Incredibles 2
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Incredibles 2

 

There are certain common assumptions about movie sequels. Among them is that the following movies cannot fully approach the level of craftsmanship established by the original. As with all sweeping generalizations, there are notable exceptions. This encompasses such films that the phenomena are so well known that the exceptions have achieved their level of notoriety. The movies included in this rarified category transcend being great sequels to incredible examples of the cinematic artistry. The film considered here has joined the likes of ‘Aliens’ and ‘Godfather II’. That movie is ‘The Incredibles 2’. Admittedly, the comparison to ‘The Godfather was hyperbole, but the point remains valid. Considering this is an animated movie the achievement is more remarkable. The original movie, ‘The Incredibles’, was 2004 from Pixar with the distinction of being one of the first movies to win the new category for the Academy Awards, Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. The sequel faces extraordinary odds to rise to such a level but ‘The Incredibles 2’ came as close as possible. The original was a groundbreaking film, trailblazing in the field of cinematic animation. The sequel could not possibly attain that distinction, but it did provide an amazingly entertaining experience. The principal reason for this success is found in the fundamental paradigm created by the Disney-Pixar partnership. The animation is that the primary demographic is no longer children in the form of cartoons. The core of all Pixar films is more than the unique style of animation but more importantly, the sturdy foundation in the exploration of human emotions, for decades animation was ostensibly light-hearted fun focusing on a child’s level of understanding. The genius of this partnership formed a synergy through the combination of Pixar’s mastery of the emerging art form of computer graphics with the emotionally engaging storytelling honed by Disney over almost eighty years of creating animated classics. Pixar revolutionized cinematic animation while Disney created the field. This is a formidable combination cable of allowing a sequel to realize the basic goal of a sequel, extend the situations of the original while delving deeper into the exploration of the character’s personalities and relationships.

Recently, the major superhero franchises have undertaken the exploration of the real-world consequences of the climatic battles that inevitably conclude superhero Helen Parr / Elastigirl movies. The circumstances are always the same. The superhero battles his powerful nemesis as they careen through the city smashing into buildings, frequently directly through it destroying apartments and offices with reckless disregard for property and life. Until recently the story ended there as the superhero ignores the devastation and collateral damage surrounding him. Most notably the aftermath was addressed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the MCU, forcing the Avengers to contend with restrictions imposed by a globally accepted set of accords severely limiting their autonomy. Pixar pulled this plot device into the Incredibles’ universe. The family of protagonists consisting of Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), his wife, Helen / Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter), and their two children, Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell) and Dashiell (voiced by Huck Milner) were joined by close family friend, Lucius Best (Samuel L. Jackson) , better known as the master of ice and cold, Frozone. Together they thwarted the insidious machinations of the terrorist, the Underminer, but the city of Metroville is all but destroyed. Previously superheroes had been driven underground through the Superhero Relocation Program. The continued destruction resulting from their battles reached the point to elicit the ire of the public. It might seem that Pixar appropriated the idea from Marvel, but it is more likely that the concept of accountability for those epic battles has been pervading the Comic-Con community for some time exacerbated by the 2013 DCEU movie, ‘Man of Steel.’ Besides, it is all in the family since both Pixar and Marvel are under the expansive corporate umbrella of the Walt Disney Company. A side effect of this plotline overlap is that it tends to confer a certain real-world nature to the animation.

This connection to reality continues with the choice of supervillain the superfamily must face, Screensaver. The nefarious power wielded by this evil doer is the ability to project irresistible images to any electronic screen connected to the web. The story unfolds the audience must face the realization of how overwhelming prevalent such devices are in our regular lives. A mere glance at a screen controlled by the bad guy instantly abdicates their free will to the Screensaver. Bob and Helen are approached by Winston Deavor (voiced by Bob Odenkirk), an extremely wealthy owner of a large telecommunication company, DevTech, who is enthralled by superheroes. The co-owner of the firm with Winston is his sister, Evelyn (voiced by Catherine Keener), who is the technological genius responsible for the lucrative success of the company. Winston meets with Bob and Helen explaining that the most significant problem they face as superheroes is their public image. What they need is a rebranding. As it is usually Bob who is primarily responsible for the collateral chaos, it is decided that Helen will go on the missions alone. To help glamorize her new public persona several flashy changes are implemented. The coolest one is arguably the ‘last cycle.’ A tricked-out motorcycle that propels her through her missions. The front and back sections can separate held together only by Elastigirl’s stretching body. As Helen went out on thrilling and dangerous missions, Bob became a stay at home dad caring for their infant son, Jack-Jack (voiced by Eli Fucile).

In an after-credit scene from the first film and several short features, it was revealed that baby Jack-Jack was nor devoid of powers as his parents believed. He had the predilection for scaring babysitters out of their wats. Here his powers continue to manifest and grow, endowing nearly unlimited power in the form of an infant without any constraints. There are extra scenes on the disc and online that cover his many abilities in detail but within the context here suffice it to say that there are at least 17 major powers. When Bob became overwhelmed with his paternal responsivities, he turns to family friend and superhero costume designers, Edna Mode (voiced by Brad Bird). This supremely self-confident, diminutive artistic tour-de-force initially is dismayed at the thought of such a mundane task as caring for a boring infant. As soon as she realizes the untapped potential possessed by Jack—Jack, she designs her ultimate creation, a costume capable of contending with the baby’s many abilities. He is fully capable of going up against the most powerful adversary but for Jack-Jack, is archnemesis is a local raccoon. The trademark family-oriented humor shines through with the childlike enthusiasm that is embodied by Jack-Jack, there is a touch of irony that the first adult to realize Jack-Jack’s potential is the normally aloof and condescending Edna Mode would make that connection. This segment of the story represented a phase In family life most people find relatable. It is the point when an infant begins to manifest a unique personality becoming an integral part of the family. The other child undergoing a major hallmark of life is Violet.

Initially, her invisibility was a metaphor for a shy teenage girl wanting to disappear from the judgmental gaze of her peers. Now, after the family adventures, Violet develops a crush on a boy in her class, Tony Rydinger (Michael Bird).he finally muster the nerve to ask Violet out making a date with her. Unfortunately, he witnesses her family in action without their disguises which prompts the Government agent in charge of the superhero program, Rick Dicker (Jonathan Banks), to erase his short-term memory including his date with Violet. As a touch of trivia. Two members of the ‘Breaking Bad’/’Better Call Saul’ cast are present here, Bob Odenkirk, as Saul and Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut. The main purpose of a sequel is to continue the story and probe deeper into the development of the characters. Rarely is this objective achieved with the panache and showcase for such talent as demonstrated here. This is a film that is destined to become an enduring classic.

Posted 01/04/2019

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