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Inside Out 2 Review: All The Fun & The Feels

Sometimes, it’s easy to get sceptical when a sequel to a major movie gets announced years, or even decades, later. They can either be unnecessary cash-ins, forgettable follow-ups or actually good sequels. Pixar has a mixed track record on this, as 2018’s The Incredibles and 2019’s Toy Story 4 were fine sequels but they were ultimately considered inferior to their predecessors. Fortunately, Inside Out 2 changes that trend, as it’s actually a better movie than 2015’s Inside Out.

Onset Puberty

BELIEF SYSTEM – In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Riley’s Sense of Self is made up of all of her beliefs, each of which can be heard with the pluck of a string. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) and Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) deliver key memories to this formative land. “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters June 14, 2024. © 2024 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The premise feels remarkably more mature than the original Inside Out. What surprised me the most about the movie is how, despite the trailers teasing some sort of generic romance subplot carrying the movie, there is none of that in Inside Out 2. Instead, while the original Inside Out felt a bit more simplistic and childish in its premise and ideas, Inside Out 2 focuses more on the growing pains that come with puberty and how the emergence of more complex emotions that arrive with it makes your relationships with other people around you more complicated. While the lesson in the first movie was that all emotions are valid and are not to be suppressed, Inside Out 2 sort of explores similar ideas, albeit with more emphasis on other new emotions that come with growing up.

Inside Out 2 also does a better job of devoting almost equal development to all of the living emotions, new and old included. The highlight and standout performances of Inside Out 2 are Amanda Poehler as Joy and Maya Hawke as Anxiety. I won’t spoil the details of the plot, but Anxiety is extremely integral to the story in Inside Out 2, and as such, the movie will hit closer to home to those who suffer from anxiety issues. That being said, almost everyone has likely suffered from anxiety in one way or another, including people of all ages from the youngest to the oldest, which is what further adds to how relatable Inside Out 2 is to everyone regardless of age.

WHAT IS HAPPENING? – In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) are awakened to an alarming reality: everything is changing now that Riley is 13. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters Summer 2024. © 2023 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Another highlight of Inside Out 2 is that it features some memorable jokes (the only joke I still remember from the first movie is the Cloud City joke). This time around, there are several jokes and gags that cater to older viewers, such as Yong Yea as Lance Slashblade (a character those who lived through the PS1/PS2 era will be able to appreciate) and Ron Funches as Bloofy, a parodied satirical version who pokes fun at Dora The Explorer tropes. Also, Yong Yea’s Lance Slashblade not only acts like an angsty JRPG protagonist, but Pixar also makes him visually look more blurry and pixelated. That attention to detail is incredible, though unfortunately, he only really appears in one scene.

Last but not least, Inside Out 2 also has better pacing overall compared to the first movie. There’s never a boring moment in the movie, as the movie never lets up from beginning to end. It’s also great to see the whole original team of emotions from the first movie finally embarking on a journey together. In the first movie, Joy spent most of the movie with Sadness while separated from the rest; Anger, Disgust and Fear. There’s a whole new dynamic in Inside Out 2, not to mention all the other new emotions that come into the fray, ensuring that everyone stays interesting and never overstays their welcome.

NEW EMOTIONS — Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” returns to the mind of newly minted teenager Riley just as new Emotions show up. Embarrassment (voice of Paul Walter Hauser), Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke), Envy (voice of Ayo Edebiri) and Ennui (voice of Adèle Exarchopoulos) are ready to take a turn at the console. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters June 14, 2024. © 2024 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Emotional Complexity

INSIDE OUT 2 – WHO’S IN CHARGE? — Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2” returns to the mind of newly minted teenager Riley, where her Emotions Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale), Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) must make room for new Emotions, including Envy (voice of Ayo Edebiri), Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke) and Embarrassment (voice of Paul Walter Hauser). Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters June 14, 2024. © 2024 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Is Inside Out 2 as emotional as 2015’s Inside Out? That will probably depend from person to person, but Inside Out 2 is definitely a better movie than Inside Out, which means that it succeeds as a sequel in a way that other recent Pixar sequels have not.

FINAL SCORE: 80/100

We attended a press screening of Inside Out 2 courtesy of The Walt Disney Company Malaysia. Inside Out 2 premieres in Malaysian cinemas on 13 June 2024.

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