Quick Hit: Nearly its predecessor’s equal, but lacking some small details to gain it there.
I fell head over heels for the first Incredibles movie when I first watched it. It has continued to be one of my favorite movies, and I’ve passed on the love of it to my sons. The sequel was heralded as a success in my household, though one of my boys has also deemed it as “Scary”. And indeed, there are some frightening moments in the movie – but what I think is most impressive is just how on point the movie is, and how Brad Bird manages to wrangle the heart of a movie that is 14 years old and push it into this year’s sequel.
The movie starts literally where the last one ended, with the UnderMiner attacking the city and the Parrs stopping them. But afterwards, amid the wash of property damage caused by the stop of the villain, Bob (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen (Holly Hunter) are approached to be the new face of superheroes as legislation is pushed forward to make superheroes legal once again. The catch – they want Elastigirl first, not Mr. Incredible, because of her ability to control property damage. This relegates Bob to Mr. Mom duty, and Helen learns to function in her own realm without her children.
Now if you’re worried this is a straight forward breakdown of gender roles, allow me to assuage you. There are only a few jokes that lean down this well-traveled road, and instead, we get to see a woman becoming empowered by her own choices. We get to see a man learning to spend time with his children and helping them grow, despite the fact that parenting is exhausting. One of the little choices that you can notice in this is just how alive Helen looks compared to the first movie, where she seemed like a worn down mother. Now, Bob has a look akin to his first movie, but it’s a happier look – he may be just as tired, but it’s not dragging on him like his insurance job.
The kids are still great, supplying a lot of heart. But nothing in this film beats Jack Jack, who steals literally every scene that he is in. Finding not just one power but a multitude of them, Jack Jack has battles with raccoons, jumps dimensions in search for cookies, and eats flame retardant. He is the true joy that Brad Bird lets out about being a super powered being. Essentially, if the rest of the Parrs are the Watchmen, struggling with their existence in the universe, Jack Jack is essentially StarFire – happy to be super.
There is tons of super action here – there are some new ones with fun powers that will be familiar for those that have read/watched X-Men – but I think that scene that shows us exactly what superhero animation can be is the scene where Elastigirl is chasing down the runaway train. She uses her body in so many different ways, it actually takes multiple viewings in order to be able to catch everything. It’s fun and the animation here is superb, and shows when you apply the right format to things that you can get some truly amazing visuals. It reminds me a bit of seeing Man of Steel for the first time and seeing Henry Cavill fly off into the air.
Despite all this, I think that Incredibles 2 has a bit of a villain problem compared to Buddy/Syndrome from the first movie. Screenslaver just doesn’t hold up when compared to that. Though the “twist” is something that most adults will see from about 20 minutes in, it probably holds up for kids – but the true deficiency is in the development of the character. I think we gained a lot from having a character like Mirage in the previous film, because it gave more room for Syndrome to be mysterious. Here, with everything essentially on the table from the introduction, there isn’t that same growth.
So I think Incredibles 2 is probably one of the most successful Pixar sequels. It’s right up there with the Toy Story sequels in my book. I’m giving it an “A-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
Quick Hit: My first micro short is fun but doesn’t go far enough for me.
This was a good choice for me to watch, as I’m currently trying to find the time and the finances to go get another tattoo. It’s a micro short, with this one being right at a minute long. It essentially features a story of some nefarious dealings that occur behind the scenes of a tattoo parlor.
One of the things about a micro short – EVERYTHING has to go right, right away, because there’s no time for anything to go wrong. Where Michael Wong, director of this short, succeeds, he is extremely successful – the coloration of the short is fantastic. The cold open with the women on the chair getting a tattoo is perfect to set the scene. But I didn’t like the quick bleed (pun unintended) into the screaming, trapped people. One key shot seems to have been missing – it could have just been the Tattooist walking out of the room – that would have served as a nice transition.
I also wasn’t huge on the dancing at the end either, but what do I know? I’m just an old curmudgeon sometimes.
Wong has created a short that is strong on ideas and visuals, even if it wasn’t my favorite. I’m giving it a “B-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
Quick Hit: Boring and awful and unnecessary.
It’s unfortunate when creepy things go by the wayside. Internet and social media culture (of which I’m a huge fan of) consistently sends things into the stratosphere of popularity, only for them to slowly deflate like the rubber balloons they are and drop down to the earth, deflated and useless. But, alas, Hollywood was never not one to try and make a quick buck, and the expansive mining of the internet brought forth Slender man – a Creepypasta meme that ended up taking a drastic and traumatic turn in real life.
So we have what probably could have made a good horror film, if you were willing to either A) go to some very dark places in exploiting the death of a young teen, or B) delved into the mystery and given rules to a creation that essentially has no backstory besides a guy who pasted a picture next to some kids. While I don’t really think an origin story for a meme character is necessary, it would have at least given this dribble a bit of direction.
Essentially what happens in this film is that four friends summon the Slenderman one night when they’re bored, by watching what seems to be the video from The Ring. Nothing happens but a week later one goes missing, and they all know it’s the Slenderman because of dreams or something like that. It’s truly an awful transition, and the performances are so varied that I don’t know how it could get much better. The movie drags onnnnnn and onnnnn as they tiptoe around trying not to be scared before always ending up in the woods (I guess because that meme seemed to be in the woods. Hmmmm).
All this in a ninety minute horror film – can you believe it?
This movie has stolen so many things from so many different horror films - blatantly, I might add. And it's adding nothing at all of its own ideas. I thought the Bye Bye Man was awful, but at least he kinda sorta had rules to follow. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to what happens to these victims. It's worthless - follow horror movie rules or subvert them, but when you totally ignore... ugh.
Don’t waste your time – skip the Slenderman and find one of the better shorts on the internet about him. “F”.
I'm not even gonna link this to IMDB. It doesn't deserve it.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"