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I Disney Studios Canada I June 14, 2024 I 96 mins. I

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* As of 6/13/24

Starring: Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Tony Hale, Liza Lapira, Maya Hawke,

Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Paul Walter Hauser, Kensington Tallman, Diane Lane

Directed By: Pablo Berger

Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out 2 returns to the mind of newly minted teenager Riley just as headquarters is undergoing a sudden demolition to make room for something entirely unexpected: new Emotions! Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, who’ve long been running a successful operation by all accounts, aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety shows up. And it looks like she’s not alone.

REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus

RATING 4.5 out of 5

Inside Out 2 is a truly marvellous sequel that not only captures the spirit of the original film, but expands its ideas and world in the most logical way, that with the support of an excellent voice cast and strong animation, allows Pixar to once again deliver an unforgettable and emotional experience that instantly works it way into audiences’ hearts.


Sequels are always tough, but one of the studios with the best record with them is Pixar Animation. For the most part, Pixar’s sequels have captured the essence of the original film while deepening the mythos of the world; expanding it with a new heartfelt story. And they have once again done exactly that with their latest film, Inside Out 2. The first Inside Out is one of Pixar’s greatest films, so expectations were high for this sequel which sees Riley entering her teenage years and encountering new emotions such as anxiety, envy, embarrassment and ennui, but not only has Pixar crafted a worthwhile story that is destined to once again connect with viewers of all ages on an emotional level, it marks a return to the gold standard the animation studio is known for.


The first Inside Out had an important message about embracing all of your emotions and not to suppress them, whether they be joy, sadness, anger, disgust or fear. It helped spark conversation about feelings with younger viewers and their parents, and this sequel takes it one step further. With Riley preparing to enter high school, the new emotions introduced in this sequel are ones all too familiar to older viewers, as they are all ones we struggled with trying to fit in while growing up. But the screenplay goes beyond just the emotions, instead developing ideas around the individual self and what goes into making an individual who they are. It’s the logical expansion of the ideas started by the first film, allowing the world and its mythos to be deepened in meaning and further explored with a new adventure through Riley’s mind. This narrative allows Joy and the other emotions to grow and help Riley become a better person, which alone justifies the sequel’s existence. Once again, it is a beautiful story full of laugh out loud moments, memorable characters both new and old, notably with Anxiety, which is handled so delicately throughout the film, effortlessly capturing the overwhelming crippling feeling this emotion can bring while highlighting how the right amount of anxiety can help us become a better person. Like any good Pixar film, it has an emotional third act that is guaranteed to get some tears flowing. It’s not on the same level of emotional devastation that we experienced in the first film saying goodbye to Bing Bong and watching Riley attempting to run away from home, but it has an incredible amount of heart and is relatable to anyone who has gone through high school, guaranteeing to move audiences and have them re-assessing who they are.


Reprising their roles from the first film, Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black are back as Joy, Sadness and Anger respectively. All three of them are wonderful in bringing to life their memorable characters, slipping back into these characters like they only just finished their work on the first film. Tony Hale and Liza Lapira join the main cast as Fear and Disgust, replacing both Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling respectively who did not return for the sequel after pay disputes, and they are good in their roles. Hale more easily captures the nervous energy that Hader brought to Fear in the first film, but Lapira is missing that signature mischievous sass that Kaling so perfectly and effortlessly found within Disgust. Maya Hawke leads the new emotions as Anxiety, and it is pitch perfect casting as Hawke beautifully captures the energetic but self-doubting emotion that begins an inner whirlwind within Riley as she tries to impress her new teammates to avoid the fear of being alone in high school. Never for a second does Hawke allow Anxiety to be a villain by highlighting her character’s desire to protect Riley from the potential worst possible outcomes, which by doing so, sets Riley on the path to become exactly what Anxiety fears. But thanks to the vulnerability Hawke finds within Anxiety in the film’s third act, she allows this often misunderstood emotion to become a beautiful part of Riley that helps make Riley who she is. Ayo Edebiri, Paul Walter Hauser and Adèle Exarchopoulos round out the voices of the new emotions, each of whom is wonderful in their roles. And while they have smaller roles, June Squibb and James Austin Johnson consistently steal the show as Nostalgia and Pouchy, each bringing to life two unforgettable characters that you instantly fall in love with.

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As with all of Pixar’s films, the animation is truly outstanding. The three dimensional computer generated animation captures the wonder of the inner workings of Riley’s mind with stunning clarity and level of detail. Lighting of each shot helps to amplify the beauty of the animation, most notably during the mind storm sequence and when Joy and the rest of the emotions make it to the Back of the Mind and look back towards headquarters in one of the film’s most beautiful shots. 


Though, the biggest element that you feel missing in this sequel that was present in the first film is Michael Giacchino’s masterful musical score. His work on the first film enriched every emotional beat with his magnificent compositions that captured the essence of every individual emotion and took audiences on a journey through his music. While his main themes are re-used throughout the sequel, the rest of the score composed by Andrea Datzman does not capture the grander than life feel that Giacchino created in the first film. Datzman’s compositions are fine, but they never leave a mark on the audience, sadly fading to the background of the film and never supplement the storytelling as a good musical score should. 

Inside Out 2 was never meant to eclipse the first film, and it never tries to do that. It’s a beautiful extension of its predecessor that sees Riley take the first step towards adulthood and finding inner harmony with the new emotions brought on by puberty, which allows the story to move in new directions while maintaining the heart of the original film. The voice performances are spot on and the animation is incredible, both working to help capture the awe inspiring and soul searching storytelling that helped make Pixar Animation the giant it is in the animation genre. Even without a masterful musical score and some casting changes, Inside Out 2 is a more than worthy sequel that captures the spirit of the original and builds upon it to once again conjure up a deeply moving and emotional story that will not only connect with audiences of all ages, but does so with an entertaining film that is bound to be a fan favourite this summer movie season.

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