‘Inside Out 2’ review: Some growing pains but still dazzling

While not as revelatory as ‘Inside Out’, this sequel is a winsome blend of energetic voice work and positive messaging

Udita Jhunjhunwala
Published15 Jun 2024, 02:30 PM IST
‘Inside Out 2’
‘Inside Out 2’

It’s been nine years since the Pixar animated Inside Out, in which we met pre-teen Riley (Kensington Tallman) and her core emotions. The sequel is set just a year after. Riley, a keen ice hockey player, is now a 13-year-old girl confronted by complex emotions that accompany puberty. The core emotions of blue Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), red Anger (Lewis Black), purple Fear (Tony Hale) and green Disgust (Liza Lapira), shepherded by happy yellow Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), have to make way for new feelings. A coy pink Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), cyan tinted Envy (Ayo Edebiri), indigo and French-accented Ennui (Adele Exarchopoulos) and the dominant orange-shaded Anxiety (Maya Hawke) shove their way in and take over the console that controls and dictates Riley’s emotions and feelings.

Also read: ‘Gullak’ season 4 review: Still one of the best Indian shows

The talented voice cast brings these colourful characters to life as they guide and influence Riley’s coming of age. Joy and Anxiety find themselves at loggerheads when Riley and her two best friends, Grace and Bree, are selected to join a hockey camp. Joy and her team have been carefully ensuring Riley develops a sense of self and a belief system. But the arrival of Anxiety, Envy, Ennui and Embarrassment shakes this, leading to self-doubt.

Booted out by Anxiety, the bottled up (literally) core emotions try to navigate their way back to headquarters. While locked in the glass jar, Fear exclaims, “We are suppressed emotions.” But once out, they travel along the Stream of Consciousness and are confronted by a gap called Sar-Chasm. Writers Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein cleverly build in terms associated with consciousness, emotions and responses. Beige emotion Nostalgia (voiced by June Squibb) makes an untimely appearance, sent away because she’s shown up too soon.

Riley, already unhappy that her best friends will soon be leaving her school, becomes focused on impressing the hockey coach and making new friends—responses triggered by Anxiety at the control centre. Joy and crew need to ensure Riley doesn’t succumb to these new complex emotions.

Inside Out was a delightful film that imagined our minds full of colourful emotions. Director Kelsey Mann returns to helm the sequel, which, unfortunately, does not quite have the energy, spirit or joy of its precursor. Riley becomes a project for internally warring factions. The metaphors are overcooked and the messaging is overly simplified.

Pixar movies often serve as a clever blend of entertainment for all ages while serving up life lessons for younger audiences. Inside Out 2 is less about the story and adult engagement and more a basic guide to managing anxiety, retaining self-belief, unpacking and confronting uncomfortable feelings and experiences.

In a low moment, Joy says, “Maybe this is what happens when you grow up. You feel less joy.” Inside Out 2 does suffer some growing pains, but there is enough joy to dazzle younger audiences and relevant notions for their parents to relate to.

Also read: ‘Chandu Champion’ review: Kartik Aaryan powers satisfying tearjerker


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First Published:15 Jun 2024, 02:30 PM IST
HomeLoungeArt And Culture‘Inside Out 2’ review: Some growing pains but still dazzling

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