Movie review: It’s just ‘Incredibles 2’
This image released by Disney Pixar shows a scene from “Incredibles 2,” in theaters on June 15. (Disney/Pixar via AP)
Yes, the sequel, “Incredibles 2,” outdoes “Incredibles,” released nearly 15 years ago, in 2004.
“Incredibles 2,” as with many Disney-Pixar animation features films, is preceded by brief interviews with those who voice the characters, including Craig T. Nelson (Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible) and Holly Hunter (Mrs. Parr/Elastigirl), who joke about the lag time between the original and its sequel.” To paraphrase, they promise, “It’s worth the wait.”
They are correct.
“Incredibles 2” is one of the most enjoyable, impressive and, well, yes, incredible, feature animated films in years. Look for an Oscar animated feature film nomination for “Incredibles 2.”
“Incredibles 2” may even garner an Oscar feature film nomination, a la “Beauty and the Beast,” released in 1991 and the first animation feature to receive a nomination in the best picture category.
And why not?
“Incredibles 2” out-marvels the repugnant and nihilistic feature movies that have recently populated the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In contrast to not so marvelous Marvel CGI-dominated features, “Incredibles 2” is upbeat, at times laugh-out-loud hilarious and satisfying entertainment for nearly the entire family.
Credit writer-director Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” 2004, Oscar recipient, Animated Feature; “Ratatouille,” 2007, Oscar recipient, Animated Feature; Oscar nominee, screenplay, “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille”; and also director, “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” 2011; “Tomorrowland,” 2015) for expanding his vision of an American family facing the usual problems of raising an infant, dealing with a preteen boy and coping with the teenage angst of a young girl, as well as keeping the home fires of love burning, and, of course, flexing those superpowers. Bird is on par with the characters of the Parr family.
Bird has a clear sense of pacing, character-revealing dialogue, and action, and “Incredibles 2” has just the right mix. It’s not necessary to see the film in 3D, the format in which it was seen for this review.
“Incredibles 2” is the second feature movie this year that I would want to see again because there is so much going on visually, plot-wise and in dialogue. The other feature movie I would see again is “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” These two movies are the best of the lot of summer movie releases so far in 2018.
What’s especially great about “Incredibles 2” is the matchup of the voices of the characters to the visuals of the characters.
Nelson, as the voice of Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible, has right sense of smugness now mixed with a dollop of doubt in “Incredibles 2,” when he becomes a stay-at-home dad taking care of Jack-Jack, (voiced by Eli Fucile).
As mom, Mrs. Parr/Elastigirl (Hunter, who has a wonderfully authoritative overbite lisp for the voice role) goes about making the world safe for superheroes, who have been banned.
The voice talent is overall superb: Sarah Vowell (Violet Parr), Huckleberry Milner (Dashiell Parr, Catherine Keener (Evelyn Deavor), Bob Odenkirk (Winston Deavor) and Samuel L. Jackson (Lucius Best-Frozone).
My quibbles with “Incredibles 2” are that the plot device of banning superheroes is rather lame, tired and clichéd, as is the opening sequence having to do with The Underminer (voiced by Pixar standby, good-luck charm, John Ratzenberger), who is attacking the city as a surrogate, or stand-in, for a veiled anti-fossil fuels industry (“Drill, baby, drill.”) commentary.
Also, the music by Michael Giacchino is often too similar to the “James Bond” movie theme, invoking an all-too familiar brass, bass and guitar fanfare.
Once the plot is set in motion, “Incredibles 2” becomes more of a story about family and outside challenges. There’s a good plot twist, which I saw coming, and which won’t be revealed here.
There’s a subplot and some philosophical dialogue that questions the concept of superhero worship, as expressed and symbolized by Screenslaver-Pizza Guy (Bill Wise). “Incredibles 2” manages to bite the very hands that feed it. That would be you, the moviegoing audience.
“Incredibles 2” eschews the de rigeur ironic use of pop songs, and jettisons typical pop-song montages.
The computer-generated animation of “Incredibles 2” is believable, beautiful and wondrous to behold. The attention to detail is amazing, even in brief scenes, such as, for example, in a high school where the hall lockers and hall doors are banged-up and rusty.
Overall, the movie has a terrific retro 1950s and 1960s feel, sort of an update of “The Jetsons” TV show (1962-63), but with up-to-date concepts of superheroes’ superpowers.
The superpowers are especially brilliantly executed, again way better than the recent raft of bloated Marvel Cinematic Universe superheroes and superpowers. Part of the problem is that Marvel characters are based on live-action filmmaking mixed with CGI. The all-CGI animation feature “Incredibles 2” knows no bounds.
“Bao,” a Pixar animation short, precedes “Incredibles 2.” I couldn’t make heads or tails of it and wasn’t particularly impressed with the storyline, although the animation, with no dialogue, is interesting. I found the storyline to be borderline racist regarding Asians.
“Incredibles 2,” MPAA Rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give “parental guidance.” May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.) for action sequences and some brief mild language; Genre: Animation, Action; Run time: 1 hr., 58 mins.; Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
Credit Readers Anonymous: “Incredibles 2” has visual references to the “Johnny Quest” animated TV series (1964-65) and “The Outer Limits” television science fiction series (1963-65).
Box Office, June 22: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” put it all back together, opening at No. 1 with a stellar $150 million, chasing “Incredibles 2” from its one-week perch at No. 1 to No. 2, with $80.9 million, $350.3 million, two weeks.
3. “Ocean’s 8” sank one spot with $11.6 million, $100.3 million, three weeks. 4. “Tag” was it for another one-slot drop, $8.2 million, $30.3 million, two weeks. 5. “Deadpool 2” hung out at the same spot, $5.2 million, $304.1 million, six weeks. 6. “A Star Wars Story” zoomed down another two slots, $4 million, $202.1 million, five weeks. 7. “Hereditary” again moved down one slot, $3.8 million, $35 million, three weeks. 8. “Superfly” flew down one spot, $3.4 million, $15.3 million, two weeks. 9 “Avengers: Infinity War” marched down one spot, $2.4 million, $669.5 million, nine weeks. 10. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” the Mr. Rogers documentary opened the Top 10 door, with $1.8 million, $4.1 million, three weeks.
Unreel, June 29:
“Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” R: Stefano Sollima directs Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, and Jeffrey Donovan in the crime thriller sequel. The drug war on the United States-Mexico border has escalated. Cartels are trafficking terrorists across the U.S. border. Federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with Alejandro.
Four popcorn boxes out of five popcorn boxes.