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Building Entertainment: The Animated Films of the Walt Disney Studio. Pixar Edition. Incredibles 2

Welcome to my weekly discussion of the animated films of the Walt Disney Studio. I’m proceeding mostly chronologically. The title comes from a quote from Walt, “I never called my work an ‘art’ It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment.”

Title: Incredibles 2

Year: 2018

Source materials : Based on Characters from The Incredibles

Budget: $200 million

Box office: $1.243 billion

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Plot: Picking up right when the first film ended, the Parr family pursue the Underminer. Although he escapes with stolen bank money, they stop his drill tank from destroying Metroville’s City Hall with help from Frozone.

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The government, concerned by the collateral damage, shuts down the Superhero Relocation Program, leaving the Parrs without financial assistance from agent Rick Dicker. After Violet’s date Tony Rydinger discovers her superhero identity, Dicker erases her from Tony’s memory. Lucius informs Bob and Helen of an offer from Winston Deavor, the owner of DevTech, a telecommunications corporation. Winston and his sister Evelyn propose a publicity stunt to regain public trust in superheroes.

Winston chooses Helen to spearhead the stunt under her old identity, Elastigirl, as she causes less property damage than Bob, and provides the Parr family with a new home. While Helen is away, Bob struggles with his new role as a stay-at-home parent: Dash has trouble with math, Violet becomes withdrawn after Tony unintentionally stands her up due to his memory wipe, and Jack-Jack wreaks havoc with his burgeoning superpowers.

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Bob brings Jack-Jack to Edna Mode, who develops a suit that controls his abilities. Meanwhile, Elastigirl captures the Screenslaver, a supervillain who projects hypnotic images using television screens. She unmasks him as a deliveryman with no recollection of his actions.

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At a party celebrating the Screenslaver’s arrest, Winston announces a summit of world leaders to legalize superheroes, hosted aboard his luxury ship. Unsettled by the ease with which she captured the Screenslaver, Elastigirl realizes that he was controlled by a pair of mind-control goggles.

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Evelyn forces the goggles onto Elastigirl, revealing herself as the mastermind behind the Screenslaver. Evelyn explains that she has hated superheroes since Gazerbeam and Fironic failed to rescue her father from being killed by burglars when she was a child. She plans to sabotage her brother’s summit and cause a catastrophe that will tarnish the reputation of superheroes, ensuring they remain outlawed forever. Using a hypnotized Elastigirl, she lures Mr. Incredible into a trap, then sends other hypnotized superheroes to subdue the Parr children. Frozone tries to protect them, but is overwhelmed and placed under Evelyn’s control.

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Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack escape with the help of the Incredibile, a high-tech car once owned by Bob during his time as Mr. Incredible, and reach Winston’s ship. On board, the hypnotized Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone recite a vindictive manifesto on air to paint superheroes as a threat. They subdue the ship crew, aim the ship at Municiberg, and destroy the controls.

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Jack-Jack removes Elastigirl’s goggles, and she frees Mr. Incredible and Frozone. The Parrs and Frozone release the other mind-controlled superheroes by destroying their goggles. With Mr. Incredible swimming underwater to turn the rudder and Frozone creating layers of ice, they slow the ship and prevent it crashing into the city. Evelyn escapes in a jet, but is captured by Elastigirl. Superheroes around the world regain legal status.

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Later, Tony accompanies Violet and her family to a movie. Outside the theater, the Parrs spot a high-speed pursuit between police and gunmen. Violet leaves Tony at the theater and promises to return in time for the film, before the Parrs give chase in a refurbished Incredibile.

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Background: Following The Incredibles, Brad Bird directed his next film for Pixar, Ratatouille, which was released in June 2007. Near its premiere, Bird said he was open to an idea of a sequel to The Incredibles, but only if it could be better than the original. He stated, “I have pieces that I think are good, but I don’t have them all together.” Bird started the script around April 2015, and said that the Incredibles sequel would be his next film after Tomorrowland. Brad_Bird

“I have been thinking about it. People think that I have not been, but I have—because I love those characters, and love that world … I have many, many elements that I think would work really well in another Incredibles film, and if I can get ’em to click all together, I would probably wanna do that.”

Though the sequel was released fourteen years after the first, Bird did not want to use a narrative element like a timeskip or to come up with new characters, and instead continued from where the first film left off. This allowed him to keep characters with the same superpowers and not have to develop new ones, nor did he need to figure out how to deal with Violet and Dash being adults. 1

Animation: Producer John Walker said, “I think that one of the things that excited Brad and Ralph Eggleston, the production designer, was the fact that the technology existed now to finally realize the designs in the way that they had hoped to realize them in 2004. There were no notions of, ‘Well, we don’t know how to do long hair, we don’t know how to do humans, we don’t know how to do muscles.’ Everybody knows how to do it. It’s just now about doing it quickly.”

 

Because Pixar no longer used the same systems from the first movie, all the characters had to be created from scratch on the computer again.

Music: Michael Giacchino returned to compose the score. He includes the vocalized theme songs for Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and Elastigirl.

  • “Here Comes Elastigirl – Elastigirl’s Theme”
  • “Chill or Be Chilled – Frozone’s Theme”
  • “Pow! Pow! Pow! – Mr. Incredible’s Theme “

Voice Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Brad Bird, and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their roles from the previous film. In his first acting job, Huckleberry Milner plays Dashiell “Dash” Parr. 2

Bob Odenkirk as Winston Deavor. He is best known for his role as smooth-talking lawyer Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill on Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul, and for the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David, which he co-created and starred in with fellow comic and friend David Cross. He worked as a writer for television shows Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show, winning two Emmys for his work. He also wrote for Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Get a Life, and acted in a recurring role as Agent Stevie Grant in The Larry Sanders Show. He directed three films, Melvin Goes to Dinner, Let’s Go to Prison, and The Brothers Solomon. He has appeared in Nebraska, Fargo, and The Post. Catherine Keener as Evelyn Deavor. She has been twice nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her roles as Maxine Lund in Being John Malkovich and Harper Lee in Capote. Keener also appeared in the films The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Into the Wild, Hamlet 2, Synecdoche, New York, and Get Out.

Bill Wise as the pizza delivery man. He appeared in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, SubUrbia, Natural Selection, What I Like About You, Waking Life, Computer Chess, and Boyhood. Jonathan Banks as Rick Dicker. 3His first notable film roles were in the films Airplane!, 48 Hrs., and Beverly Hills Cop. He has received critical acclaim for his role as former police officer turned hitman Mike Ehrmantraut in the television series Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul. Earlier he was well-reviewed as Frank McPike in Wiseguy. He has received five Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He also appeared in Armed and Dangerous, Buckaroo Banzai, Freejack, Flipper, Gremlins, Murder Me, Murder You, Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, and Identity Thief.

Sophia Bush as Karen / Voyd. She starred as Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill. She had major film roles in John Tucker Must Die, The Hitcher, and The Narrows. From 2014 to 2017, she starred in Chicago P.D. as Det. Erin Lindsay. Phil LaMarr as Krushauer and He-Lectrix. He was featured cast member on Mad TV and has had an extensive voice acting career, with major roles in animated series including Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Futurama, Samurai Jack, Static Shock, and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. He has also provided voices for video games such as Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the Jak and Daxter series, Darksiders, Final Fantasy XII, Infamous, Dead Island and the Kingdom Hearts franchise. On the big screen, LaMarr is most well known as the ill-fated Marvin from Pulp Fiction.

Paul Eiding as Gus Burns / Reflux. Another prolific voice actor appearing in The Transformers, Metal Gear, Diablo, StarCraft, the Ben 10 series, Fallout 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4. Isabella Rossellini as The Ambassador. Known for her roles in films such as Blue Velvet, Death Becomes Her, Cousins, Fearless, and Immortal Beloved.

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Barry Bostwick as Mayor. He best known for portraying Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Mayor Randall Winston in Spin City. Bostwick won a Tony Award for his role in the musical The Robber Bridegroom and originated the role of Danny Zuko in the stage production of Grease, earning a Tony Award nomination for his performance.

Where in the World is John Ratzenberger? John reprises his role as The Underminer

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Pizza Planet Truck: The Pizza Planet Truck can be seen outside the building where Elastigirl captures and rescues the fake Screenslaver. The truck likely belonged to them considering Evelyn revealed the one she set up was a pizza delivery guy.

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A113: The model number listed on the hover car train is A113, and it appears as a typo on the movie theater marquee shown

Critical Reception: A.A. Dowd, writing for The A.V. Club, felt it was “A sparkling contraption of an animated comedy, funny and often wondrous in its midcentury-modern vision of an alternate America frozen in the amber of a bygone idealism.” Variety’s Owen Gleiberman called the film “fun but far from incredible” and wrote “It’s true that the Toy Story films, all three of which are fantastic, did variations on the same theme of a toy’s obsolescence, but as movies they kept the emotions close to the surface. In Incredibles 2, we never get that rush of feeling.”

Legacy: Following the release of Incredibles 2, director Brad Bird acknowledged that the film’s truncated production schedule resulted in many plotlines and ideas he had for the film being cut from the final version. Bird stated that the lingering plotlines could lead to a third installment, just as they did with the second. Cast members including Samuel L. Jackson and Sophia Bush have expressed interest in reprising their roles.

My take: One of the things I love about the film is the mid-century, retro-futuristic look to everything.

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The fight between Jack Jack and the raccoon was one of the funniest things I had seen in a while. Right out of old Looney Tunes cartoons

Next Week: Well, next week was supposed to be Ralph Breaks the Internet, but… I haven’t seen it yet.

So, we’re heading back to cover the live action and partially animated films starting with The Reluctant Dragon