It's been a while since Inside Out debuted but it's never too late to watch it! As always, Pixar never fails when it comes to quality animation and storytelling. I have a few notes regarding the film:
The voice casting is amazing. Amy Poehler has done an amazing job sounding joyful. Same goes for Phyllis Smith for being sad and emo, Bill Hader for sounding sensitive and meticulous, Lewis Black for sounding as how anger would sound if it were a person, and Mindy Kaling for sounding like a picky popular girl. All the cast did a great job in telling the story and making their characters real.
Character and Environment Designs
The environment design is genius. I didn't think anyone could make the brain look so stylish, simple and yet complex. The long term memories looked like a complicated labyrinth and anyone who travels there is sure to get lost like mouse who can't follow the smell of cheese. Well, they sure did a great job building that threatening feeling when Joy and Sadness got lost- especially when Joy and Bing Bong fell in the dump. Also, their design of San Francisco made me remember Big Hero 6. Could Pixar do a Big Hero 6 and Inside Out crossover (or just a cameo appearance)? Pretty sure a lot of people would love that.
As for the character designs, Pixar pretty much nailed what emotions would look like if they were personified (Disgust is my favorite character deign- she's so fab). I'd like to comment on the little glitters that the emotions shed whenever they move. It's like they're made of fairy dust. The detailed rendering of the emotions made me feel as if I could touch them. Emotions would probably feel furry, warm, a bit rough yet somewhat soft, like a tennis ball. I can't fully explain it in words but my main point is, the rendering of the characters and the setting is so detailed that I feel like I'm part of that world.
Animation and Cinematography
With regards to animation, Pixar always gets it down to the point; smooth transitioning, perfect framing, and unique storyboarding (for certain scenes). The lighting was also perfect. My most favorite part of the lighting effects was during the resolution. As the bus Riley's on starts moving, Sadness does her job and brings her back to her senses. Sure the lighting of the bus scene is faint, dark- signifying extreme sadness; but the moment Sadness snaps her back, I noticed Riley coming back to life- the lights seemed somewhat brighter (even though it was still dark). Just when I thought I would be breaking down in tears, Sadness comes to the rescue! The lighting of that scene alone tells that something good was about to happen.
Michael Giacchino composed the film's score. Out of all the Pixar collaborations Giacchino's done, his score for Ratatouille is my favorite. As for his scoring for Inside Out, it's not as melodic as Ratatouille (well of course because Ratatouille's set in Paris), but it has personality. The scores used for emotional scenes really brought out the feelings, emotions, and thoughts in song. It's more of an expression of feelings rather than music.
It's as if Pixar released nano cameras in the air. They captured exactly how growing up can be so confusing and emotional. I didn't expect that Riley's core memories would be a hybrid of emotions in the end- which is a great thing. One of the factors that makes a great film is an unexpected ending. I knew that a Pixar movie would always have a happy ending, but I didn't expect the effect of detaching from childhood and transitioning into adolescence would result into a more advanced headquarters. Maybe that's why teen years are so complicated. Just by looking at their new headquarters I can tell that Riley will have complicated teen years.
Overall, I loved the film. Although it feels short, the duration of the film is just right. I would love to see a sequel. After watching Inside Out, one thing's for sure. I wouldn't think of my brain as just an essential body part and my emotions as a result of reacting hormones and what not. In fact, I'm now trying to figure out who leads my headquarters. Well done, Pixar! It's a little late but, congratulations to the whole team behind Inside Out!