"Pleasingly, all of the above works. Not only do Pixar pull it off, but they do it with style"

While the concept for Pete Doctor’s Inside Out has always had huge potential with its originality and audacious ambition, there was the possibility of it being a disaster. But when you recall the talent working at the studio, as well as their string of hits dating back to 1995’s Toy Story, the task doesn’t seem as daunting.

Based on Riley, a normal young girl who’s uprooted and moved across the country to start a strange, new life, the premise of the film is based around the emotions she experiences during this time. They, in turn, take on characters of their own, defining her key, variable emotional states that include Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).

The real challenge here is to mirror what’s happening in Riley’s life with the inner turmoil going on in her mind. Essentially her thoughts and feelings comprise of an entire, fully-functioning, self-sufficient world that the five core emotions control from a secure headquarters. Docter and the team brilliantly devise different areas of this world (and indeed human psyche) such as Imagination Land and a simple yet effective way of storing and making new memories.

Pleasingly, all of the above works. Not only do Pixar pull it off, but they do it with style. The story’s largely set around Riley’s change of scenery, but it’s also about her hitting puberty, which is cleverly dealt with in the movie. It plays out with such fluidity and grace that, in hindsight, makes creating such a complex story look rather easy. But it isn’t, Pixar just make it look effortless.

Speaking of looks, Inside Out is, as you’d expect, is visually gorgeous. Following in the mouth-wateringly good footsteps of Finding Nemo, WALL-E and Up, this looks every bit as impressive, with the bonus of mixing some lovely segments in a ‘Pixar reality’, with the ‘anything goes’ realm of fantasy when we’re in Riley’s mind – a great example of this is a wonderfully funny scene where 3D, 2D and abstract animation come into play.

Throughout Inside Out we are gifted with a sharp, witty screenplay that has plenty of bite, but is arguably Pixar’s most creative and emotionally dexterous work to date. You thought Toy Story 3 made you cry uncontrollably? Well this has the same effect, only for reasons that will resonate with audiences far more, specifically adults (and parents), rather than the adolescents.

Regardless of Pixar setting out to produce a family-friendly animated film, the subtext and intricacies of the script will be picked up on by the grown-ups, with a lot of what’s going on evading the conscious minds of kids. That said, it’s by no means alienating to the litteuns – you’ve got a top quality Pixar movie that, as famed by association, caters for all ages, young and old, but feel this effort in particular is a real treat for the adults.

Funny, sweet, tearful and often poignant; Inside Out is not only Pixar’s most ambitious title to date, but instantly shoots to the top tier of their filmography. It’s hard to imagine anyone at the studio being able to top this for sheer ingenuity and execution, but it’s also difficult to rule anything out where Pixar are concerned.