The first day of school can be hard on anyone, especially 11-year-old Riley, who is uprooted from her home in the mid-west and shoved into the big city of San Francisco. The new animated Pixar film, Inside Out, emotionally controls children as it explores the sensitive subject of unstable emotions and family togetherness. With five personified emotions (Joy, Fear, Sadness, Anger, and Disgust) Pixar tries to reach the minds of children.
Clichés, catchphrases, and idioms make up a large portion of the communication between people. One, in particular, is the idea of a plethora of tiny voices in the heads of man, that lead many to do or think a certain way. Pixar takes that notion and travels inside the mind, giving audiences a colorful idea as to what these voices look and sound like. Riley is a young girl born with one emotional characteristic that takes control of her overall being, Joy. Joy works in the ‘headquarters’ of Riley’s conscious brain to help her travel through her life and make certain, joyful decisions. Along the way, Riley adopts other emotions (Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Disgust) that join Joy for the ride of helping Riley through what is known to be the most difficult adventure of all, her life.
With her father moving the mid-west family from their Minnesota home to the crowded city of San Francisco due to a new job opportunity, the struggles of starting over affect Riley in a way she had not anticipated. As Joy tries to make Riley’s first day of school a great one, she instructs Sadness to keep still and not to touch anything. However, longing to know what it is like to hold one of the memory orbs, Sadness inadvertently creates a new core memory for Riley. Preceding a moment in which Sadness causes Riley to break out in a stream of tears in front of her entire (and stranger filled) classroom, the new core memory becomes the catalyst for a tumultuous adventure. While Joy seeks to contain the issue and put the core memories back into their containment module, Joy and Sadness (along with all of Riley’s core memories) are then vacuumed up a memory tube and lost in the most vast parts of Riley’s mind.
Inside Out, the latest Pixar film, emotionally controlling children through an animated (and often subliminal) method, helps Pixar to explore, directly, the transitive issues of child emotion and the importance of family togetherness and support. However, critics say that the movie lacks the tools that most animation requires in order to teach youth valuable lessons.
Being that Inside Out has no antagonist for Riley to defeat, critics express their concern that Pixar’s film about children being emotionally controlled may send the wrong message to youth. That message being, everything in life will be joyful forever as long as joy is in control of ‘headquarters’. However, others say that though there is no bad guy to defeat, the film explores the reality that emotions (whether controlled or chaotic) affect one’s life and outlook. As Joy and Sadness travel Riley’s vast consciousness in an effort to get back to headquarters, Riley’s life, in the interim, controlled by Anger, Disgust, and Fear is an extreme view of what being emotionally unbalanced can look like.
Moviegoers say this is a valiant try to express to children that no one emotion is more or less important than the other. However, the deeper concept of emotional maturity, viewers say, gets lost on children who watch the film who are not able to connect because of their young age. The irony of the Pixar Film, Inside Out, about emotions that control children and adults alike, is that though the direct theme might fly over kids heads, the subliminal theme may do more harm than good.
Pete Docter, director and co-writer of the film, started development on the film in 2009. During development, Docter spoke with many psychologists to properly understand the human mind before actually making the film. A process in which garnered many unsuccessful drafts. Finally with a draft that Docter believed in, the film succeeded with rave reviews at the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival.
As the Pixar Film, Inside Out, emotionally controls children with its animated attempt to show how children (or people period) are affected by those little voices in the brain, animation fans are sure to enjoy the personified characters of the film. Voiced by stars such as Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, and political comedian, Lewis Black as Anger, adult moviegoers are sure to laugh, cry, and contemplate life. While children audiences, critics say, may just fawn over the pretty colors and fantastical world of Riley’s brain.
Opinion by Danyol Jaye
IMDb- Inside Out
NPR- Why The Key Character In ‘Inside Out’ Is The One Who Isn’t There
YouTube- Inside Out Official Trailer #2 (2015)- Disney Pixar Movie HD
Feature Photo Courtesy of Sjors van Berkel- Sjors van Berkel’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License