Vice-Versa 2 review: Pixar is back, we would cry with joy 🥹

Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. In 2015, Pixar invited us to discover our most primal emotions at the head of a now cult adventure. By recounting the emotional development of little Riley, Vice versa the first of the name already announced itself as the introduction to a much larger work. The finale left “the threat” of puberty hovering, a strong and ideal theme for an equally striking sequel.

It took almost ten years for the animation studio to release this new opus, a judicious release that comes at just the right time. After two feature films which were not unanimously acclaimed and three years of absence from cinema following the Covid-19 pandemic, it was high time for Pixar to return to theaters with a strong project. Also, the audience of the first film had time to grow, and was confronted with new, more complex emotions that deserve to be represented on screen. This is how Embarrassment, Envy, Boredom and Anxiety headline the Vice-Versa 2. Everything is no longer happiness or melancholy for the young protagonist: her brain welcomes new residents ready to put obstacles in the way of her teenage daily life.

Despite the obvious nature of this sequel, Vice-Versa 2 nonetheless remains a risky project. This film arrives with the reputation of its predecessor on its shoulders, while tackling sensitive subjects, specific to a difficult period of the journey towards adulthood. By passing the torch to Kelsey Mann – who takes on the role of feature film director for the first time – the creator of the first film Pete Docter seems to have made the right choice as the result manages to exceed all expectations.

A sequel that Pixar couldn't miss

Following a very tense 2023 for the Walt Disney Company, Pixar ushers in 2024 with the difficult task of making up for past mistakes. Since the Disney studio was not even able to convince spectators with its feature film in homage to 100 years of animation, Wish: Asha and the Good Star, the exercise promised to be complex to say the least. It is by drawing out its greatest franchises that the big-eared firm intends to get back on track.

While Moana prepares his return for the end of the year, Vice-Versa 2 is kicking off the festivities this summer and isn’t doing things by halves. Even before its launch in French theaters, the latest Pixar has already achieved striking records, such as that of the best launch in history for an animated film and the second best launch of the year in the United States (after Dune : Part II).

If the strategy is already effective from a purely marketing aspect, future spectators will be delighted to learn that this success is well deserved. Vice-Versa 2 is not a sequel designed to sell movie tickets : it's a new story that honors its predecessor, while paying homage to the studio's heritage. After a Elementary sanitized as possible and Buzz Lightning Light years away from Pixar's usual portfolio, the latest one finally finds the charm and power of its predecessors.

The desire to do well is palpable from the first moments of the film. In addition to ever more stunning visual quality, Vice-Versa 2 shines with intelligent and devilishly effective writing. We have rarely been able to laugh so much during the first 30 minutes of an animated film. With an offbeat and modern humor, worthy of the genius of Kuzco so too ahead of its time, the film fills us with laughter and joy. Enough to instinctively plunge the viewer back into the heart of the emotional theme, while preparing the ground for a destabilizing return to reality.

The right balance of emotions

Ten years ago, the arguments between Joy and Sadness reminded us of the importance of letting each of our emotions express itself. After this memorable, if somewhat simple, first lesson, Pixar now tackles the complexity of adolescence and the new feelings that come with it. A direction which involves the representation of emotions with rather negative connotations, long considered taboo. The balancing act that the studio is tackling is not easy. However, the director and screenwriters managed to avoid the major pitfalls of such a production.

Despite the caricatured personification of embarrassment, envy, boredom and anxiety, Vice-Versa 2 represents this difficult period in a child's life with the greatest respect. The film teams have hatched new effective concepts – such as the physical representation of Self-Esteem – to explain the complexity of our nature in all simplicity. It is not just a question of defining teenagers as emotional time bombs, but rather of explaining and normalizing the mechanisms behind their behaviors.

In this way, the feature film ticks all the right boxes for the different audiences it targets. Adults will enjoy discovering a beautiful retrospective of past ordeals, while teenagers will feel understood and children will be able to learn not to be afraid of puberty. The educational dimension of the first film is all the more present in this sequel, thanks to a more elaborate script, carried by ever more sincere scenes, a reflection of human nature. The ease with which Pixar artists encapsulate human nature is once again surprising. Without finding the perfect balance, Vice-Versa 2 exudes a sincerity that will leave no spectator indifferent.

The art of hitting the heart

The new Pixar is an emotional ride that keeps you in suspense and leaves little room for respite. The rhythm imposed by the electrifying introduction is maintained throughout the adventure: enough to perfectly represent the tension of fleeting adolescence. The film manages to remind us that if this period seems to last an eternity when we experience it, it passes much more quickly than we think on the scale of a lifetime.

After making us go from laughter to tears in the first part, this sequel deepens the emotional impact in us going from laughter, to tears…to existential crisis. Did you find the first film too light? Prepare to be shaken. Once again, Pixar has the knack of unearthing our deepest feelings to teach us how to understand them and turn them into strength.

The new emotions arrive at headquarters without warning, an invasion around which the entire scenario then revolves. If this forced cohabitation stands out as one of the strong points of the film, it is also at the origin of one of its greatest faults. By establishing a clear separation between the two groups, the lack of interaction between the original emotions and the new ones risks disappointing more than one viewer.

Also, The omnipresence of Anxiety ends up eclipsing other emotions which do not have the opportunity to shine to their potential. But after all, isn't the fault of everyday anxiety that it puts a veil over our other capacities for judgment? Despite our differences as humans, Pixar manages to offer us a powerful story, in which everyone can discover avenues for reflection to emerge grown and healed from certain ills of the past.

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