I will admit that I’m that rare breed of Disney/Pixar movie lovers that never really loved The Incredibles. When asked why, I couldn’t really provide an answer other than, “it just didn’t do it for me.” Whatever that means. So I felt the need to revisit my feelings about the original The Incredibles movie released in 2004 by watching it again.
I looked through my DVD collection assuming I owned it because Disney/Pixar movies are still pretty much the only DVDs I buy anymore. When it wasn’t there, I grumbled as I begrudgingly paid the $3.99 to rent it through Amazon Prime Video. Then I sat down to watch it. No kids in the room. No real distractions. I was ready to revisit The Incredibles.
And then something really weird happened.
I started realizing I had never actually seen The Incredibles in its entirety. I know it’s played at my house multiple times but I’m thinking I was always walking in or out of the room or (most likely) falling asleep during the movie.
And now I must apologize. Because I think it’s a really nice movie. I still don’t love it but I appreciated it a lot more. I still couldn’t really understand Helen. Why, if you had amazing superpowers, would you ever expect your husband to enjoy sucking it up and working at a job he hates. And why would you tell your kids to never, ever use their superpowers. Sure, it was illegal and all but I thought Helen was a real downer who just didn’t understand Bob all that well.
A Quick Synopsis of The Incredibles 2
In Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles 2, the tables are completely turned as Bob and Helen take on completely opposite roles. The story picks up exactly where the last movie ended (kudos to me for thinking enough to watch the original on the same day as the sequel). The family is trying to stop Underminer, the supervillain du jour, and the city doesn’t appreciate them. All they see is the destruction caused by their superhero efforts. So their forced to go back into hiding until…
A rich benefactor and his sister want to lobby for the legalization of superheroes and they need a poster child. They decide to recruit Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone but decide Helen’s mild-mannered mature might be the most palatable for a hesitant public.
Helen goes to “work” saving people while Bob stays at home and becomes Mr. Mom. Yes, lessons are learned and bad guys are thwarted but this movie has a very different feel than the first one.
What 14 Years Did to The Incredibles
The Incredibles was released in 2004 before my kid was even born. And now, the sequel is finally ready, 14 years later.
Admittedly, the entertainment environment of today is very different that 2004. Technologically speaking, animation techniques have changed and this was one of my biggest concerns. I absolutely love the realistic worlds created by Pixar but sometimes it can take things too far. Take Finding Nemo and its sequel, Finding Dory, for example. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the sequel, I was very bothered by the ultra-realistic animation that made it feel very different than the original.
In The Incredibles 2, I’m happy to say that the sequel felt very true to the original in terms of look and feel. While I noticed some aspects of the animation were cleaner (teeth, fabric, and hair texture being some of the more noticeable ones), it very much felt like a continuation of the original without it looking dated.
Where I noticed the biggest difference with the 14 year time gap was the pacing and storyline of the movie. I don’t want to dissuade you from the seeing the movie but it was definitely a more mature version of The Incredibles. There’s teen angst, creepy villains, a little off duty drinking, and a lot of violence. You won’t see blood and guts – it is a kids animated feature, after all – but you will see a lot of fighting and even shooting. It didn’t bother me in the slightest but I thought some parents would want to know.
So why did the story mature? I have a few theories on that.
In 2018, we demand action and constant entertainment. That means we need to have something to keep us engrossed for an especially long 1 hour and 58 minute run time. Pixar did that by creating a story that kept kids engaged and parents intrigued. I was honestly intently watching the movie the whole time only checking my watch because I was surprised that an animated feature would run so long, not because it felt too long.
What results is a movie that parents and kids will love. Pixar created a movie that has all of the elements kids will love (I predict even teens will like this movie) and that parents will want. In fact, they go beyond the typical “jokes that only parents will understand” approach that many movies use to keep adults interested. It’s an action-packed story with a very comic book feel to it.
For this genre, I give the movie a solid 8 out of 10 (which are pretty high marks for a naysayer like me). My son, who is 11, however, gives it an 11 out of 10. It’s not only as good as the original. I think it’s better. And I think everyone in your moviegoing party will walk away happy.