expanse of the Mind World.
You don't want to know too much about the film going in, because the structure is a treat. Riley's mind has a complex geography, like Middle Earth. Fans of video games will love this world-building element - some locations are shown right at the beginning, while others are discovered much later at surprising times. Everywhere is the Mind World is also a reflection of something in the Real World, no matter how abstract, which means the locations are constantly changing. Even tiny moments in Riley's life can have a huge effect on the dream landscape. And as her Dad and Mum find out, there's a lot of those tiny moments once they move to San Francisco, even though Riley's emotions are young and growing.
The emotions looks like smaller creatures from Monsters Inc., and they're lovable. Joy, the main character, is the mastermind of all Riley's actions, and guides the others. As voiced by Amy Poehler, she's a fast-talking witty Tinkerbell-esque character. Sadness is great too, a blue bumbling dork that somehow ruins everything she touches, voiced by Phyllis Smith. Lewis Black is a laugh riot as Anger, and probably the funniest part of Inside Out. Disgust and Fear are voiced by Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader, but they're not as clearly defined or important as the other characters. Mostly, Inside Out is Joy and Sadness' show, with other players there mainly for support. Outside of the emotions, Riley, Riley's family, and her friends - there's also some other fascinating characters in Riley's mind, most of who Joy and Sadness meet later once they venture outside Central Command.
Every single line, scene, and action has a double meaning in Inside Out. It's literally a film that plays to every age, a family film and not a kid's one. With its gorgeous animation, we're glad that Inside Out's become a break-out summer hit.