FILM REVIEW — “Inside Out 2” is here to save Summer movies

Published 12:04 am Friday, June 14, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“Inside Out 2”

Pixar Films

Directed by Kelsey Mann

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Starring Amy Poehler, Kensington Tallman, Maya Hawke, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Tony Hale, Liza Lapira, Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Paul Walter Hauser and June Squibb.

Rated PG

3 ½ Stars

Summer 2024 has seen its fair share of duds at the movie theaters.

Fortunately, Pixar Animation comes galloping in over the horizon to save the season with the release of “Inside Out 2,” a sequel that is nearly as good as their 2015 film.

I think the original movie is one of Pixar’s best, so I have nothing but praise for this sequel.

The story continues to follow a young girl named Riley (Kensington Tallman) and the emotions living inside of her head. We’ve already met Joy (Amy Poehler), Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Tony Hale replacing Bill Hader), and Disgust (Liza Lapira replacing Mindy Kaling) in the last film, but puberty is about to introduce a whole new set of emotions.

The newcomers include Anxiety (Maya Hawke), Envy (Ado Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser) and Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos).

The film quickly turns into a battle of the old and new emotions, as they vie to control Riley while she tries to impress her coaches and peers at a three-day hockey retreat.

The original film was notable for some very good voice work, creative world building and a few emotional moments that got us all crying (RIP Bing Bong).

That’s basically the same this time around. Joy is still the star, but it’s Anxiety who makes the biggest impression here, driving the plot as she tries to banish the original characters to the back of Riley’s mind.

Once again, there are plenty of creative ways to physicalize the landmarks of a young girl’s mindscape. For example, sarcasm becomes a literal chasm. Stream of consciousness is shown as an actual stream. Nostalgia is an elderly grandmother (June Squib) who is sent away because young Riley is too young to need her services yet.

Kudos to the writers and animators for finding such inventive ways to bring these characters to life.

The film is very funny, although it will probably connect more with older audiences who will appreciate the film’s premise. Still, there are a lot of bright colors and silly characters to keep young kids enthralled, and there is one new character, a talking backpack that should absolutely charm anyone who’s ever seen an episode of “Dora the Explorer.”

If I have any criticism, and I’m stretching here, I do wish that the new film had a Bing Bong analog — something to sweep audiences away with their own emotions.

I’m not saying this sequel isn’t as affecting as the original, just that it’s not quite as impactful this time around.

All of which makes “Inside Out 2” into a true Pixar classic. This is a great film that audiences of all ages should adore.

It’s filled with funny moments, top-drawer animation and lots a creative touches that elevate the film above most of what we get in movie theaters these days.

I don’t know if one single film can save the summer movie season, but “Inside Out 2” is certainly poised to be a monster summer hit that the whole family will enjoy.

Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia. Sean welcomes your comments via email at