I am a big Pixar fan. I think it’s meant to be; each year, the studio seems to release their latest feature right around my birthday. One of the things I most appreciate about Pixar is that the studio always takes time to make sure the story is right (this is described in Ed Catmull’s Creativity Inc. as he describes the workings of the Pixar Brain Trust).
I’ve been looking forward to the release of yet another great Pixar film right around my birthday: Incredibles 2. I’ve wanted to analyze what Pixar has told us from trailers, teasers, and other promotional materials; thanks for indulging me as I do so here. If you also like Pixar and have any interest in exploring or analyzing these or other points further, please make my day and comment.
I’m guessing the show will open right where Incredibles 1 ended. If you remember, Incredibles 1 ends with the Parr family leaving Dash’s school track meet. As they exit the stadium into the parking lot, a villain called the Underminer makes his appearance, drilling up through the ground in an enormous drilling machine and exclaiming, “Behold, the Underminer! I’m always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me! I hereby declare war on peace and happiness!”
I imagine this will be a pretty easy victory for the Parr family, though the different trailers for the show have quite a few clips that all seem to be from this battle, so I’m thinking it will last for at least a little bit. One clip even shows Mr. Incredible being sucked into some huge vacuum tube the Underminer has, so apparently it’s not an easy win for the Incredibles.
From the teasers we also know that a business tycoon is interested in overhauling the image of the “Supers,” and he thinks that Elastigirl is his best chance to do so. Possible spoiler alert here, but there seems to be something a little devious about the tycoon, so I’m already wondering if he’ll end up being some kind of villain.
Speaking of villains, the main antagonist appears to be a villain known as Screenslaver. He makes a menacing appearance in a number of teasers, claiming that the Supers are no longer in charge. He appears to be able to use hypnotism of some sort, as some teasers show him making a broadcast over television screens and apparently hypnotising his audiences. In another trailer, he or at least his henchmen seem also to travel through a portal of some sort. (Dash is also shown sprinting through a long row of such portals in one scene, so maybe these portals play more of a role in the story.)
One last thought on Screenslaver: how scary will he be? In my opinion, his character design is a little frightening, with his goggled eyes, and particularly the mask over his mouth, which I can’t help but connect to Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. I’m hoping it won’t be too much for my 5- and 3-year old, but I am a little worried.
Along with what I assume will be the main conflict between the Supers and Screenslaver, it looks like Pixar will be working to get a lot of mileage from Helen’s becoming a working mom while Bob is a stay-at-home dad. There are a few scenes showing some fairly predictable situations: missing (or almost missing) the school bus, struggling to help with homework. Some (maybe a lot) of Bob’s struggles will also come from the discovery of Jack Jack’s powers. We saw at the end of Incredibles 1 that he had the ability to turn into a little devil as well as to solid metal. We now see that in addition to turning into a little devil (which it looks like he’ll do at least twice), he also shoots laser beams from his eyes, has some kind of lightning power, and can disappear.
Last but not least, Frozone looks like he’ll be a bit more prominent in Incredibles 2. He seems to be in a number of the battle scenes as well as showing up when Bob’s trying to take care of the kids. And yes, there will be at least one humorous exchange between him and his wife. (You’ll recall from Incredibles 1 their exchange as Frozone searches frantically for his super suit and exclaims, “We are talking about the greater good!” and she replies, “Greater good?” I am your wife! I’m the greatest good you are ever gonna get!”) In a teaser for Incredibles 2, Frozone says to Bob on the phone, “I’ll be there, ASAP,” and his wife yells from the other room, “Where you goin’ ASAP? You better be back ASAP!”
I’m hoping and expecting that Incredibles 2 will feature some intriguing twists and turns. Incredibles 1 was released in November 2004, so this sequel has been nearly 14 years in coming. It is again written and directed by Brad Bird, which I think is a good thing. Creativity Inc. quotes Steve Jobs as saying something to the effect of maybe in another life he can come back and be a Pixar director, and I agree that the studio’s directors are amazingly talented in their ability to tell a fantastic story.