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How INSIDE OUT 2 Filmmakers Made Movie’s Climax Feel ‘Authentic’

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How INSIDE OUT 2 Filmmakers Made Movie’s Climax Feel ‘Authentic’

By Movieguide® Contributor

INSIDE OUT 2 director Kelsey Mann and producer Mark Neilsen explained how they had over 25 meetings with the cast and crew as they worked to make the movie’s climax as real as possible.

“We had a gong our visual effects supervisor [Sudeep Rangaswamy] would ring at the beginning and end of every meeting,” Mann told Variety. “It was a collection of all the heads of the different departments to figure out the difficult things.”

“You want to make sure that it feels real and authentic,” he continued. “To come up with a look that achieves that is really hard. It took lots of different departments all working collectively in order to pull that off. We also did it right at the end. Time was running out.”

“Simulation, effects, lighting, and animation all together like, ‘How are we going to do this?’” Neilsen added.

The climactic ending sees the now 13-year-old Riley’s newest emotion, anxiety, take over the control room after she is sent to the penalty box during the last match of a sleepaway hockey camp. As the teen’s thoughts spiral, she is sent into a full-blown anxiety attack.

“We started doing a lot of things like tightening up the shutter angle, so, suddenly, everything’s a lot sharper and the focus got a lot deeper as Riley’s putting more and more pressure on herself,” said cinematographer Adam Habib. “Then, when the anxiety attack hits, suddenly we flip everything. The focus goes extremely shallow and the world drops away.”

“That moment in particular was interesting because we had talked about, what if we start vibrating the background as Riley gets deeper into this panic attack?” added cinematographer Jonathan Pytko. “We overexposed the light a lot and really flooded this light coming around Riley as she’s going through this moment. Then adding that [vibration] in there really sold what happened.”

The visual effects applied to the scene help viewers feel the terror of experiencing a panic attack. The animation, however, also effectively captures the moments of taking back control as Riley learns to calm her emotions and overcome her anxiety. A portion of Movieguide®’s review reads:

INSIDE OUT 2 is a marvelous, family-friendly animated movie. The movie is delightful, funny, inventive, and heartwarming. It has many positive messages. For example, it promotes doing the right thing, controlling your emotions and not letting anxieties overcome your decision making. INSIDE OUT 2 also promotes kindness, friendship, repentance, and forgiveness. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger children for scenes of peril and a large scary-looking but nonthreatening character. Unlike other recent animated movies, INSIDE OUT 2 doesn’t have any woke or politically correct content.

While Riley is able to overcome her anxiety, the moments of the panic attack are extremely hard for Joy to handle. Amy Poehler, who voices Joy, especially related to her character at that moment because she understood that there was nothing she could do.

“That’s a hard thing, when you’re a parent and you don’t know what to do when you’re trying to help your child. If Riley is Joy’s kid, then Joy is kind of like, ‘What’s happened to my kid?’ Pixar is so smart to have Joy take her foot off the gas, and by doing so, and not pushing so hard, Riley just soothes herself, which is the hard lesson of growing up,” Poehler said.

Maya Hawke, who plays anxiety, believes this movie will help young viewers.

“This generation of kids has been through the pandemic and everything else we’ve had to go through,” Hawke said. “They are dealing with a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress, and a lot of social discomfort from learning how to reincorporate their lives with other young people.”

“I think that this movie takes that seriously and actualizes these feelings,” she added.

It also communicates to the audience, that all emotions are necessary and have value at different times, an important lesson that both kids and parents can take away from the movie.

Fans are grateful for that message, as the movie has already grossed $295 million worldwide during its debut weekend, taking $155 million domestically and $140 million internationally.

Movieguide® previously reported:

INSIDE OUT 2’s expert consultants are sharing details about how they developed the movie’s plot and new characters and how anxiety is actually “essential.”

“I’m a psychologist who specializes in teenagers and I’ve written a lot about teenage girls,” psychologist and author Lisa Damour explained. “I saw drafts of the film, and we gave guidance about how to really bring it fully in line with the science, which they’ve done an extraordinary job with.”

Emotion scientist Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California Berkeley and the director of the Greater Good Science Center,” added, “I thought [the moviemakers would] be interested in strategic questions about the film, [but] they’re just interested in science, like how many emotions are there? What do they do to our minds? How do they influence your identity or your memory?”

The pair visited the Pixar lot, studying scenes from the movie and consulting on everything from facial expressions to the way someone’s voice should sound when they’re annoyed.


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