Updated: Nov 14, 2018
4K ULTRA HD / FRAME SHOTS
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital copy; 2018; PG for action sequences and some brief mild profanity; streaming via Amazon Video, FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play, iTunes, Vudu (4K), YouTube
Best extra: “Heroes and Villains”
THIS TIME ‘ROUND super-stretchy Elastigirl/Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) heads out to save the world, while her husband Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) becomes a stay-at-home Mr. Mom, taking care of the kids.
“Incredibles 2” starts right where it left off in the early 1960s. Bob, the strongest guy on the planet, thinks child and home care will be a breeze, especially with teenage daughter Violet’s (Sarah Vowell) help. But add in teen hormones, 10-year-old speed-demon son Dash (Huckleberry Milner), and baby Jack-Jack, who’s just beginning to display a HUGE variety of superpowers, and Dad’s got another think coming. “There’s this wonderful tenderness to Bob, but also a little bit of selfishness and ego,” Supervising Animator Alan Barillaro says in the multi-part featurette “Heroes and Villains.”
Bob quickly realizes he’s overwhelmed, especially when Jack-Jack starts using laser-vision, electro kinesis, teleportation and polymorphing, all too explosive effect. Then there’s Dash’s homework needs played out at the kitchen table as father and son try to figure out the “New Math.” And Violet reveals she accidentally divulged her secret identity to almost-boyfriend Tony Rydinger (Michael Bird) when her eye mask falls during a mission. It’s still illegal for superheroes to do their work; they create too much collateral damage.
Director Brad Bird (“Incredibles,” “Ratatouille” and “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”) admits Bob is a blend of himself and his own dad. “We both have our classic ‘bumbling dad’ moments,” he says.
Helen worries about her family after taking a crime-fighting job with DEVTECH, a huge telecommunications company headed by tech magnate Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his apparently mild-mannered sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener). Elastigirl’s confrontations with faceless villain Screenslaver are captured via bodycam and broadcast with hopes of creating an International Superhero Accord with world leaders.
Helen puts her all into her job. It “doesn’t diminish her love and affection for her family,” Producer Nicole Paradis Grindle says. “She has an unmitigated enjoyment of being a Super, and that persona is fully unleashed,” Hunter says.
Bird reveals his wife, Liz, was the inspiration for Helen, with a touch of his own mom. “I know what’s it’s like being the kid of a good, tough, loving, funny mom,” he says.
“There’s always a moment in the film where I’m like, ‘Hey, I think you owe me a little money.’” — Liz Bird
Eventually, Bob adapts to his new role. Violet’s self-confidence grows, Dash begins to understand math, and he’s able to help Jack-Jack in developing superpowers. “He realizes that the most rewarding and important job he has in his life is being a father to these three kids,” Producer Nicole Paradis Grindle says. That’s a life lesson everyone can appreciate.
Also, returning is Frozone/Lucius Best voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, who considers the character, a longtime friend of Bob and Helen, a normal, “happy-go-lucky guy.” As a Super, Frozone can change the climate and temperature within seconds using huge sheets of ice. Frank Abney III says seeing a superhero African-American character while a teenager inspired him to become an animator. Abney graduated from The Art Institute of California and landed a job with Disney/Pixar working on “Frozen,” “Big Hero 6,” “Coco” and Frozone's second round in a Pixar film. “He’s cool, calm and collected, but there’s this spirit in him that doesn’t give up. He’s a real strategic fighter, blasting one character and then freezing another, Abney says.
Audiences worldwide couldn’t get enough of the Parr family after “The Incredibles” was introduced in 2004. The global box office topped $1.2 billion, making it the No. 1 animated movie of all time surpassing Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” which peaked at $1 billion.
The 4K set and online bonus features include a techy commentary with Animation Supervisors Dave Mullins, Alan Barillaro, and Tony Fucile, plus Bret Parker Second Unit and Crowds Supervisor. Collectively, the supervisors are responsible for the performances of each character within every frame, while the second unit builds the environment with the background characters. They worked on the first film 14-years ago. Parker says it was amazing to revisit the “Incredibles’” world.
Additional featurettes include “SuperScene Breakdowns” on Jack-Jack’s fight with a raccoon, and Elastigirl's key action sequences with producer Grindle, and the characters’ key animators (all women) recorded in the screening room while they analyzed the action. There are 10 deleted scenes; “Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes” interviews with Pixar parents who balance work and family life; a brief look at Samuel L. Jackson, who Bird calls "The Coolest Guy in Show Business”; a theatrical short, "Bao"; and "Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird," who recalls his mentorship with Milt Kahl, one of Disney's "Nine Old Men," the master animators for classics "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio," "Bambi," "Peter Pan," "Lady and the Tramp" and "Sleeping Beauty."
Honestly, all animated films look marvelous on 4K and Blu-ray, with a slight edge in sharpness and color fidelity for the Ultra HD format. Animated frames (2.39:1 aspect ratio) are mastered and rendered in 2K, and then upconverted to 4K for this presentation on disc and streaming. The color palette is rich and bold on characters and backgrounds, while facial toning is more controlled, with less of a red-orange tint. Distant objects and costume texture in close-ups are more defined on 4K, especially on setups 65-inches and larger.
Disney continues to provide an eight-channel Dolby Atmos soundtrack for height speaker systems, with Dolby TrueHD for the 4K, and DTS-HD for the Blu-ray. The Atmos audio level is more in line with the DTS soundtrack, so there’s no need to increase the volume, an annoyance that has plagued the majority of the Disney/Marvel films on 4K. Both soundtracks provide an active experience, especially with Michael Giacchino’s James Bond-like score. Dialogue never gets lost among the numerous voice actors.
It’s time to spend an evening with the Parr family for another incredible ride.
— Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer