The DONALD Rankings Top 20: #18 Inside Out

The DONALD Rankings are scores for Disney animated films that combine personal opinion with a pseudo-scientific veneer of hard data. For a full introduction to the DONALD system, please go here. Contribute your scores in the comments!

The next film on our Top 20 list is Inside Out from Pixar, which won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Based on a story by director Pete Docter (Up) and co-director Ronnie del Carmen (a key story guy at Pixar since 2000), Inside Out follows the life of 11-year-old Riley Andersen through the lens of five personified emotions that control her interaction: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear.

I suspect the insides of most 11-year-old's heads is much weirder than this.
I suspect the inside of a typical 11-year-old’s head is actually much weirder than this.

Inside Out is anchored by an extraordinary and complex story, with deeper concepts not often found in a family film. It was also the first Pixar film created without input from studio co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2011. Pixar moved forward with admirable poise, especially when contrasted to the precipitous dip in quality at Walt Disney Animation Studios that followed the passing of their visionary founder in 1966.

Inside Out received universal critical acclaim, and was screened at all of the swankiest gatherings of film buffs, including the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It was praised as the strongest Pixar film in recent years, and reviewers used expressions like “transcendent,” “buoyant,” and “therapeutic” in their breathless descriptions.

But how does it stack up against the greatest Disney animated films of all time? Pretty well, actually…

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