Timely Messages of Marriage Equality and Female Empowerment
Pixar’s long awaited animated sequel to the Incredibles (2004) is a laugh-out-loud summer popcorn flick that guarantees to strike a chord with all family members. Not veering too far away from the original formula pays off, as moviegoers’ family reunion with the beloved superpowered Incredible family is sweet. Who knew, a superpowered one-year-old baby named Jack-Jack could steal the show—displaying 17, yes 17 superpowers, of which, self-duplication is the most comical. Talk about up-roaring laughter? Let’s just say, Jack-Jack’s scene with a pesky raccoon could win the best scene comical animation film award, if there were such an award.
With a history of Pixar films dealing with kids’ and adults’ emotions, that’s not the case here—no dwelling on heavy emotional issues—the script is ‘munch on your popcorn fun’ with comical scenes and ultra fast pacing. Here’s what’s really great, it’s appropriate for 3-years-olds on up to grandparents—rare family entertainment for all. And if you’re wondering if you need to see the first film in order to be up to speed on the sequel; I’d say, not really, all you need to know is that all five family members have a multitude of superpowers, with baby Jack-Jack’s emerging throughout the film.
The family member characters are all back with the original voice cast; Craig T. Nelson (Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible), Holly Hunter (Helen Parr / Elastigirl), Sarah Vowell (Violet Parr), Huck Milner (Dashiell Parr /Dash), and Eli Fucile (Jack-Jack Parr). The film opens exactly after the ending of the original with The Underminer (John Ratzenberger) plowing through the city. Here’s a side note on Ratzenberger, he’s the only actor to appear in all of Pixar’s films from Toy Story (1995) on.
Going to battle with The Underminer is no easy feat, causing major destruction, even though Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl make a gallant effort, the fact remains that “Supers” are illegal—causing the duo to go right back into hiding. The situation changes when their Super friend Lucius a.k.a. Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) is approached with a marketing campaign to bring Supers back in action.
This so called campaign appears shady from the get-go as the billionaire brother-sister team of Winston and Evelyn Deavor (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener), appears suspicious. However, the duo overlooks the signs, as they desperately want to get back into helping the public. Helen’s Elastigirl is perfect for the face of the campaign, as she’s the most relatable. As the tables are turned with Bob staying home taking care of the kids, Helen goes off to work to run public relations for Supers, while fighting a supervillain named Screenslaver.
Writer-director Brad Bird, keeps the original blueprint focusing on family at the core. Helen tries her best to adjust to her intense feelings of ‘missing the kids’ and being absent from family activities. Bob, tries to adjust to new math, Violet’s latest crush, Dash’s frustrations of not being able to use his superpowers all while baby Jack-Jack’s powers are randomly being tested at all hours of the evening. Focusing on the ever-changing family dynamic is an excellent choice. It certainly lends itself to some hysterical moments.
Let’s not forget one of my favorite Pixar characters, Edna Mode (voiced by Bird) the superhero fashion designer. At first sight, (in the 2004 film) my thoughts were of Edith Head the costume designer who won eight Academy Awards—with a 5’1” height, black page-boy haircut, large black rimmed glasses for sure the character is based on her. My observations have changed with Incredibles 2, I detect a German-Japanese accent, a red kimono, a strong “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude, scientific explanations behind the superhero costumes and a heightened flamboyant personality. So now, I see shades of “Q” from the James Bond films, the boldness of actress Linda Hunt and the unwavering confidence of Vogue’s Anna Wintour. At any rate, “E” is one of the most complex and interesting animated characters to appear on the big screen—I, for one, adore her.
With Edna’s help throughout the film, (she even babysits Jack-Jack); Bob joins Helen as she’s in trouble. Staying clear from spoiler plot-points, soon the kids all join in and the film truly becomes an “Incredible family affair.”
Sarah Knight Adamson© June 15, 2018