Is Pixar analyzing itself with Vice-Versa 2? [critique]

Effective, sometimes very funny, but without genius: is the sequel to Vice-Versa the perfect symbol of Pixar of the 1920s?

You know this legend aroundAliens, the return ? To pitch the sequel to Ridley Scott's film, James Cameron would have simply added an “S” to the word Alien on the board – before transforming, with an additional feature, this Aliens in Alien$ for the greatest joy of executives from the studio who immediately grasped the thing. It's a legend, of course, but we think about it a little ahead Vice-Versa 2Or Vice-Versas, since the promise of the sequel is to introduce new emotions into the head of Riley, in full puberty. It's a funny scene: puberty red alert goes off and jaded workers ravage the little girl's brain, leaving a nameless mess and paving the way for the new team: Anxiety, Embarrassment, Boredom and Envy. The clash with the elders, Joy, Anger and the others, will play out while the heroine takes part in a hockey camp which will test her self-esteem and her concept of friendship.

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It's quite fast, clever and funny, but where Vice versa transformed the cleverness of its mechanisms (Pixar, a great manipulator of emotions) into an absolutely perfect melodrama, shot through with incredible moments of grace, Vice-Versa 2 aims for efficiency alone. The film actually repeats the plot of the first, including the finale, with new characters who are more or less funny – the peak being the appearance of Riley's repressed memories, imprisoned in a vault, including a video game character from the 2000s and another in a series Dora the Explorer. Very funny stuff, which takes the film towards Roger Rabbit light, but still smell like horizontal creative brainstorming a mile away. A fascinating scene: Anxiety directs little hands in a open space sinister, fake amusement park but real penal colony, where employees are tasked at their drawing board with imagining dozens of scenarios, each more amusing than the other, before Joie hacks the system by creating, on the contrary, perspectives very happy future for Riley. A riot ensues.

Should we therefore make the film a commentary on the Pixar – or even the Disney – of the 1920s? Should we understand that Anxiety must not dominate creation, that Joy must once again illuminate the drawing tables? Yes, it’s indisputable, Pixar was better before; yes, the new teams do not have the genius of dream team from the beginning, the one who has designed in twenty years a series of earth-shattering economic artistic hits, Toy Story has Vice versa. What if the film said that the old primary emotions were them, the Joy and the Anger, the capable Ancients? Faced with the new generation of more complex and self-conscious creators – Anxiety and Embarrassment? “Maybe that’s what growing up means feeling less joy”declares a disillusioned and curiously lucid Joy on the threshold of the last act of a film which deep down absolutely does not deny the storytelling Jungian which serves as a lazy canvas for the majority of studio films.

GALLERY
Pixar / PIXAR / © 2024 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

SO, Vice-Versas Or Vice-Ver$a ? While Disney is failing in theaters and has missed the post-covid comeback, Vice-Versa 2 can be seen more serenely as an absolutely cunning sequel (Giacchino is no longer even on the soundtrack), made to fill the rooms and it's not so serious, provided you don't look too much into the memory vault repressed. Speaking of memories, at two points in the film a nice emotion in the form of Grandma Cake appears, but everyone dismisses it on the grounds that “it’s too early for her” : you won't be surprised if we tell you that it's called Nostalgia.

Vice Versa 2, by Kelsey Mann. Released June 19.



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