Saturday, June 23, 2018

Incredibles 2

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

A few months post-Syndrome, the Parr family once again find themselves confronting another super villain. After their failed attempt to stop the Underminer, combined pressure from politicians and the media alike results in a harder time for all superheroes, forcing them to embrace the mundane existence that their alter egos entail. That is bound to change with the arrival of telecommunications tycoon Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk), whose vision of a world where supers are back in the limelight is underpinned by reliance on reputation and how it is projected to the world at large. In an effort to bring his perceived future to fruition, he enlists the help of Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) to revamp the image of the everyday hero, documenting her every move with advanced camera technology. Unbeknownst to them, a new threat under the synonym of Screenslaver is just looming in the background, attempting to sabotage their every move in an effort to outlaw supers forever.

The Incredibles came out in 2004. Yes, that was more than a decade ago. Before Iron Man launched what would be the dominance of the superhero genre in modern cinematic history, a family of five already showed us how it was like to fight crime in suits, all while trying to balance their duties with the challenges of family life. A lot has changed since then, and one of the most interesting aspects of the sequel is how animation has developed in the past 14 years. And boy, has it improved A LOT!

Watching the first movie will not just give you a refresher of the chronology of events, but will also provide a sound basis for comparison as far as animation is concerned. From Frozone's icicles to the sparks that a runaway Maglev train emits, you will witness the evolution of animation as a form of storytelling and how it inches closer and closer to approximating real life.

The way liquids are rendered, their viscosity, as well as the characters' hair and how it gradually mimics its movement in real life makes you wonder how far CGI can still go in the next few decades or so. Many reviews have already mentioned this, and not without reason. Suffice it to say that it is a celebration of animation as art with film as its medium.

Pixar has made their mark in developing animated features whose wrapper is just as amazing as its content. Their ability to introduce mature and socially relevant themes and making them palatable to a younger audience has always been a source of inspiration. In Incredibles 2, the prevalent theme is that of family. While the story is set back in the 60's, their depiction of the modern family has never been so timely.

In this sequel we get to witness how the wife suddenly becomes the breadwinner while the husband stays at home to maintain the household. Perhaps totally strange back in the day, such setup is no longer a rarity nowadays, which gives the film extra points for tackling a "non-conventional" family setup that is becoming more and more acceptable as the years go by.

In terms of storyline, there is no great leap forward as far as the plot is concerned. The sequel just picks up right where part one left off in 2004. If anything, it is just a direct continuation of the story with the plot development more or less following the rhythm and style of the original. That might be this film's greatest letdown but to be honest, who cares?

What makes the Incredibles so endearing is the Parr family itself as well as the dynamics among them. And of course, every adorable Jack-Jack appearance just exudes an obligatory ooh and aww from a delighted audience. I could watch his skirmish with that raccoon over and over again and never get bored.

In the end, we can argue that Incredibles 2's stellar record-breaking performance at the box office can be dismissed as capitalizing on induced nostalgia, but let's not be unfair to what the film is trying to accomplish, for its core has always been grounded on what it means to be a family, the highs and the lows. Superpowered or not, that is familiar shared territory that we can all go to, a beautiful reminder of what really matters no matter how crazy one's life becomes.


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