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Inside Out 2 expands on teenage turmoil

Updated: 2024-06-22 10:59 ( China Daily )
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Inside Out 2 continues the journey of Riley Andersen, the young protagonist who encounters new emotions in her teenage years. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Nearly a decade ago, Pixar's Inside Out captivated audiences worldwide, heralded as a psychological compass guiding parents through the intricate labyrinth of their children's range of emotions.

The groundbreaking film — recipient of the 88th Academy Award for Best Animated Feature — has its sequel, Inside Out 2, which made its debut in theaters across the Chinese mainland in multiple formats including IMAX on Friday.

Despite a nine-year hiatus in the real world, Riley Andersen, the young protagonist of the franchise, has transitioned from an 11-year-old in the first installment released in 2015 to embarking on the tumultuous journey of puberty at the age of 13 in Inside Out 2.

With the return of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust — the five anthropomorphic characters representing their enigmatic emotions — the film introduces new roles as Riley, now a teenager, experiences more complicated and chaotic situations in her mind.

The five newcomers who have moved into Riley's mind — Anxiety, who has orange skin and tousled hair; Embarrassment, a clumsy pink character; Envy, the always-envious green figure; Ennui, a long-haired purple figure who is always bored; and the occasionally appearing Nostalgia, a gray-haired elderly character.

Two years after Riley moves to San Francisco with her parents, the new film sees her at a crossroads.

With two best friends transitioning to a different high school, Riley is determined to impress a coach during a weekend hockey camp to enhance her prospects for better academic opportunities. However, the arrival of new emotions disrupts her inner balance, leading to turmoil.

Director Kelsey Mann recalls in an online interview being approached to lead the project by Pete Docter, the chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios and director of the first Inside Out film, who believed in the original film's potential back in January 2020.

As a father to a daughter and son, both teenagers, Mann describes the creative process as deeply personal.

"Even though it's a sequel, I could treat it like an original and bring a lot of my personal experiences and feelings to the story," says Mann, adding that he hopes the new movie will resonate with both children and parents, as well as grandparents.

Producer Mark Nielsen, who has also participated in the online interview, adds that the sequel's creators had assembled a team of nine girls aged 13 to 16, holding regular meetings with them every four months over three years.

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