MOVIE REVIEW: Pixar sequel is simply incredible
SOME people say that parents are the greatest heroes of all, and nothing could be truer as you'll see in the long-awaited return of Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles.
It has taken 14 years for one of Pixar's greatest creations to get a sequel; now all these years later the whole cast returns for another outing.
Believe it or not, the world was very different back in 2004 when Pixar's movie grossed $633 million around the world and received an Academy Award for its animation. Back then, superhero movies were a rare thing.
Now it seems there is a new superhero movie every few months, so are The Incredibles still relevant to an audience that has aged 14 years?
Writer and director Brad Bird is again the driving force behind this sequel and its picks up exactly where the first movie ended, with an action-packed battle against The Underminer.
If you just said 'who?' maybe watch the first movie before you go see this one.
After a spectacular battle on the city streets, the damage bill runs into the millions and politicians are up in arms about having the proof they need to keep superheroes (aka Supers) illegal and out of the public eye.
With the sudden cancelling of the program that protected them, the Parrs find themselves living in a motel for just two weeks before the funding ends and with no job prospects the family is in dire straits.
Then help arrives. Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day tasks of normal life as dad to Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack, whose superpowers are hilariously about to be discovered.
Multi-millionaires Winston Deavor (voiced by Bob Odenkirk from Better Call Saul) and sister Evelyn own a world-class telecommunications company which they inherited after the death of their father, a big Supers supporter.
They tell Helen that Supers need to go to the next level, and plans are set to get the public back on side. While Bob is home with the kids, a new villain emerges, The Screenslaver, with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens to derail everything. But the family doesn't shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) by their side.
Despite the 14-year gap between movies, The Incredibles 2 sucks you in from the opening credits. At 118 minutes, this is a longer than normal family film but the reason is that there so much to pack in.
There are many stories to be told, with Violet's teenage angst, Bob's fatherhood role, Elastigirls' crime fighting and Jack Jack's evolving powers set against the political backdrop of uniting the world's leaders to make Supers legal again, all while trying to defeat The Screenslaver.
To Bird's credit he has aimed this sequel at exactly those who saw the first movie 14 years ago. That audience has aged, and many now have their own children, which is what makes Incredibles 2 so clever. Instead of repeating itself, the franchise has lots to say about parenthood, family, discrimination, inclusion, a dominance on technology and politics.
While it would have been easy to appeal to a new generation of fans, Bird has decided to treat his core audience with respect.
In many ways, Incredibles 2 could never live up to the original which remains one of the finest Pixar movies to date. The bar was set so darn high.
The action scenes in the sequel are spectacular, and it's impossible not to enjoy yourself. The return of suit designer Edna (voiced by Bird) and any scene with Jack Jack playing with his range of new powers are a total delight. Nothing is more enjoyable than the sound of a baby laughing.
Younger viewers may find the two-hour runtime a bit of a stretch, but mum and dad will have a blast.
This could easily have been a run-of-the-mill sequel, but Bird knows what his audience wants.
Let's hope we don't have to wait another 14 years for part three.
Incredibles 2 opens in cinemas on Thursday.
Stars: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk.
Director: Brad Bird
Verdict: 4/5 stars