Film: “Incredibles 2”; Director: Brad Bird; Voiceovers by Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter; Rating: ***1/2
If you are familiar with the “Ramayan”, you would know 14 years is a lot of time. “Incredibles” returns with a sequel 14 years after the first film created a new benchmark for animation films and for the superhero genre on the whole.
Who would have thought that the master creators of the original would return to continue the story of the ‘Incredible’ family with a plot so simmering with a dishy discontent, you wish the world would remain a wonky place, just so that director Brad Bird’s sparkling animation characters would come forward to claim a slice of instant immortality.
The plot, for those who came in late, has to do with a family with super powers in a country that has banned superheroes for political reasons. Bob Parr and Helen Parr (voiced fabulously by Craig T Nelson and Holly Hunter), the couple with superhero powers are asked to lie low in their illegal status. But you really can’t keep a family of infinite do-gooders down.
Resigned to their motel-existence, the couple finds itself back in business. Rather, the Mrs of the family is summoned to do her superhero act.
The sequel simply soars with an inbuilt wisdom that sparkles in colours of contemporary all-knowingness. There is a sly finesse in the way ideas of contemporary mores are inserted into the plot. Most importantly, this film celebrates the blossoming of the wife-mother figure into a woman whose dreams can touch sky high.
Some of the situations in the plot regarding the man of the house playing care-giver to the children while the mother of the house saves the world, are so supremely gender-empowering that I forgot this was not a live film. The scenes where Bob Parr tries to cope with his elder son’s maths homework, his daughter’s love life and his infant son’s burgeoning superpowers (the last is a blast) are enormously entertaining in their disposition to see domesticity as a desirable space for superheroism.
My favourite character is the la-di-dah, fey and snooty Edna Mode dress designer (voiced by the director Brad Bird), who babysits the Parr baby for one memorable evening of power play that neither she nor we will forget.
Animation never seemed less relevant and yet the format never appeared more eloquently employed in any recent film. Director Brad Bird brings into play a variety of inventive characters who stride the world of animation with the aplomb of real-life people.
Winston Deaver (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) is such a brazen entrepreneur, he markets superheroism as a banned item that must be unbanned. His sister (voiced with dreamy splendour by Catherine Keener) is a world-weary sorceress of the digital world out to conquer the world with her wily whimsicality.
Filled with magical moments that accentuate human aberrations while stressing the need for family togetherness, “Incredibles 2” is indeed an incredible work of animation art, far wiser, cleverer and savvy than what we have seen in live superhero films recently.
The movie is releasing in Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu on Friday.