Normally, I poo-poo sequels but this time, I welcomed it with open arms. 2004’s The Incredibles is, in my opinion, one of THE finest Pixar movies ever made, but can lightning strike twice? So 14 years in real time may have passed, but in the world of The Incredibles, it’s only been about 5 minutes.
If you remember the end of part one, the family Parr had just enjoyed a day at Dash’s school track event when (HORRORS!) the evil villain, The Underminer (Pixar’s favorite son, John Ratzenberger-voiced), reared his ugly head–and gigantic spiral death machine–from the ground. The Parr’s, being the superheroes that they are, spring into action to save the city… along with their buddy, Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), forgetting the fact that all supers have been outlawed.
And even though they DO manage to keep a runaway death machine from killing thousands, the Parr’s escape jail time, due to their ‘keeper’ and long-time friend, Rick Dicker (Jonathan Banks). Thankfully, a telecommunications mogul and superhero fanboy named Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) has an idea. Along with his genius inventor sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener), Winston wants to usher in a new age of supers, starting with Elastigirl/Helen Parr (Holly Hunter), since she fits his ‘new image model’. Naturally, husband Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) is both jealous and deflated at hearing this, but rolls with the new program.
So, while wifey is off fighting crime and becoming a huge celebrity all over again, Bob is adjusting to being a stay-at-home dad and dealing with baby Jack-Jack’s new chaotic and completely unpredictable powers. Things go well for Helen until a new arch-villain arrives… the Screenslaver! With the power of hypnosis, he can make anyone to do anything, leaving Helen to figure out who he really is and how to defeat him. Meanwhile, Winston is gathering other former hidden supers together (Void, Helectrix, Reflux, the Krushauer, etc) and the Ambassador (Isabella Rossellini) to bring all the supers back for good! Hey, what could possibly go wrong? Plenty!
There’s action galore mixed with a sinister detective story that, unfortunately, is telegraphed so early on when the bad guy is finally revealed, it’s anti-climatic. But the real joy of this movie isn’t so much story A, but story B: Bob’s adventures with his kids. His teenage daughter, Violet (Sarah Vowell) is having boy problems, son Dash (Huck Milner) is more ADD than ever, and baby Jack-Jack’s powers are not only random, but lethal at times!
Written & directed by Brad Bird, the man knows what we like and delivers on all levels, giving us terrific action sequences, a great story that isn’t dumb-downed for the kiddies, and some pretty solid laughs with his alter-ego voice-over, the outrageous fashion designer, Edna Mode. This one’s a bit long in the tooth for an animated feature film, clocking in at almost 2hrs, and it’s not without it’s plot holes, some jarring transitions, and the occasional odd pieces of dialogue. Just like it’s predecessor, the story has got some heavy adult-oriented stuff that will most likely fly over kids heads, but for us grown-ups, it’s a welcome relief after dreadful films like Sherlock Gnomes and Batman Ninja.
**Also playing before the movie is Pixar’s short, Bao, a stylized animated feature about a Chinese mother who gets an unexpected surprise when a dumpling she makes comes alive! No dialogue, but a warm, humorous, and moving little tale that invokes the ’empty nest syndrome’ in all parents.