Well, Pixar wondered the same thing – and decided to make a movie about it. Following in the footsteps of critically acclaimed successes such as “Up”, “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story”, you’d think it would be hard to recreate such success….? Apparently not.
Once again, the creative minds behind this animation giant have outdone themselves with a wonderful, hilarious and incredibly imaginative personification of the emotions that live inside our heads!
Meet Joy: a blue haired, yellow dressed bundle of spunk and positivity that is responsible for all those happy emotions.
There’s Anger: appropriately, a red, stout character that blows fire from the top of his head when he gets mad!
Don’t forget Fear: a wiry, jumpy guy of light purple that has paranoia and fright written all over his face!
And we’ve got Disgust: a green gal that loves to roll her eyes and pronounce her repulsion of anything yucky, icky or stinky
And last of all, Sadness: a small blue gal whose sad little eyes and slumped shoulders show she’s had better days.
All of these emotions live inside of 11 year old Riley’s head, or “Headquarters” where the emotions control, via a large star-trek like computer, all of Riley’s feelings and reactions in life. Through these experiences, memories are formed – ingeniously represented as small colored marbles called “memory orbs”, each colored in correspondence to the emotion that is associated with it (for example, a joyful memory would be yellow, like Joy).
Riley also has “core memories” which are the main events in her life that form her personality and main values in life. These personality traits are inventively represented in the movie as Islands that are extensions of the headquarters! There’s Family Island, Hockey Island, Goofball Island, Friendship Island, and Honesty Island. Whenever an aspect of Riley’s personality comes to life, that Island, too, comes to life.
Unfortunately, things start to go awry when Riley’s parents uproot her from her home of Minnesota to move to San Francisco. Suddenly, Riley is not feeling as much happiness as she used to, and Joy is scrambling to correct things by prompting Riley to remember some good core memories. Sadness wants to help, but instead, she ends up damaging the core memories by touching them and turning them blue. A kafuffle ensues, and Joy and Sadness end up knocking the core memories out of their storage, resulting in all the memoires, as well as Joy and Sadness, being sucked up a memory tube and end up in the far away reaches of Riley’s mind.
Thus a journey ensues to return to Headquarters to restore Riley’s joy and her core memories. Along the way Pixar doesn’t fail to disappoint with amazing renditions of her dreams, her train of thought (yes – it’s an actual train!) and even her subconscious mind, a deep, dark cavernous space where all her deepest fears reside!
Overall, the stunning animation, bright characters and warmth of the story will appeal to all ages. However, it’s the underlying message that really got me while I was laughing along to this movie: to experience Joy, you must also experience sadness in life. All our emotions work together to shape who we are. My four year old daughter loved this movie, but really, it was me that walked away with an overwhelming sense of the warm and fuzzies. So much so that I would have walked right back in and watched it all over again.
Move over, “Frozen”….there’s a new kid in town. I predict “Inside Out” will go down in history as one of Pixar’s best movies ever.
Melissa Collins is a coffee loving, lipgloss collecting, mommy blogging mother of 2 little ladies. When she's not busy cleaning up Cheerios and writing about the honest humor in parenting, she can most likely be found curled up in her hammock with a good book. Check out her adventures at www.mellysmommymanual.com