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I Have Feelings About Inside Out 2…

….and for that, I am very thankful.

I just stepped out of the theater after seeing Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out 2. And I (much to my surprise), have a lot of thoughts about it. It’s not often I write a full review here on the site (I will usually just do a brief review on social), but Inside Out 2 hit different. 

I’ll get right to the point. What a beautiful movie. In every sense of the word. From a visual to storytelling perspective, it hit every note wonderfully.

Most importantly… and this is the only way I can say this… THANK YOU, Disney and Pixar, for letting me FEEL all the feels once again. It’s been a long, long (too long) time since I have sat in a darkened theater and laughed and cried (I was not alone with the tears and sniffles) at a Disney movie.

While this film focuses on the mind of now-teenager Riley, and the familiar and new emotions occupying (and in some cases, taking over) headquarters, I found myself not only feeling like I understood (and understand) my no-longer-a-teenager daughter (thank you for this enlightenment, Disney and Pixar!), but was also in moments of self-reflection and awareness.

The familiar voices of Amy Poehler as Joy, Phyllis Smith as Sadness, Lewis Black as Anger, Tony Hale as Fear, and Liza Lapira as Disgust are now joined by some of the other voices in our heads – Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke), Embarrassment (voice of Paul Walter Hauser), Envy (voice of Ayo Edebiri) and Ennui (voice of Adèle Exarchopoulos).

Like Riley herself, Inside Out 2 is deeper, more complex (but not complicated), and takes us on a roller coaster of emotions (which, by the way, is what I think a new attraction in EPCOT’s Imagination themed after these movies should be called – “The Inside Out Emotional Roller Coaster.” It doesn’t have to even be a coaster, but just a fun ride through Riley’s… or even our own… headquarters.)

Director Kelsey Mann and Producer Mark Nielsen have done what is so often difficult to do – make a sequel that rivals, if not surpasses, the original, and at the very least makes it worthy of them feeling like they are an organically (and not forced) connected story.

I’ll admit it, happily – I was not only literally laughing out loud (as were my kids, who were sitting next to me, and admittedly aren’t children anymore, as my daughter is 20 and my son is almost 19), but feeling so many of the emotions that I was watching on screen. But the tears in my eyes (and streaming down my face) weren’t an expression of Sadness, but more of Joy – The joy in what Disney and Pixar were not just allowing me to feel, but bringing these emotions out from me.

Because as long as I’m being so open about my feelings about this film, they also reflect how I have felt (or not felt, as the case may be), about recent releases from the studios.

I honestly don’t remember the last time I walked out of a Disney (I’m also looking at you, Marvel and Star Wars), FEELING the way that I still do right now. There’s no reason to “name names” when it comes to the multitude of feature film titles that I watched, and unfortunately the only emotions that I felt were Disappointment and Frustration. I also felt Sadness, because I WANTED to FEEL more than I was… and yet I only felt that the movies lacked so much of the soul (including Soul), that the Company had given me consistently for decades.

The film is gorgeous. From animation that almost makes you forget you are watching two-dimensional, computer-generated images, to score that helps carry you on the waves of emotions that you will experience, to the pacing and script… I sat in the theater (and as I write this here at my desk), with some feelings that didn’t get enough screen time – Gratitude, Hope, Enthusiasm, Serenity, and Surprise, to name just a few.

Is this is turning point? Is my emotional cup starting to fill again? Am I looking forward with a glimmer of newfound optimism and hope for what the future films from the Studios has in store? Cautiously, but yes… yes, I am. I admit that I walked in WANTING to like this movie (as I do with every movie I go see… I’m a “Choose the Good” kinda guy), but finally I walked out feeling the same way.

Inside Out to seemed to reignite an emotional flame inside of ME that I have been sad felt nearly extinguished.

While I am hopeful for new, original scripts, characters, and stories (I, admittedly, have not been a huge fan of the sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots), Inside Out 2 may sit among the few motion pictures with a “2” in its title that is as good as, if not better, than the original.

Go see Inside Out 2. In the theater. Have the shared experience on the big screen. Get popcorn. Bring tissues. And let YOUR emotions out. You’ll be Glad you did.

Have you seen Inside Out 2 yet? What are your thoughts? Post them in the comments and be part of the community and conversation in the WDW Radio Clubhouse