Incredibles 2 (Rated B)
Cast: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine Keener
Dwight’s rating: Good
If you’re an adult looking for something in theaters that the whole family can enjoy, it would probably be easier to travel back in time to a year when there were actually movies suitable for little ones than to find one so far in 2018.
Up to this point, there have been startlingly few options for younger filmgoers; this is all the more surprising when you think of all those giant blockbuster, comic book-based superhero movies released this year. These just aren’t made for kids anymore.
Well, just in time for summer, Disney/Pixar’s new animated “Incredibles 2” is here, and it’s something adults and children alike will be able to enjoy.
Even better, you don’t need to have even heard of the blockbuster, Oscar-winning original to get the gist of this one. (I can barely remember “The Incredibles”, and haven’t seen it since it was launched in theaters way back in 2004). But here are the basics: a family of superheroes is forced to assume mundane lives after the government bans all super-powered activities.
“Incredibles 2” picks up where that film left off. This time, Helen/Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob/Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voiced by Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life. It’s a tough transition for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again, which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.
It may not represent the very best of Pixar (look to the “Toy Story” series, “Up” and “WALL-E” for that), but “Incredibles 2” is certainly an improvement over some of the studio’s recent outings — like the dour “Coco” or the totally unnecessary “Finding Dory” — and probably its best since 2015’s innovative “Inside Out”.
Younger filmgoers will appreciate the storylines involving the kids, particularly anything with baby Jack-Jack. Adults, too, will likely agree he steals the film. But, as with most Pixar productions, “Incredibles 2” is more than slightly skewed toward adults. And the biggest, loudest laughs and reactions came from the adults in the showing I attended.
In keeping with that adult feel, there are a number of serious, lengthy and detailed conversations between the adult characters. At times, these feel a little out of place in what is largely meant to be lighthearted, family-friendly entertainment, and these “talks” sometimes weigh the picture down.
But once we move past these moments, we get to bask in what truly sets this picture apart — its impressive visuals. Each year, every new Pixar release seems to elevate the standards of animation by what we’d expect in at least a half-decade’s worth of advancements. And while last year’s “Coco” appeared to reach astounding heights, “Incredibles 2” is arguably even more lifelike and stunning.
One particular scene involving what’s supposed to be hypnosis features intense flashing lights. It is an amazing cinematic achievement and so spectacularly surreal that there have been warnings that it could induce seizures in those suffering from epilepsy.
Once again this weekend, “Incredibles 2” — which broke the box office record for best animated film opening in history — is the only game in town if you’re looking for something for children. Everything else here is either rated C or T.
But it’s a little early to say the movie industry has forgotten all about the kids just yet, as options should improve later this summer, and even more so by the fall. In the meantime, it’s probably best to look at “Incredibles 2” as a film for adults that children can greatly enjoy.
And get to the theater in time to see Pixar’s short film before the feature presentation, the incredibly touching “Bao”. It’s visually “cute” enough that the kids won’t protest, but its plotline is even more geared towards adults!
Clearly, it’s ‘the (big) people’s time’!