17 June 2024

Inside Out 2 is the best Disney movie of the past five years

| Jarryd Rowley
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Inside Out 2 is Pixar’s latest release, coming out nine years after the original film. Photo: Pixar Studios.

One of the best feelings a person can have is being speechless yet overjoyed after walking out of a movie at the cinema.

What makes this even better is when the movie you were watching comes as a complete surprise. This was the state that Inside Out 2 left me in.

Inside Out 2 is a fantastic continuation of an already brilliant first film that, while maybe not better than the original, certainly proves it has a story worth telling.

Picking up a year after the first film, Inside Out 2 sees Riley and her emotions – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust – transition from a child to a teenager. With the evolution into puberty comes a host of new emotions, including Anxiety, Embarrassment, Envy and Ennui (you know, Boredom, more or less, but fancier).

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I have been a massive critic of Disney and many of its products for the last five or so years. A raft of its animated releases, Marvel movies and shows, and Star Wars programming have been disappointing. Put much of it down to uninspired sequels that don’t have unique stories to tell and a lack of imagination from a studio that used to define that very word.

Wish was genuinely unwatchable. Pixar’s last six movies have been limited to streaming or two-week cinema runs, and aside from Encanto, Disney’s animations no longer feel like a cinematic event.

So when Inside Out 2 was announced, I was cautious. The first was unique and was very important to people my age (I was 15 when it was released), so there was a genuine fear that the sequel would just be another soulless cash grab.

I am so glad I was wrong and my anxiety, excuse the pun, that I had for this film was nothing to worry about.

First off, this movie looks incredible.

There is a certain glow with this style of animation that makes Riley’s thoughts and emotions pop off the screen. The first thing I thought when I left was, ‘I can’t wait for this to come out in 4K resolution so I can watch it with HDR [High Dynamic Range]’.

Second, the returning cast and the additions of the new emotions are fantastic. They all dial up their respective characteristics to 11, which is needed for an animated movie. Amy Poehler and Phyliss Smith crush it yet again as Joy and Sadness, while newcomers Maya Hawke and Ayo Edebiri were superb as Anxiety and Envy.

These new characters and their interactions with the older emotions were so pivotal to the storytelling of this 13-year-old girl. All nine emotions want what’s best for her, but unlike the first film, the newer emotions clash with the older ones.

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In situations where Riley may have been 8 or 9 years old and she was feeling sad, Joy would just come in and fix the problem. However, this film demonstrates that maybe a little bit of anxiety is a good thing, but too much can lead to internal panic.

As a person who has suffered from panic attacks in the past, there was a particular scene that replicated an attack appropriately and with grace. It wasn’t meant for shock value but as a message to kids and families that sometimes things can get a bit too much and sometimes we can drastically overthink things.

It was incredible storytelling with brilliant visual motifs that added mature themes to an already fantastic family film.

Inside Out 2 is my favourite Pixar movie since Coco. Its storytelling is brilliant, its creativity in the way it explains adolescence is admirable, and the voice work, along with the animation, is top-shelf. If you’re a parent looking for a movie that the kids can see while also being thoroughly entertained yourself, Inside Out 2 is my pick for 2024 so far.

Inside Out 2 is now playing at cinemas across the country.

Original Article published by Jarryd Rowley on Riotact.

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