When Pixar wowed audiences around the world in 2015 with the charming Inside Out, it was inevitable that we'd eventually get a sequel. Both a mega-hit at the box-office and a concept that offers multiple routes for a sequel, Inside Out 2 arrives this year to prove once again that Pixar just know how to hit the spot. Not only a great sequel, it's an absolute triumph to add to the animation studio's already impressive roster.

Joy (Amy Poehler) and the rest of Riley's emotions have been on a good run in guiding the youngster through adjusting to life in San Francisco. All of that changes though when Riley becomes a teenager, a milestone that brings with it new emotions such as Anxiety (Maya Hawke) and Envy (Ayo Edebiri). It's not long before emotions clash and Anxiety looks to get total control of Riley's emotions, posing a new challenge to Joy and the gang.
It truly is a pleasure to return to this wonderfully imaginative world created by Pixar, something they are so accustomed to now with their slate of films. Inside the mind of Riley provided the setting for such an emotional roller-coaster in the first film and it's no different in this sequel, Riley's journey into life as a teenager the perfect place to pick things up narratively. We are reunited with resident emotions; Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear, and it honestly feels like meeting up with familiar old friends again, mainly because every single person has experienced these emotions at some point in their life. Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein write a script that is as witty as the first film, with some simple yet hilarious punchlines thrown in for good measure. The sarcasm moment in particular was a highlight that takes me back to the likes of the Toy Story films that just nail that similar sense of humour.

LeFauve along with director Kelsey Mann develops a story that takes us on a different journey than the first film. Mann follows the trend at Pixar of being part of their creative team before stepping into the director's chair, and he does a great job in handling the emotional core of the film - giving us a sequel not only worthy of following its predecessor but also one that ranks amongst Pixar's very best. LeFauve and Mann together bring in new emotions to fit Riley's new age milestone and it's easily one of the most poignant and relatable films in the Pixar catalogue, each adding complexity to proceedings. We get Envy, Ennui, Embarrassment and even a delightful Nostalgia however, the most pivotal new character is Anxiety, the most obscure looking of them all but carefully woven into the narrative to ensure this isn't just an 'Anxiety is the villain' piece. It leads to some highly emotional moments that we've become so used to in Pixar films, Joy and the others working together to help Riley through a tough time in her life.
The animation brings with it such bright colours that pop from the screen, obvious to say but the colour schemes reflecting Riley's mood a simple yet effective detail that aids the narrative effortlessly. The characters all have such intriguing designs but it's the animation on a character called Lance Slashblade that was a nice little touch, his movements in particular note perfect to video games of the past. Andrea Datzman does a fine job scoring the film but there's no denying that it's a little bit of a downgrade from Michael Giacchino's work from the film, which elevated it to the next level.

There's also magic when it comes to the voice performances in Inside Out 2. Amy Poehler leads the charge in her return as Joy, refraining from taking total control and open to other emotions playing a part in Riley's life. Poehler just radiates joy as a person and it definitely comes through in her performance once again. Ayo Edebiri brings plenty of exuberance to her performance as Envy but it's Maya Hawke as Anxiety who steals the show. Hawke's performance quite brilliantly fills Anxiety with a duality of assuredness and nervousness that threatens to derail Riley's progress in both keeping old and making new friends.

Inside Out 2 certainly matches the energy of its predecessor, even getting quite close in surpassing it. As much for adults as it is for kids, a film like this only further showcases the inventiveness of the iconic animation studio.

Verdict: ★★★★★


Popular Posts