Danger! Sadness ahead by Richard Jones

A look at Inside Out (PG)

inRILEY is an 11-year-old girl right on the edge of her teenage years. Her memories are depicted by the brilliant Pixar creators and animators as balls which roll along bowling-alley paths and are stored in a special vault. Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) has to protect these special memories so Sadness, a squat blue being with blue hair (Phyllis Smith), must be kept at a fair distance.

Sadness casts a black pall over just about everything so Riley’s best mate Joy (Amy Poehler) does her best to keep her far away. But Joy has a group of other Riley feelings which also have to be monitored closely. There’s little, red-faced Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust a sort of green-haired princess (Mindy Kaling) and weedy and neurotic Fear (Bill Hader). Riley’s got these pretty much under control – with Joy’s assistance – but when real-life Dad (Kyle MacLachlan) moves the family from rural Minnesota to big city San Francisco Sadness takes over the controls.

The family lives in a dingy street and their house isn’t great. The removal firm is very slow at transshipping the family’s household effects so Riley is forced to sleep on the floor on a camping bed. Not even Riley’s Mum (Diane Lane) can help her daughter as Sadness reigns. Riley’s real love outside her family is ice hockey. In Minnesota there were plenty of outlets for her favourite sport.

But in San Francisco it’s not quite so easy. Joy has a tough time monitoring Riley’s feelings, and her dreams, in order to keep the pre-pubescent girl on top of events not only in her home life, but also at school and in her after-school ice hockey sessions. When imaginary friend, pink elephant Bing Bong, enters the fray as Joy and Sadness battle hard to regain control of central command, Riley’s entire memory vault comes under threat.

Bing Bong tries to assist but his skills aren’t all that great and his comprehension of signs, particularly ones headed ‘Danger’, are very minimal. This Pixar film is a real winner for school aged children – many of them who have just completed mid-winter holidays – but also for early teens, too.

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