Following Pixar's and Disney's lead, I'm beginning my review of INCREDIBLES 2 with a brief critique of Pixar's animated short which precedes the main event. Entitled BAO, it is one of Pixar's sweetest yet, telling the story of an Asian mother's love and devotion to her only child through food. It's amazingly warm, funny and totally engaging.
INCREDIBLES 2 reunites audiences everywhere with the Parr family; Helen/Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter), Bob/Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell), Dash (voiced by Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack, the baby (voiced by Eli Fucile, replacing Spencer Fox) --- who, most emphatically, steals the movie! Following the opening battle involving the Incredibles and Froxone/Lucius Best (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) against the Underminer (voiced by John Ratzenberger), the Super Relocation Program is scrapped and super heroes are still illegal.
But the CEO of DEVTECH, Winston Deavor (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) an his sister, Evelyn (voiced by Catherine Keener) have other plans for the "supers" --- they want to make them heroes again by changing public opinion. They invite Helen/Elastigirl to New Urbrem to fight crime, while Bob stays home with the children --- a scenario he's not entirely pleased with. What could possibly go wrong? This is the premise for INCREDIBLES 2 --- and it's a rollicking adventure for everyone!
Brad Bird has written and directed both INCREDIBLES (2004) and INCREDIBLES 2. These dynamically animated movies are so superior, you truly forget you're watching a cartoon. There are way too many examples of the animators' awesome work to enumerate, but one of the most appreciated by our screening audience has Frozone creating enough ice to stop Winston's hydroplaning boat from crashing into New Urbrem --- totally spectacular!
And, as I mentioned, Jack-Jack is the definitive star of INCREDIBLES 2. From slapping his father awake during a nighttime reading of "Doozles are Dozing", to spending a night with Edna Mode (voiced by Brad Bird) to get his own costume, this baby rocks his newfound super powers. He's a hoot --- and a handful!
Violet and Dash have their moments, too. Violet, now 14, has boy problems, exacerbated by Bob. He's forced to handle everyday teen issues, and even Dash's "new math" problems --- a testament to Bird's grasp of typical family life and his superb writing. One outstanding element of INCREDIBLES 2 animation is Violet's long, straight hair. It's movement is so lifelike --- a real feat for the crew.
Though INCREDIBLES 2 is an animated family movie --- based upon a family with super
powers --- there are a few moments which much younger children may find terrifying. And there is one instance of gun violence which I feel is, in this time in our country, totally unnecessary.
That noted, INCREDIBLES 2 is wildly entertaining and a lot of laughs!If you don't have any
children --- no matter --- go anyway. I guarantee you will find INCREDIBLES 2 vastly enjoyable.
Opinion: See It Now!
Fans of the Oscar-winning "INCREDIBLES" (2004) have had to wait 14 years for a sequel, so the question is, was it worth it? Thanks to writer/director Brad Bird's imaginative genius (he also won a second Best Animated Feature Oscar for "Ratatouille", 2007), the answer is a resounding yes!
With a running time just under two hours, INCREDIBLES 2 is longer than most animated films, but this one never wears out its welcome. The movie features nearly non-stop laugh-out-loud humor, most of it coming as Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) assumes the role of a stay-at-home dad to take care of his and wife Helen's (Holly Hunter) three children, including baby Jack-Jack. This infant in a diaper is a holy terror, showing off his numerous super powers for the first time --- more on that in a minute.
Helen is forced to go on the road fighting evil, as her alter-ego Elastigirl, because super heroes are now illegal, and a cost-benefit analysis proves that Elastigirl fights crime while incurring less damage than her husband. This will help in the effort to restore respect and legitimacy to super heroes, thanks mainly to the campaign from billionaire businessman Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener).
So Elastigirl dons her new costume and rides her shiny new motorcycle, while Bob tends to the kids, with hilarious results. Jack-Jack's formerly unknown super powers are many and varied. Among others, he has laser vision, he can turn into a demon tot, and best of all, he can duplicate himself into multiple babies. But when Bob falls asleep while reading Jack-Jack a bedtime story, the baby smacks his daddy on the face with the back of his tiny hand --- the funniest moment in the entire film.
Bird's movie never lingers too long on any one facet of the story. Moving quickly back and forth between Bob's parenting antics and Helen's crime-fighting efforts, INCREDIBLES 2 is a pure delight. I'm ready to see it again.
With newer and more sophisticated technology than existed in 2004, Bird and his talented team have improved upon the original. Even a simple adjustment, like adding human eyes to their characters, is important.
The first INCREDIBLES earned a whopping $633 million worldwide --- look for INCREDIBLES 2 to top that figure. John Lasseter --- let's call him Mr. Midas --- executive produces and Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino (UP, 2009) returns to score this sequel.
One final note: the animated short entitled BAO, preceding the feature, is amazing. It is incredibly funny and original. When you venture out to see INCREDIBLES 2, make sure you're seated early enough to take in this gem, a sure-fire candidate for Best Animated Short at the next Academy Awards.
Opinion: Strong See It Now!