Inside Out 2 review

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Movie: Inside Out 2

Production Company: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

Director: Kelsey Mann

Producers: Pete Docter, Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera, Dan Scanlon

Main Cast: Amy Poehler, Tony Hale, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Ayo Edebiri, Maya Hawke, Kensington Tallman

Release Date: 14th June 2024

Running Time: 96 minutes

Certificate: U

Introduction: The sequel to one of Pixar’s most cherished films does not have the emotional gut punch or depth of it’s predecessor, but still does more than enough to remind you why they are the best in the business.

Synopsis: We follow Riley as she moves on to the next stage of her life … and has new emotions to deal with.

Analysis: Pixar always handle and tackle the most complicated themes yet still make their films work for young and old alike which is one of one the most impressive things about them (I’d say they are the best studio in the world at doing so). You can trust them with virtually anything, a nice sense of trust and comfort one might say. If you see their logo before your film or on a poster, you are in safe hands. When it was announced that Pete Docter (the person behind Pixar’s best work – ‘UP’, ‘Inside Out’ and ‘WALL-E’) would not be returning for this (at least writing or directing, he serves as a producer here), I was really quite trepidatious to see what would happen here with a new vision. The first film was wonderfully remarkable, so this one had a lot to live up to, an almost impossible task and an uphill battle to say the least. It is also no secret that they have struggled in recent times, who hasn’t?

Unsurprisingly, it is not quite able to overpower you like before and I would go as far to say it is slightly underwhelming, yet the ideas and morals it introduces and the fashion in which it does so will win you over nonetheless, and they are just as creative as they were before. In fairness, the two are vastly different beasts dealing with polar opposite subjects in their own way. The reason why we were so taken back the first time round was because that was the first film of it’s kind to do what it did, and in doing so it became one of the best family films ever made. This time, we are used to the concept and so, in order to keep the audience engaged, you have to try new things to avoid pointless repetition. This is a dilemma most sequels have and something that some do unfortunately succumb to.

Pixar never have difficulty or trouble reaching out or connecting to the youngest of cinema-goers, yet most venturing out to see this will be those (like myself) who went to see the first one almost ten years ago returning for some very welcome and much needed nostalgia (how it took them this long to conjure a sequel to one of their best films I do not know). There will be crowds and crowds of young and new eyes entering this world for the first time and experience it how we did (I imagine this will have no trouble being a box office sensation), yet the older demographic will get more out of it. My screening was filled with a grown up crowd, but it was a lunchtime screening on a Friday so it was bound to be that way. The most magical achievement ‘Inside Out 2’ manages to accomplish is that it is a perfect fit for anyone watching, no matter how much you already know or don’t. A crowd pleaser for absolutely everyone as is always the case.

Given where Riley is in her life, the story does thankfully allow for some fun and creativity to be had which the film has in abundance. There is no sign of any shortages of ideas or the sense that they are only doing it for the money which is rarity. Anxiety, puberty and self-consciousness are inevitably (among others) explored here. There is more humour and comedy this time round which lands perfectly each time exploring the notion of physical and mental change (most of which parents will perfectly relate to and chuckle at) so there is of course a sense of funny (and welcomingly embarrassing) relatability. The very best family films usually give the parents things to enjoy just as much as children will, but this is the most I’ve ever seen an animation really give the adults a nudge and a wink in regard to the subjects that are explored. To tell the truth, they may actually get more from this than a younger demographic, but that is fairly far – fetched.

Animation is advancing at a terrifying rate with most films we see nowadays, yet I continue to be astonished at the level of detail they are able to accomplish in these films. It all started with ‘Toy Story’ back in 1995 (the first time anyone had really seen anything like that) and continues to take your breath away to this very day. Heaven only knows what the future has in store. In the end, I cannot express how lucky we are to have something like Pixar; I (like millions of others) grew up with their stories. They are responsible for so much more than just creating films and are untouchable. Another fantastic entry in their roster.

In cinemas now.

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good

Target Audience: U

Content Warning: very mild threat, language, upsetting scenes, violence, rude humour

Recommendation: Yes