Review of "Incredibles 2" -

It was way back in 2004 when Pixar Animation Studios continued it’s run of new, refreshing films with a wonderfully entertaining story about a family of superheroes. “The Incredibles” detailed the adventures of the Parr clan, led by parents Bob and Helen (aka Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl) along with their three kids. The move was a well-deserved box office hit and collected the Oscar for Best Animated Film.

Now, after a surprising fourteen-year wait, Disney-Pixar is finally releasing a sequel. “The Incredibles 2” picks up right where the first movie left off, with superheroes like the Incredibles forced to live under the radar….except of course when they’re forced to save the day – as they do in the movie’s first few minutes. By the way, the voice of the villain Underminer in that impressive early sequence is provided by longtime Pixar favorite – John Ratzenberger. The actor graduated from playing Cliff in the TV series “Cheers” to voicing a character role in every single Pixar film.

Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, Ratatouille) returns as both writer/director, and he’s been joined by the key voice talent, including Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter as the husband-and-wife superheroes. Also back in the audio booth is Sarah Vowell as the voice of daughter Violet, as well as Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone – their ice-creating, crime-fighting friend.

The storyline has the family approached by a brother and sister who head a giant telecommunications company. The brother (voiced by Bob Odenkirk from “Better Call Saul”) is a huge fan of superheroes and he’s determined to get society to once again embrace costumed crusaders. The one problem is that he wants to feature only one superhero for his comeback plan – and that’s Elastigirl. And while she’s stopping crimes and gathering glowing media attention, her husband Mr. Incredible is left to stay at home and take care of the family – a task he’s not too happy about.

Every Pixar film seems to raise the bar when it comes to life-like computer animation, and “Incredibles 2” is no exception. The frequent action scenes are impressively gigantic in scope and stunning to watch. Even the waving, windswept hair of one character looks incredibly life-like.

But as breathtaking as those scenes are, the best moments in this very funny movie are much smaller in scope. One involves the family’s young baby – Jack-Jack – who is discovering he has some of his own superpowers. In perhaps the film’s most hilarious moment, he faces off in a epic battle with determined raccoon who has invaded the family’s backyard. Other memorable scenes feature another returning character – superhero costume designer Edna Mode – voice supplied once again by director Bird. She only has two scenes but manages to steal both of them as we discover this no-nonsense career woman has a surprisingly maternal side.

The movie is surprisingly violent at times, but not in a don’t-take-your-kids way. Many scenes are big, bold and loud, but there’s also plenty of more subtle, touching moments. The movie is a visual wonder that has your eyes taking everything in, from the depiction of quasi-1960’s cars, to the clips from classic cartoons like “Johnny Quest.”

“The Incredibles 2” is a worthy sequel and very impressive achievement in filmmaking.

4 popcorn boxes out of 4
Rated PG

Review by Mark Greczmiel


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