Ever heard little voices inside your head? Good news! That’s not insanity, that’s just emotion.
Inside Out tells the internal journey of Riley, a young teenager dealing with a difficult move, and the emotions who live inside her brain. Is it a world of imagination or wishful thinking? Well, let’s take a look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? Riley’s emotions include a cast of talented comedians: Amy Poehler of Parks and Rec is Joy, SNL‘s Bill Hader is Fear, stand-up comedian Lewis Black plays Anger, and The Office gives us Phyllis Smith as Sadness and Mindy Kaling as Disgust. Diane Lane from Man of Steel and Kyle MacLachlan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. costar as Riley’s parents. The directors are Pixar mainstay Pete Docter, director of Monsters Inc., and Up, and animator Ronaldo Del Carmen, whose artwork has graced everything from Brave to Batman: The Animated Series.
The trailer opens with the family eating Chinese takeout, because hey, the film takes place in San Francisco, so we had to get Chinatown in here somewhere. Riley’s mom asks her about school, which leads to an exchange between parents that I can say from experience as a man who tries to communicate with women is pretty accurate. I’ve just never pictured it as carried out by an internal NORAD.
We’re introduced to Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey … sorry, got carried away there. They show us Riley’s memories, mostly happy, until Sadness gets hold of one of them and turns it blue, literally and figuratively. The emotions try to change it back, but Sadness knocks the core memories out of place, and she, Joy, and the memories all get sucked up the pipe in the ceiling. Time to take a long stick and go poking around in the Fudge Room. Anger asks if he can say that curse word now. It’s a Disney Pixar movie, so no.
Left on their own, Anger, Disgust, and Fear are left to drive Riley’s mind, which goes about as well as you’d expect. Meanwhile, Joy and Sadness start the trek back to HQ, headed through long-term memory. “Think positively!” says Joy. “Okay, I’m positive you’ll get lost in there,” says Sadness. She’s like me, an optimistic pessimist: she’s positive things will be negative.
Riley hears strange noises at night, and Fear wonders if it’s a bear. “There are no bears in San Francisco,” Disgust tells him. Unless you count the one on the state flag. Joy and Sadness head to Imagination Land and specifically to Dream Productions, where Joy meets her idol, Rainbow Unicorn from Fairy Dream Adventure Part VII. How about that? Even dreams are milking franchises these days.
A wrecking ball destroys a Disney-style castle (insert Miley Cyrus joke here), Sadness pulls an upside down Eeyore with the cloud beneath her instead of over her, and Joy tells her, “There’s always a way to turn things around!” Usually by physically grabbing it and turning it to face the other way. We get a glimpse of Riley’s happier times–and then San Francisco ruins pizza by putting broccoli on it. I know you want more healthy lunches for kids in school, but this might be the wrong approach.
Riley’s family shares a group hug, a clown scarier than the Joker shows up for a birthday, and Riley’s emotions experience a literal brain freeze. Good grief, Frozen is everywhere these days. Joy and Sadness fly away on a broomstick like twin witches, Riley falls down in hockey, and Anger literally blows his top. And the trailer ends with Joy and Sadness escaping a collapsing grey segment of Riley’s personality. I’m sure it’s thrilling in the movie, but I’m just concerned with the long-term damage that’s probably doing to Riley’s brain.
So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie? Yes, yes I do. It’s got a talented cast, gorgeous animation, and the genius brains of Pixar behind it. How can it go wrong? If I don’t see it in theaters, it’s only because I’m waiting to not be the awkward guy sitting alone in the theater surrounded by preschoolers.
A situation like that could take my emotional NORAD to DEFCON 3.
Inside Out is owned by Disney Pixar.