Incredibles 2 (2018)

incred2There was a time when Pixar films were something really special. I suppose a part of that was the sheer joy and ‘newness’ of watching fully CG-animated movies, but beyond that, the films themselves were often so finely crafted they were almost, well, perfect. I often remarked in reviews that I truly wished that live-action films were given the level of craft and scrutiny that Pixar films were. Every shot, every paragraph of a script, every mannerism exhibited by the CG characters, the story arcs… I think the Pixar filmography reached its zenith with Ratatouille, which is my personal favourite.

But I really did like The Incredibles, which came out way back in 2004 and it has always surprised me that it didn’t get an immediate sequel – perhaps that should be applauded, that we didn’t get a cynical cash-in, but it does leave the weight of expectation for when this sequel eventually arrived rather high and really, a little unfair.

The Incredibles 2 is perfectly fine but I did think it rather inferior to the original. Maybe it’s just so hard to capture lightning in a bottle, maybe it’s that we just see so many CG-animated movies these days- it’s no longer just Pixar cranking these things out, sometimes it feels like everyone is doing it, and maybe it’s unfair but technically they all seem to look very similar. I suppose they are all using the same CG animation software, in just the same way as so much CGI in live-action films have tended to look very ‘samey’. The only way, perhaps, for Pixar to differentiate itself from the pack, so to speak, is for a Pixar film in theme and craft to distinguish itself by being something special and unique- but everyone else seems to have learned the Pixar game and the ensuing familiarity breeds, if not contempt, then perhaps something approaching weariness.

I am likely being unfair expecting Incredibles 2 to be something exciting and new, but it is surely not unfair for me to have hoped for something less familiar and predictable. Nothing surprised me here. Again, I realise it’s just a family animated movie and not something arthouse or leftfield but still, the lack of ambition here was disheartening. Ratatouille was such a breathless joy, the characters, the heart, the humour, the music, it was so perfect, and the original Incredibles movie was a close second to that film. It felt fresh and… well, maybe too many Marvel and DC superhero capers have put paid to that particular quality.

Incredibles 2 was not incredible. That’s the main issue I have. It was perfectly fine and polished but it wasn’t surprising or enthralling or indeed incredible. It felt almost like a rock groups contractoral second album mimicking their previous hit platter. Hardly surprising in itself but still, disappointing.

(That being said, I will qualify this post with a comment that I watched it on a HD stream that was inevitably lacking what a good blu-ray would look and sound like.  This was mostly because I originally intended to buy a 4K UHD version which Disney here in the UK seem to think we are unworthy of, and well, I decided to be stubborn and vote with my wallet so a cheap £1.99 rental is all Disney get out of me. Not the best way to enjoy this movie then and another strange turn in the story of physical media vs streaming/downloads. I really don’t know what Disney are thinking here, but a worrying sign of the times.)

4 thoughts on “Incredibles 2 (2018)

  1. I feel like Pixar put considerably less effort into their sequels than their originals (outside of the Toy Story films, anyway). Maybe that’s unfair — any of these films take an awful lot of work — but their sequels often seem to lack that extra spark. That said, I’ve often found their originals to be very good but slightly over-praised (they always have some great ideas and moments, but usually slip into a formula), so maybe it’s just me.

    1. Yeah, Pixar certainly slipped into a formula- I was always disappointed that they never really took a step away from children/family material and into a more adult, grown-up kind of movie. Everyone seems to think animated films are, well for the kids (with a few in-jokes aimed at adults maybe) but there’s no reason why something like a Mission Impossible etc couldn’t work as a CG-animated movie. The tech would certainly offer new possibilities. Why Pixar couldn’t have made Avatar, for instance, baffles me. They are better at dialogue and plot etc than James Cameron anyway, if nothing else, and with the success of the Toy Story’s etc, surely they had the money to enable them to take a risk or two and push the envelope. Afterall, that was the whole point of Toy Story in the first place.

      1. Maybe the success of Spider-Verse will lead to a more grown-up sensibility in US animated movies. It seems silly to say that about a superhero movie, and one that remains kid-friendly, but it’s got a notably different tone and style to the usual Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks/Illuminations offerings, and it’s been a hit.

  2. Pingback: The 2019 list – the ghost of 82

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