Incredibles 2, 2018.
Directed by Brad Bird.
Featuring the voice talents of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Bird, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, Jonathan Banks, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini, Phil LaMarr, Paul Eiding, Barry Bostwick, Yuri Lowenthal, and John Ratzenberger.
Incredibles 2 arrives on Blu-ray in a package that includes the film on a Blu-ray and a DVD, along with a second high-def disc packed with bonus features and a code for a digital copy that has even more extra stuff. All of the extras add up to an exhaustive look at the making of the movie that Pixar fans will appreciate.
My daughter was two years old when The Incredibles hit theaters in 2004, but that didn’t stop her from falling in love with the movie. I’ve seen it several times in the years since, but I haven’t minded because it speaks to me. I can relate to Bob Parr’s struggles as a middle-aged dad and husband who’s not sure that he’s living up to his potential.
Okay, sure, I’m not a former superhero who longs to get back into the game, if only the feds would make that line of work legal again, but I could still appreciate what Mr. Incredible was going through. And I could certainly connect with The Incredibles’ emphasis on family as the most important adventure any of us could experience.
Which brings me to Incredibles 2, which my daughter anxiously anticipated as soon as she heard it was in the works. She may be 16 now, but she’s still a Pixar fan, and she still loves that superhero family. In fact, she saw the film a couple more times in the theater after the showing we went to as a family this past summer. That’s a pretty ringing endorsement.
And yet, I’ll admit this one didn’t hit me the same way the first one did. Incredibles 2 picks up literally right where the first movie left off, with the Underminer about to wreak havoc on Metroville. When the Parr family and Frozone fail to stop him, though, the resulting damage prompts the government to finally shut down the Superhero Relocation Program.
Without financial assistance from the government, the Parrs struggle to make ends meet, but they find a new benefactor in Winston Deavor, who owns a telecomm called DevTech. Deavor and his sister, Evelyn, tell Bob and Helen Parr of their plan to pull off a publicity stunt that will help the public trust superheroes again and lead to their legalization.
Helen, as Elastigirl, is chosen to participate in the stunt, leaving Bob to fend for himself as the Parr kids go through a new set of growing pains, including Jack-Jack’s new superpowers that would make any other parent thankful that they just have to get up for 2 AM feedings. There’s nothing in this sequence of the film that’s as poignant as Dash’s struggles in the first movie – he’s dealing with math this time, which sets up some humorous commentary from Bob about how they teach math in school these days.
Meanwhile, Elastigirl foils the dastardly plans of a new villain called the Screenslaver, who uses hypnosis to put people under his control, and all seems right with the world as Deavor announces a summit of world leaders to discuss legalizing superheroes once more. However, Helen discovers that there’s more to Screenslaver than she first realized, but she, Bob, and Frozone are hypnotized by the real villain, leaving it up to the kids to save the day.
As rollicking adventures go, Incredibles 2 fully satisfies. The twists in the plot aren’t as well hidden as in the first film, but perhaps the 14 years of superhero movies since then have conditioned us to expect certain kinds of reveals. And while this one didn’t hit me between the eyes with its family theme like the first one did, I suppose I need to be less of a curmudgeon and appreciate this sequel as a well-crafted piece of entertainment.
This home video release includes the movie on Blu-ray and DVD platters, along with a code for a digital copy. There’s also a second Blu-ray with the bulk of the bonus features. The film Blu-ray includes the sweet short movie Bao, which was shown before Incredibles 2 in theaters, as well as a new short called Auntie Edna, which tells the story of Edna Mode babysitting Jack-Jack. It feels like a bit of a rehash of the 2005 short Jack-Jack Attack, but it does showcase even more previously unknown powers for everyone’s favorite super baby.
The film disc also includes the 19-minute Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird, which features the director, as well as various cast and crew members, talking about his influences, his career that stretches back to his early days with one of Disney’s fabled Nine Old Men, and more. It’s a nice look at a guy who has made animated movies his calling, with the exception of a couple big-budget live-action films along the way.
There’s also a commentary track for the film with participation by animation crew members Dave Mullins, Alan Barillaro, Tony Fucile, and Bret Parker. While Bird’s omission is a bummer, this track is a worthwhile listen for anyone who’s interested in the nuts and bolts of making an animated movie. The participants talk about everything from the math that was required to make the physics work properly to little tidbits like Usher’s cameo as the voice of a limo driver. Almost all of them also worked on the first movie, so they talk a lot about how making that one differed from this one.
The rest of the bonus features are found on the second Blu-ray and include:
- Super Stuff (6.5 minutes): This covers the story world, which is described as “retro futurism” due to its 60s-inspired sets and vehicles mixed with advanced technology. I always figured that was a nod to the 60s Marvel comics that featured Jack Kirby’s wonderfully designed machines and other contraptions.
- Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes (11 minutes): The cast and crew compare the Parr family’s dynamics with their own families.
- Superbaby (5 minutes): A couple Disney Channel stars talk about the making of the movie. This is pretty much just a silly promo piece.
- Ralph Eggleston: Production Designer (2 minutes): He talks about his job.
- Making Bao (6 minutes): Writer/director Domee Shi talks about her movie, which is a metaphor for raising children and serves as a nice counterpoint to the themes in Incredibles 2. She reveals that she was the first woman at Pixar to direct a short film, which surprised me.
- Heroes and Villains (25 minutes): The cast and crew chat about the movie’s main characters.
- Vintage features (3 minutes): This is a series of commercials for toys based on Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone, as if they existed in the world of the movie.
- Deleted scenes (40 minutes): Pixar is known for ruthlessly cutting and reworking scenes during development to tighten up the story as much as possible, and this batch of 10 deleted scenes is a perfect example of that. Much of what’s here probably would have been deemed good enough for other movies, but that’s not the Pixar way. Brad Bird provides introductions for all of these scenes where he talks about why a lot of this stuff didn’t make the final cut.
Also included are a few Incredibles 2 trailers. The digital copy has what’s on the Blu-ray as well as even more bonus stuff, which is a trend I appreciate, since the digital version always comes with the physical movie. Of course, there’s also a not-so-great trend where sometimes studios yank access to digital movies, so I suppose you should explore the digital version sooner rather than later.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★