‘Blu-ray or Bust’
INCREDIBLES 2 (2018, PG, 118 minutes, PIXAR/WALT DISNEY STUDIOS)
It took ten years for Disney and Pixar to make a sequel to one of their highly-successful films. Ten years. That restraint alone should garner them some praise; in today’s climate, Hollywood seems hell-bent on providing endless franchises that teeter on losing whatever momentum was set up eight films ago.
So to pick up on a film with no current momentum at all seems an interesting choice. Given that writer/director Brad Bird, of THE IRON GIANT and the original INCREDIBLES film, continues where he left off, but makes the film resonate with today’s social and political strife. He even advises, via the special features, that the time felt right for his superhero family to return. That may be so, but for a film geared towards the younger set, he seems a tad long winded.
One of my recent gripes targets the length of animated films. Back in the day (you know, when I was a kid, and the only movies we had were from the firelight in our caves dancing across our cave paintings), your typical animated film clocked in at about eighty-five minutes. Nowadays? Between INCREDIBLES 2, RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, COCO, and CARS 3 (the last four Disney features), the average runtime is one-hundred and twelve minutes. Not very concise storytelling, and it shows; while I2 does have some redeeming moments, ultimately it is a train on unsteady tracks.
Picking up at an unspecified time following the first film, “supers” have been banned from saving the world—or, at least, from fighting crime. They make too much of a mess when apprehending the bad guys, and all of the public destruction has become bothersome. Along comes a rich tycoon and his tech-savvy sister, who hire Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), the matriarch of the Parr family, to be the new poster child of a movement whose sole purpose is to reintroduce supers as a humanitarian benefit. Which means that Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), aka “Dad”, to look after the three kids. Playing on the stereotypical idea that dads have no idea what they are doing (I was a single father for some years, and my kids can probably attest to the fact that it is definitely an imperfect learning process), the viewer is presented with two distinct storylines, only one of which is action-packed enough to hold your attention.
It seems that baby Jack-Jack is coming into his superpower, which apparently is every other superpower you could think of. No spoilers, but the best parts of the movie are any and everything pertaining to the baby. From his infectious giggle to his battle with a raccoon, the scene-stealer here is the only one that doesn’t speak proper English. Mr. Bird went out of his way to give 95% of the laughs to, arguably, the most powerful member of the family. This isn’t a bad thing, other than that when he isn’t on screen, his absence is distracting. Yes, Elastigirl’s storyline is important, but kids won’t care too much about that, and neither will you. The unpredictability of Jack is what makes this film fun.
There are several special features included with the disc, but make sure you check out the two animated shorts included. One is “Auntie Edna”, which is more Jack-Jack, and the wonderful “Bao”, a story about a mother and her…dumpling? I think it’s a dumpling…
Up next for the animation studio at Disney is FROZEN 2 and TOY STORY 4. More sequels, of course. In fact, the only original project they have forthcoming is a take on the “Jack and the Beanstalk” story, GIGANTIC—and that release date has been pushed back to 2020. Keep your fingers crossed that that far-off date isn’t so that they can take the extra time to make a cartoon that breaks the two-hour mark…
Film Grade: B-
Special Features: A
Blu-ray Necessary: It is an animated film, so, yes—everything is more vibrant in the format
- T.S. Kummelman