Craig T. Nelson Holly Hunter Sarah Vowell Huck Milner Eli Fucile
Catherine Keener Bob Odenkirk Samuel L. Jackson Brad Bird Isabella Rossellini
I am always partial to Brad Bird, and think that his production of Incredibles 2i s just that—impressive enough to be regarded as incredible, and a film that is likely to appeal to all ages. One of Bird’s strengths is in mixing lavish visual and special effects with an entertaining story of substance. Beyond the entertainment, values come through with respect to “doing good”, fulfilling civic duties, living up to one’s potential, and being a good parent (at times being equated with having super-powers—which I found very amusing andrealistic).
The Parr family is a trifle at sea since super-powers have been outlawed (you get a real sense of loss of purpose from them), and their reputation is on the decline after their last job not turning out very well—at least in the public eye. Helen (Hunter) is flexing and saying they need to adapt, but her husband Bob (Nelson) is protesting. Then something unexpected happens; a wealthy man, Mr. Deavor (Odenkirk) who is convinced super-powers are needed, has a plan for getting the law changed, and approaches the Parr family. Well, specifically, he is asking for Elastigirl (Hunter), observing that she does less collateral damage in her heroics than her husband.
Of course, this creates a crisis in the Parr household. Bob (Mr. Incredible) has trouble getting his head around the fact that someone would be preferring his wife over him, and Helen feels torn about leaving her family, even though it’s to save them. Moreover, she and young Violet (Vowell) question the wisdom of breaking the law, even if it is to do good. But Bob (to his credit) urges his wife to take up the mantle and perform a heroic act to save people and demonstrate the usefulness of super-powers. After much soul-searching, all she needs is a fancy motorcycle delivered to her garage, and she is off.
Mr. Deavor is in partnership with his sister Evelyn (Keener), who has designed new suits for the Parrs that have cameras installed, as a way to publicize their achievements. What they do can be featured on the news, thus everyone will see their value, and public opinion will be successful in effecting change.
There will be any number of major challenges to the Parrs, close calls, and a significant betrayal, which make the movie entertaining and provoke thought all the way through. In the process, important contemporary issues are dealt with about men vs. women and their roles, about adherence vs. protest of laws, about trust vs. betrayal, about inventors vs. sellers of a product, and even about kids vs. parents. I liked the way kids are portrayed, both needing guidance and nurturance and being listened to for their opinions.
A number of clever and humorous scenes are incorporated, revealing writer-director Bird’s ingenuity, such as inserting the role that he himself voices of Edna, the woman Bob turns to when parental duties have worn him out. The interactions between her and the baby with emerging super powers, Jack-Jack (Fucile), are hilarious and heart-warming. The cartoon figure looks exactly like Linda Hunt (NCIS-LA), who is the wise and supportive leader of undercover operatives with a blunt-cut pageboy hairdo on CBS TV. Jack-Jack, who is gleefully playful, manages to don just such a hairdo to win her heart.
An enthralling animation that will keep the whole family spellbound.