ROGER THOMAS FILM REVIEW: ‘The Incredibles 2’: 14 years for us, moments for our heroes
It has been 14 years since the first “Incredibles” adventure came across the screen. The original opened the first week of November 2004.
“The Incredibles” was nominated for four Oscars: Original Screenplay, Sound, Sound Mixing and Best Animated Feature. The film went on to win two Oscars for Animated Feature and Sound and was critically admired by many. It is not often that an animated film wins two Academy Awards.
The film was also a popular success, collecting $261 million domestically and $631 million worldwide. Considering those numbers, it is surprising that the audience has been waiting so long for a sequel.
After all that success, nothing happened. Those of us who loved the first film about a “super hero family,” are glad the nearly 14 years are over and we were ready for something special.
All the characters are back. The story picks up exactly where the first film ended. Those who have seen the first story will remember that a villain named “Underminer” is attacking the city at the end of the first film. Underminer is back and the Incredibles are ready for him.
There are several observations I have of this new film.
First, I think “Incredibles 2” is more complex than the previous story. I do not remember pondering what was on the screen as much in the first film.
Simply put, there is more happening in this second episode. I think the first film appealed to adults but this one may appeal even more to the older fans.
Perhaps, the filmmakers wanted to make a film about many things including the changes that come in life, and the new roles that come to one in the different stages of life.
On the other hand, there are enough colors, action and humor to keep the younger fans happy.
Second, this adventure reveals how much animation has advanced in 14 years. Before seeing the second film, I re-watched the original.
With the recent viewing of the first film, I was set for the second story. In the first minutes of the new animation one sees the improvements in the animated characters, settings and all things on screen.
The humor in the film is rapid most of the time. Jack-Jack, the youngest of the Incredibles, has a lot more screen time and that is fun. All the family members have their moments of humor and opportunities to be heroes.
There is also a sweet and poignant subplot with Violet Parr and the loss of a teenage boy’s attention. In Violet’s boyfriend’s case, his memories have been erased to protect Violet’s idenity. For Violet, it is a sad loss.
Many of us experienced something similar to that as teenagers. No matter how one loses a special friend during the teenage years, there is sorrow and regret.
Another element in the film that is incredibly intelligent is the flip in the roles of the parents. In the first film, at least in the early scenes, Bob Parr, voiced by Craig T. Nelson, is fighting crime alone, leaving his wife to care for their three children.
In this new film, Bob is staying at home with the children while Helen Parr, voiced by Holly Hunter, is the one going to work each day. That flip in roles offers several of the best jokes of the film.
And by the way, Frozone, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, is once again helping the “Incredibles” to fight crime.
In the end, I enjoyed most of the film, but I did note one thing.
A weakness in the film is that there is not enough screen time for “Edna.” Fans of the first film remember how much Edna did in that production. Edna appears in “2,” but it is a very limited appearance. May the filmmakers give Edna a bigger part in the third film. Perhaps she could be kidnapped and rescued by the Incredible family.
In the end, I found “Incredibles 2” to be a fun and smart film.
I am already anticipating the next chapter in this family’s story. This is another fine addition to the Pixar canon.
Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.