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Archives for : Phyllis Smith

Movie Review: “Inside Out 2” is a Joyful Watch

The sheer genius of turning our emotions into loveable characters was enough to make you fall in love with the magic of the first “Inside Out”. Like many, I was hesitant to the idea of a sequel. But after watching “Inside Out 2”, and meeting Anxiety, it all makes sense.

“Inside Out 2” follows Riley entering into her teen years, making room for new emotions right before she goes into High School. She and her two best friends, Bree and Grace, have been selected to go to a 3-day hockey camp. Everything seems to be going smoothly in Riley’s life until Bree and Grace inform her, they won’t be going to High School together due to different school zones. This puts Riley in a panic of who she will be friends with next year. Que, Anxiety and her close friends; Envy, Embarrassment, and Ennui. They all step in to try to navigate the unexpected situation, but Joy and her core group of emotions clash with them on to best help Riley.

Obviously, the first “Inside Out” is better than the sequel. But that’s because the element of surprise and awe has been revealed. Which is why the first film is one of the best Pixar films ever made. There was so much attention to detail and every second in that movie was intentional. It was clearly filmmakers Pete Doctor and Ronnie Del Carmen’s baby and all their hard work paid off. They have passed the torch to director Kelsey Mann this time around and he respects the craft he’s been given to work with, building on this world and adding value instead of a cheap remake.

Introducing audiences to Anxiety at a time in our lives where we all felt this emotion, but probably didn’t know how to define it, is beneficial to younger and older viewers. With hope, it encourages children to understand their feelings and why they are feeling it. Anxiety is voiced by Maya Hawke, who brings out the vibrant energy and panic you’d imagine from the emotion. More of the attention to detail lies in her and not so much from her buddies. Though all the newcomers do a fine job, they won’t be as memorable as Anxiety or Joy and her core friends. Speaking of Joy, Amy Poehler returns as they happy-go-lucky emotion who is still trying to see everything in a positive light. Her voice is the backbone to this franchise and truly is a joy to hear. Phyllis Smith as Sadness is still role/emotion she brilliantly gives life to.

I do think the setting of a 3-day hockey camp was a little limiting to the story. I would have rather seen Riley navigate her emotions starting High School with no friends versus trying to make new ones at camp with her best friends present. There is so much anxiety when start freshman year and there’s a lot the filmmakers could have done with that potential story, but what they did give us, isn’t bad by any means.

“Inside Out 2” still sparkles from its lovable characters and relatable storylines told through emotions we all have. Providing a family-friendly avenue to discuss our feelings and mental health with loved ones.

Rating: A-

“Inside Out 2” opens in theater June 14, 2023.

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INSIDE OUT 2 Interview w/ Tony Hale

“Inside Out 2” brings Joy and her whole group back to help Riley as she enters her teen years and welcome new emotions, including, anxiety! I spoke with the wonderful 2 x Emmy winner Tony Hale, who voices Fear in the film. Tony discussed the movie and some of his emotions he felt as a teen.

“Inside Out 2” opens in theaters June 14, 2024

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