A 3D viewing of Pixar’s 12th feature film, INCREDIBLES 2, an overdue sequel, 14 years after its 2004 blockbuster, a time even Bryan Singer’s much maligned reboot SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006) had yet to reach the silver screen, a very different picture from today’s glut of superhero consumption.
INCREDIBLES 2’s biggest challenge, save for treating its gaping generational shift with kid gloves (viz, drawing on the nostalgia of Generation Y and recruiting new kids who might have no inkling of its predecessor), comes to that daunting question, as an art-form, what animation could excel if its live-action counterpart can also achieve a similar if more captivating visual effects? especially when the storyboard is strictly human-based, on a general afterthought, nothing in this film seems to strictly require this treatment (the most demanding parts might be Elastigirl and baby Jack-Jack’s psionic powers), and the answer to that question does not look rosy.
With Brad Bird returning to preside over the project after his live-action sorties in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL (2011) and TOMORROWLAND (2015), INCREDIBLES 2 grandly carries Pixar’s torch in concocting a sagacious and innovative story-line out of the genre’s default family-friendly tenet, here, we have an appreciable role-swapping borne out of USA’s current climate’s gender study, Elastigirl becomes the breadwinner while Mr. Incredible takes a back seat in attending to their kids, indeed it is the latter part that registers most fun and laughter, a stay-at-home dad’s quagmire is brimful of hilarity and commiseration, tonally chimes in with its preceding shortDomee Shi’s BAO, depicting a typical empty nest phenomenon from a mother's angle, vamped up with an oriental touch.
What becomes problematic is the well-worn trope of saving the world from some evil intrigue, a very American cliché Bird has no intention of steering away, although through the message from and the designation of its ostensible antagonist Screenslaver, the film manages to alert viewers of today’s pandemic inertia and non-action that partly can be chalked up to a pernicious passivity hugely influenced by notion of waiting for a superhero, and an attention span deformed by our screen-gazing mentation, but that sounds too adult-minded, hence, its lucid cogitation about superpowers expectedly and frustratingly gives way to aconventional, business-as-usualdenouement, which overall, renders the picture a few notches below Pixar’s more esteemed titles.
Back to my initial question,the impact of its sleek strings of action set pieces ineluctably pales in comparison with the ones from its more visceral live-action cousins, as there are no eye-popping new characters or spectacles to deaden the over-familiarity,and admittedly, speaking from a personal perspective, the allure of animation and one’s own age have been in inverse proportion ever since one reaches adolescence, if only that could be the sole legit excuse for one’s mild disappointment of this case.
referential entries: Bird’s THE INCREDIBLES (2004, 7.9/10), RATATOUILLE (2007, 8.6/10),MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL (2011, 8.0/10);Andrew Stanton andAngus MacLane’s FINDING DORY (2016, 7.8/10).