This week’s film is the animated superhero feature Incredibles 2, once again starring the voices of Craig T Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson. The Incredibles aren’t just any run of the mill superheroes, they’re family. The super couple, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, don’t just chase around villains, they have to deal with raising three super-kids and all the stress, pitfalls and rewards of parenting. This is Disney’s superhero equivalent of The MunstersI or The Adams Family.
To many people, it is simply mindboggling that an animated film with recycled themes could pull in over $500 million globally in just two weeks. But to those who know the Incredibles returning writer and director Brad Bird, the explosive success of Incredibles 2 is anything but a surprise.
Brad Bird is simply the soul of Pixar. As an animator, Bird is adamant that animation remains purely an art form, not a genre. As a filmmaker, Bird is more like Alfred Hitchcock than Walt Disney. To Bird, who began animation at 14-years-old, characters are the best special effects and getting the audience to care about the characters is the best way to create tension and suspense sustaining the pace of a film.
After a 14-year hiatus, make no mistake, Bird and the Incredibles don’t miss a beat. Now, new audiences and ‘old’ are treated to hilarious adventures of still ‘illegal’ superheroies, once again forced out of hiding to take on not only a new villain, but new math.
Also returning is Edna Mode- The feisty superhero designer who helps now stay-at-home Mr. Incredible deal with super-teen angst, boyfriend problems, and the emerging powers of the super-baby of the family, Jack Jack. Jack Jack’s super-coming out culminates in an extraordinary sequence when the baby duels a racoon.
In the end, as he did so skillfully making Ratatouille, Bird deftly captures a blend of nostalgia, contemporary topics, and outright hilarity of self-effacing characters while staying true to the super-themes like self-sacrifice and altruism over the pursuit of wealth and power, or even a high-school date.
So, on my ski trail rating system, Incredibles 2 earns my highest Black Diamon ski trail rating. I highly recommend skipping the violence of Sicario: Day of the Saldodo and Jurassic World’s effects over substance and enjoy the characters of Incredibles 2, because they are the best special effects on the big screen this holiday week.
Incredibles 2 is rated PG for action, mild language, and an old-school, animated animal beat down. No animals were actually harmed in the making of this cartoon.
The Friday Film Review is sponsored by the Park City Film Series.