by Ian Morton
Way back In 1995, Pixar studios reshaped our perceptions of animation forever. A small scale production known as Toy Story was released, setting an early tone by carving a beautifully simple story about a boy and his toys. Anchored on moral centered storytelling, the studio then followed up on its first success with stories that shrunk the audience to the size of ants, forced them to come face to face with the monsters under the bed and even ventured deep down to the depths of the sea.
While all very different, the series had very simple qualities that were ever present in whatever they did; a charming story, well crafted characters and above else, a connection to young and old alike.
With these themes in mind and the success of those that came before, writer/director Brad Bird hopped on board and decided it was time for the superhero genre to get the Pixar experience as well. In late 2004, The Incredibles were born.
Set in the 60s and sewn together with spy novel throwbacks and sci-fi inspired visuals, the story evolved around a family superheroes as they cope in a world where their powers were outlawed. Innocent, endearing and brimming with fun, the fab five made an impression that would leave an audience of millions wanting more.
14 years on and the itch for a sequel has finally been scratched as The Incredibles 2 is more than a worthy follow up to one of our favourite on-screen families. Picking (almost) right off from the first instalment, the story dives into the fallout from the original as the clan cope in a world where heroes are hunted and powers are still illegal.
After a secret meeting with big business leaders – and hero-enthusiasts – Winston and Evelyn Deavor, a plan is drawn up with the aim of rebranding the super hero name and getting the ban lifted, with Elastigirl front and centre. With a strict strategy to renew public opinion, it’s Mum’s time in the spotlight with Dad left at home to take care of the empowered brood.
Much like its predecessor, the success of the sequel is its ability to recreate the same family dynamic the first was known and loved for. With the original voice cast bringing life back to the supers and a slew of familiar voices padding out the newer faces, the result is a film that is full of fun and brimming with all the excitement you would expect from the beloved Pixar family.
Having Elastigirl take the lead feels like a natural step for the narrative, with many of the themes reflecting the same challenges most families face in an ever changing world. The action is slick, well polished and a pleasure to watch, while the humour is just as heartfelt and familiar as before, with baby Jack-Jack’s discovery of his powers is easily one of the highlights.
Brad Bird has done an exceptional job at expanding upon a world that so many have adored, and in most cases, grown up with. Building upon the original is often so difficult, but to go one step further and create something that stands on it own is ever more impressive. If you’re after a fun family adventure this summer, then The Incredibles 2 will certainly do more than just waste a few hours hiding from the sun!
Check out what we thought of last year with our top 10 of 2017:
Top 10 films of the year – The Big Dudes perspective!