It’s been twenty-three years since Pixar became THE name in family entertainment, and it has been fourteen years since we last checked in with the Parr family, known collectively as The Incredibles.
Brad Bird, the writer-director of the first film serves in the same capacity in this film. And while we may have waited fourteen years to see what happens next with the Parr family, for them, it has been only about five minutes – in the film opens with their confrontation with the Underminer (John Ratzenberger) which was the final scene of the first film.
We join Bob (Craig T. Nelson), and Helen (Holly Hunter) with their children Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile) as they confront the villain, suffer an accident causes Violet’s just beginning dating life to implode, and deal with babysitting their youngest.
The story centres on Helen’s alter-ego Elasti-girl as she, Bob, and their friend Lucius aka Frozone are approached by a brother and sister pair (Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener) who are seeking to repeal the No Supers Law.
As Helen gets a taste of solo-adventure, Bob embarks on an adventure of his own, that of parenting. He learns that it’s not as easy as Helen makes it look, and he tries to sort Violet’s love life, Dash’s math homework, and the discovery that Jack-Jack has a number of powers.
There’s excitement aplenty as a new villain, Screenslaver, threatens the world, and the action sequences are on par with anything you’d see in a live-action superhero movie, even as Bird pays homage to heroic, and family films that have gone before.
The first film set the gold standard in family, and superhero entertainment, The Incredibles 2 raises that standard to platinum with a story that perfectly balances it’s action beats with a genuine heart, that will speak to both kids and their parents.
The pacing, the beats, the story, are all tightly wound and play out without a missed opportunity, there are laughs (the raccoon bit is hilarious!), heart-felt moments, and incredibly tense, and well-crafted action sequences.
Joining the voice talent is Jonathan Banks, Sophia Bush, Barry Bostwick, Isabella Rossellini and Phil LaMarr, all backed by another gorgeous score by Micheal Giacchino.
This is one of those rare sequels that is better than the original and it’s a fantastic film! Yes, the first film established the world, the look, the style and the rules that govern it, but this one expands out, exploring new corners as well as new characters – Screenslaver is a great villain, and the way they work is terrifying, seeing those hypnotic lenses get slapped on characters is actually really frightening.
The world of the Incredibles walks a line that is almost photo real in terms of sets, weather, locations, while being stylised when it comes to the characters and no matter how good it looked in 2004, it looks amazingly more so in 2018.
In a summer of blockbusters that both hit and miss, it’s difficult to know where and what to see in the theatres. Pixar proves, beyond a doubt, yet again, that they are a sure thing. Make sure you check this one out! And make sure you enjoy the short before it, Bao, which I was delighted to see takes place in Toronto!
The Incredibles 2 opens this Friday!