Sunday, June 21, 2015
The heart of Inside Out is the effort of Joy and Sadness to help Riley after an accident separates them from Headquarters. Their companion is Bing Bong (Richard Kind), an imaginary friend of Riley’s who hasn’t been needed for a few years. The corners of Riley’s mind are detailed with great specificity and visual imagination. Memories are characterized as marbles, each colored with the appropriate emotions, and areas such as Dreams (a movie studio) and Abstract Thought (the characters deconstruct into abstract shapes) each have their own individual character. This is all rich territory, and the stakes have never felt higher in a Pixar film than when Anger, Fear, and Disgust take over and (with the best of intentions) try to fix Riley’s troubled life. While in theory Pixar could return to this story later in Riley’s teenage years - creating a sort of animated Richard Linklater universe - it doesn’t need to. Inside Out is both insanely ambitious and very precious, just like the young lady at its center.