‘AFTER all, Riley’s 12 now. What could happen?’ So said Joy in the final moments of Pixar’s Inside Out, nine long years ago. It was a closing gag designed to float right over the heads of younger viewers and straight into the funny bones of Mum and Dad, parents who know all too well of the shock and horror to come.

That it’s taken almost a full decade for Inside Out 2 to materialise says much of the Pixar ethos. Certainly, the studio is famed for its story-first approach to filmmaking. Only when a story had been found capable of expanding the world of Inside Out in a meaningful way would a return find its green light.

In short, the sheer notion of ‘puberty’ was never going to be enough.

It was not until 2022 that Pixar officially announced that the sequel was in development, with US comic Amy Poehler confirmed for a return as the ever effervescent Joy. Fans - or rather the little people in their heads - rejoiced.

As expected, Inside Out is a tale of new emotions. The childhood innocence of simple feeling - Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger - subsumed by the complexities of Anxiety, Envy, Ennui and Embarrassment. Maturity is no picnic.

Joining Poehler, Phyllis Smith and Lewis Black return as Sadness and Anger, with Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Paul Walter Hauser behind the newcomers. Tony Hale and Liza Lapira, meanwhile, replace Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling as Fear and Disgust, the latter two having rejected pay offers just two per-cent of that offered to Poehler.

As Riley’s new emotions take over the control desk of her brain, Joy, Sadness and co. find themselves suppressed and boxed out of sight and mind. And yet, how can a young woman navigate our tricky world without joy?

Unsurprisingly, Inside Out 2 is a visual delight. Another supremely crafted effort from a studio entirely unprepared to rest on its own laurels. A script by Meg LeFauve and Dave Holstein packs in the heart and humour, delivering very bit the emotional rollercoaster. You’d expect no less, of course, from Pixar.

Buckle up, saddle in and prepare for take off. Inside Out 2 is primed to take the lead as the feel good, sad, angry, afraid, anxious, disgusted, nostalgic…well, everything film of the Summer.