Pass the Remote: Get ready for ‘Inside Out 2’ with more great Pixar flicks  

Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” opening in theaters June 14, returns to the mind of newly minted teenager Riley just as a new Emotion, Anxiety (voiced by Maya Hawke) shows up. (Courtesy Disney/Pixar)

Whenever Emeryville-based Pixar releases a film, even a short, it’s cause for celebration. That holds true for its latest “Inside Out 2” arriving Friday in theaters.

The studio’s 28th full-length feature directed by Kelsey Mann sends San Franciscan Riley into puberty, an uncertain time that ushers in a fresh batch of emotions: Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke), Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Embarrassment (Paul Walter Hauser), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Nostalgia (June Squibb).

The question: Will “Inside Out 2” indeed spark joy in all of us? We believe it will.

To mark its imminent arrival, here are 10 Pixar faves.

  1. “WALL-E”: Bold in concept and execution, Andrew Stanton’s 2008 sci-fi classic boldly goes where few other family-friendly features have gone before, addressing hot topics that are even more pressing and relevant today, including conveniences that make us sedentary, out-of-control consumerism, environmental concerns and artificial intelligence. There’s even a tender romance between two robots, WALL-E and EVE, that unfolds ever so sweetly in a perfectly toned adventure that demands watching again and again.
  1. “Toy Story 3”: While it’s impossible to single out one film in this still-going-strong franchise (all are worthy, including the kinda-creepy “Toy Story 4”), Lee Unkrich’s 2010 sequel still warms my heart and makes me a puddle of tears every time. In it, Andy sets most of his childish things aside as he prepares for college. His mom’s inadvertent mistake imperils the very existence of Buzz Lightyear and others. As with all “Toy Story” films, the humor is seamlessly mixed with the emotional. And if the ending doesn’t make you misty-eyed, nothing much else put on film will.
  1. “Ratatouille”: In this gorgeously conceived and animated Parisian fable from 2007, a cute, starry-eyed little rat named Remy dreams big about becoming a top chef, a lofty goal. His exceptional (yet hidden from human eyes, at least for a while) culinary skills help a bumbling young human and, as the wizard behind the kitchen curtain, Remy becomes a sensation. Director-screenwriter Brad Bird adds all the right seasoning for this delightful heart warmer.
  1. “Up”: The 10-minute opening montage of Pete Docter’s 2009 movie remains one of the most beautiful beginnings of any film, animated or live action. The sequence observes the cherished love shared between childhood sweethearts and married couple Carl (voice of Ed Asner) and Ellie. It’s so moving that what follows afterward, though highly entertaining, fails to equal the early storytelling perfection. Still, “Up’s” colorful journey has humor and adventure as 70-something Carl lifts off, aided by balloons, to a special destination in memory of Ellie. It’s a journey of self-discovery that finds Carl crossing paths with a do-gooding scout, a landlocked bird and an adorable golden retriever that speaks its mind.
  1. “Finding Nemo”: Any kid, or for that matter, adult, who’s felt like a lost guppy in a big pond can relate to the fish named Nemo. Stanton and Pixar’s creative animators take a deep dive into the sea with this 2003 Odyssey-like adventure about a son/fish who swims into treacherous waters after he gets separated from his overbearing dad. The animation is dazzling as Pixar introduces one of its memorable characters, the forgetful Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), who helps in the search for young Nemo.
  1. “Inside Out”: What happens when Joy (voice of Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) accidentally get booted out of the pre-pubescent mind of Riley? In Docter’s beloved animated feature, other emotions—Anger, Fear and Disgust—rush in to take charge, then botch the job. The 2015 feature not only comfortingly comments about the need to balance joy with sadness, but it also includes scenes set in the heart of San Francisco. Speaking of heart, “Inside Out” has a lot of it.
  1. “Monsters, Inc.”: Pixar distinguishes itself from other studios because it focuses equally on cutting-edge animation and outside-of-the-box storytelling. Docter’s inventive 2001 feature reimagines, in incredibly clever ways, the scary staples of childhood—monsters in the closet— and makes them human. That level of storytelling sophistication continues to make Pixar a cut above the rest.
  1. “The Incredibles”: Family concerns and a law banning the use of superpowers keep married couple Bob and Helen occupied, but not satisfied. Bob takes matters into his own hands and freelances his services out, unbeknownst to his wife, at first. Bird’s action-packed homage to superheroes presents yet another memorable character —Elastigirl (voice of Holly Hunter)—who is more than equal to Bob, aka Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson). The 2004 genre entry, a blast, was followed by a solid sequel in 2018.
  1. “Soul”: Docter and Kemp Powers’ metaphysical, even profound, tale of a New York City pianist and teacher (voice of Jamie Foxx) who journeys back from the brink of death, and his relationship with a pessimistic soul (Tina Fey) who avoids becoming earthbound, might prove challenging to the very young. But the 2020 release (delayed due to COVID-19) has much to recommend it, including a great soundtrack and superior animation.
  1. “Coco”: Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina gifted us with this impressively animated 2017 feature, a celebration of Mexican culture. “Coco” brings to vibrant life Day of the Dead observances, while weaving a heartfelt tale about a music-loving grandson who gets whisked to the Land of the Dead. Molina’s screenplay, a gem, offers great hope about “Elio,” his first solo Pixar feature due out in 2025.

The post Pass the Remote: Get ready for ‘Inside Out 2’ with more great Pixar flicks   appeared first on Local News Matters.

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