Sunday, June 16, 2024

Inside Out 2


Based on the 2015 film Inside Out, Inside Out 2 is the sequel to the film in which the character of Riley becomes a teenager where her five core emotions deal with new emotion avatars who are taking over during the weekend at a summer hockey camp. Directed by Kelsey Mann and screenplay by Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein from a story by Mann and LeFauve is an exploration of teen angst and the many complexities that a teenage girl deals with while her five key emotions deal with these new changes as they try to deal with the new emotions who have taken over. Featuring the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Tony Hale, Liza Lapira, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri, Adele Exarchopoulos, Paul Walter Hauser, Kensington Tallman, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, and June Squibb. Inside Out 2 is a majestic and riveting film from Kelsey Mann.

The film follows a young girl who is asked to attend a summer weekend hockey camp with her two friends until she gets news from them that would change everything where she deals with new emotions as well as the need to fit in with members of an elite high school hockey team. It is a film that explores a young girl becoming a teenager with her emotional avatars trying to figure out how to adjust to this new phase in her life while dealing with four new emotional avatars who are trying to take over. The film’s screenplay by Meg LaFauve and Dave Holstein, with additional contributions from Ronnie del Carmen, explore the five key emotions in Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Tony Hale), and Disgust (Liza Lapira) who are overseeing the emotional state of Riley Andersen (Kensington Tallman) while they have created a new section under their main console in a tree-like series of threads known as Sense of Self that gives Riley her identity and personality. When the puberty alarm goes off, the team deals with not just their headquarters becoming shambolic but also meeting four new emotional avatars in Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adele Exarchopoulos), and Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser).

The new team led by Anxiety is trying to come up with many scenarios that she believes would hurt Riley leading to a power struggle in which Joy and her team are cast out along with their symbol of Riley’s Sense of Self that is discarded along with a mountain of bad memories forcing Joy and the gang on a new quest to return to headquarters. It is in this journey where Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust all work together to try and stop Anxiety from creating a sense of chaos where Riley wouldn’t just alienate her friends but also try to win over the team’s captain Val (Lilimar) for a spot in their elite hockey team. The script also has more development in the characters in which Fear, Disgust, and Anger do bring in more ideas with Joy becoming overwhelmed in trying to maintain her optimism while Sadness finds a way to return to headquarters and take control of Joy’s new discarding device that would allow their Sense of Self to return. Still, things become more complicated with Anxiety trying to steer Riley into a place where she feels she can be accepted that only adds to more problems.

Kelsey Mann’s direction is broad in its overall presentation where she expands this world that Riley’s mind is in as there are more islands that represent her personality with the Sense of Self being an underground where memories could be stored in a river and create new threads. With the aid of animation directors David Torres and Amanda Wagner and character designers Dean Heezen and Deanna Marsigliese, Mann creates a world that is vast where the main headquarters where Joy and her team are overseeing Riley’s emotional and mental state while the room where Riley’s memories are planted for the Sense of Self tree is world that is unique until Anxiety and her team would take over where there is a shift in tone in the film as well as the look of the Sense of Self tree that Anxiety has created. Mann’s compositions in the wide and medium shots do add to the sense of wonderment in the world. They include the scenes outside of headquarters where Riley’s memories are stored and archived including a vault where Riley’s secrets are held.

With the aid of cinematographers Adam Habib and Jonathan Pytko, production designer Jason Deamer, along with art directors Rona Liu, Laura Meyer, Keiko Murayama, Joshua West, and Bill Zahn, and visual effects supervisor Sudeep Rangaswamy, Mann would create new variations of worlds including Imagination Land that Joy and Sadness used to go but Anxiety’s arrival has changed things. Joy and the gang would also meet a couple of 2D hand-drawn animated characters in Bloofy (Ron Fuches) who was a character that Riley liked as a kid as well as Floofy’s assistant Pouchy (James Austin Johnson) as it adds to this sense of surrealism to what Joy and her team would deal with. The sense of lighting and mindfulness in Riley’s face adds to the complexity of her emotions where Mann really plays into the ideas of emotional and mental chaos. Even where Joy faces realizations in what Anxiety is trying to do along with Envy, Ennui, and Embarrassment where these nine emotions all play a role in Riley in who she is and what she can be. Overall, Mann crafts a rich and evocative film about emotional avatars dealing with the complexities of a girl becoming a teenager.

Editor Maurissa Horwitz does brilliant work with the editing as it is straightforward to play into the humor and action while allowing shots to linger for some of the dramatic moments in the film. Sound designer Ren Klyce and sound editor Coya Elliott do amazing work with the sound as it plays into some unique sound effects as well as how a keyboard sounds in a device that Anxiety uses. The film’s music by Andrea Datzman is wonderful as it features variations of Michael Giacchino’s themes while creating some flourishing and bombastic orchestral pieces along with some electronic bits while the music soundtrack features some mixture of pop and indie music including a song by the Linda Lindas.

The casting by Natalie Lyon and Kevin Reher is incredible as it features some notable small voice appearances from Flea, Paula Poundstone, and Bobby Moynihan as a few characters Joy and her team bump into, Frank Oz and Dave Goelz as a couple of mind cops, John Ratzenberger and Kirk Thatcher as a couple of construction people who destroy headquarters to create something new for the new avatars, Pete Docter as Dad’s Anger, Paula Pell as Mom’s Anger, Grace Lu and Sumayyah Nuridden-Green as Riley’s best friends in Grace and Bree respectively, Lilimar as the hockey team captain Val, Yvette Nicole Brown as Coach Roberts as the head of the hockey camp who takes the progress of her players seriously, and the duo of Kyle MacLachlan and Diane Lane as Riley’s parents who both deal with the fact that Riley is now a teenager with their emotional avatars realizing they’re about to enter a bumpy ride. The duo of Ron Fuches and James Austin Johnson are fantastic in their respective roles as the 2-D hand-drawn cartoon characters Bloofy and Pouchy whom Joy and her team meet in the back of the mind as they are childhood idols of Riley.

Yong Yea and Steve Purcell are superb in their respective roles as the video game character Lance Slashblade, who was a secret crush of Riley, and Deep Dark Secret as a gigantic figure who prefers to remain mysterious as he represents the deepest darkest secret that Riley does not want anyone to know. June Squibb is amazing in her brief role as a tenth avatar known as Nostalgia who pops in every now and then who arrives too early to be used. Kensington Tallman is excellent as Riley Andersen as the young girl who has become a teenager where she deals with many different emotions as well as a lot of uncertainty that plays into the many mistakes and confusion that teenagers often endure. Paul Walter Hauser and Adele Exarchopoulos are brilliant in their respective roles as the emotional avatars Embarrassment and Ennui with the former not saying much as he’s often shy and flustered over his actions where he unexpectedly bonds with Sadness while the latter is hilarious in how bored she is while having a rubbery look where Exarchopoulos allows Ennui to have some of the funniest lines in the film.

Ayo Edebiri is amazing as Envy as this tiny, cyan-colored avatar that is trying to do whatever she can to make Riley be impressive while is in awe of many things where Edebiri brings a lot of nuances to her voice. Tony Hale and Liza Lapira are incredible in their respective roles as Fear and Disgust with the former being more concerned with Riley’s state of mind while also being prepared for the worst while the latter brings a lot of humor in her own crush towards Slashblade while also dealing with Riley’s growing pains where she also must step up her game in trying to help Riley. Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black are great in their respective roles as Sadness and Anger with the former becoming concerned with what Anxiety is doing where she knows that Riley is going into emotional chaos while she befriends Embarrassment. Black’s voice role as Anger has a lot of humor in the way he overreacts and gets mad at while he also becomes aware of how overwhelmed Joy has become where he helps lead the charge to help Riley.

Maya Hawke is phenomenal in her voice role as Anxiety as this orange-like avatar that is this representation of anxiety that is trying to protect Riley by visualizing the worst possible case scenarios while also doing what she can to make Riley look cool in front of new people. Finally, there’s Amy Poehler in a spectacular voice performance of Joy as the leader of Riley’s emotional gang who is trying to maintain Riley’s emotional/mental state while hoping to discard bad memories as a way to protect her only to find herself in a power struggle with Anxiety as Poehler brings more emotional weight to her character who starts to become overwhelmed while also to coming to terms with the complexity of Riley’s emotional and mental well-being.

Inside Out 2 is a sensational film from Kelsey Mann and Pixar. Featuring a great ensemble voice cast, wondrous visuals, and its exploration of growing pains in the mind of a young teenage girl. The film is a coming-of-age film that does not just explore a girl’s mental state but also the many trials and tribulations that a bunch of emotions must endure to help this young girl’s state of mind as she is growing up and dealing with changes that can be horrifying but also welcoming. In the end, Inside Out 2 is a phenomenal film from Kelsey Mann.

Pixar Films: Toy Story - A Bug's Life - Toy Story 2 - (Monsters Inc.) – (Finding Nemo) – The Incredibles - Cars - Ratatouille - WALL-E - Up (2009 film) - Toy Story 3 - Cars 2 - Brave (2012 film) - Monsters University - Inside Out - The Good Dinosaur - (Finding Dory) – (Cars 3) – Coco - The Incredibles 2 - (Onward) – Soul (2020 film) - (Luca (2021 film)) – Turning Red - (Lightyear) - (Elemental (2023 film)) – (Elio (2024 film)) – (Toy Story 5)

© thevoid99 2024


SJHoneywell said...

I'm looking forward to this one.

My older daughter knows Phyllis Smith. She's lived essentially next door to her for about four years. You'll be happy to know that Phyllis is a very nice person, the sort of person who clips out newspaper articles that she thinks are relevant to my daughter and leaves them in her mailbox.

Brittani Burnham said...

I'll wait for Disney Plus for this one. I didn't care for the first one at all. I was so worried my kid was going to burst into tears during it because he was like 3 or 4 at the time and asked if he could sit on my lap during the film. Wasn't expecting it so be so sad. lol

thevoid99 said...

@SJ Honeywell-That is cool. I like her. She's awesome.

@Brittani-It might surprise you as if you have a kid that is going to become a teenager. This film will definitely prepare you for the chaos that is teen life. Maybe that wasn't a good decision to show the first one to your kid at that age as I think when my niece and nephew become 10. I'll show them the first one.

ruth said...

I really enjoyed this one and the voice cast is just fantastic! The new voice cast like Maya Hawke and Ayo Edebiri are great, but Exarchopoulos is quite the scene stealer as Ennui, I laughed so hard at her delivery and bored expression.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-Adele Exarchopoulos was great in this as I just loved how dry she sounded. I watched an interview she did with a couple of the French voice actors for the French dub of the film as there was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement in what they brought. I am so eager for a third film. Let's hope they do that in nine years.