Blu-ray Review: INCREDIBLES 2

Here’s the advance word on what you can look for on long-awaited home Blu-ray and DVD release of Incredibles 2 will be available next Tuesday. November 6.

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Of course, there’s the movie. At almost two hours, it’s the longest Pixar feature since Cars, but it doesn’t seem like it. There’s some debate as to whether it meets or beats the first film, but it might be better to focus on what this feature offers—more than anything else, more quality time with characters that are more real and dimensional than some on live-action TV and films today.

The plot is simple, and perhaps just a gigantic McGuffin for getting a new romp—the supers are banned, a visionary entrepreneur and his sister enlist the family—particularly Helen—to prove that supers are good, supers are dear. A mind-controlling villain is the object of pursuit as Bob learns how to be a Mister Mom. It’s a storyline that The Flintstones did, along with several sitcoms, but the heart of The Incredibles is a family sitcom, but in the best sense of the word.

The deleted scenes reveal that one of the early storylines involved a more showbiz-like approach, with Helen headlining some sort of broadcast and entrepreneur Winston Deaver masterminding it more as a media mogul than a visionary. It seems that they made the right choice to abandon that direction, as it seems more obvious and not as far reaching in theme as the final one chosen. There are some interesting themes in Incredibles 2, including the issue of people doing for themselves rather than depending on supers and, along the same lines, prepacked entertainment. It’s a similar issue that was also raised in WALL-E.

The bonus material is plentiful, particularly on the Blu-ray package, which offers two discs full. To begin with, there is the always-welcome audio commentary, this time from three members of the animation staff: Dave Mullins, Alan Barillaro, Tony Fucile, Bret Parker.

For those of us who have ever felt insecure about our skills and talents, here is an exchange between these folks to remind us that we’re not alone. This is not the first time I have heard creative people say this (even very famous ones):

Alan: “You’re in a vulnerable position of always trying to express yourself every day. It too often, I think, is represented as something that comes to us easily, and a lot of it is turmoil, and a lot of it is leaning on each other.”

Dave: “Every time I start a shot I get into the blocking and I go, oh my god, they’re gonna find out how much I suck! This is gonna be the one!”

Alan: “And that never goes away.”

Bret: “Never!”

Alan: “Every time I show in dailies, I’m always nervous!”

Dave: “This is the point when they find me out! That I don’t know what I’m doing!”

Alan: “I think everybody feels like that because, one, you’re surrounded by so much talent here at Pixar and two, you’re only as good as your last shot, is the way you kinda feel a lot of times.”

The “big news” bonuses are two shorts, one is the exquisite “Bao,” the directorial debut of Pixar artist Domee Shi, what will surely be an Oscar contender; and a premiere short called “Auntie Edna.” This lightning-paced short is shows what happened when Jack-Jack stayed over at Enda Mode’s house/design lab.

This is the scene in the film when Bob first learns about Jack-Jack’s powers:

Other Bonus Features:

Super Stuff: The overall vision and style of the film

Paths to Pixar: Everyday Stuff - Pixar parents talk about life’s everyday challenges

Superbaby: Tween-targeted Disney Channel segment in rhyme

Ralph Eggleston; Production Designer - a few minutes with the Pixar veteran

Making Bao - story artist and first time director Domee Shi

Heroes and Villains:

Mr. Incredible / Elastigirl / The Parr Kids / Frozone / Edna Mode / Winston Deavor / Evelyn Deavor / Wannabes

Vintage Features:

Toy Commercials: Mr. Incredible / Elastigirl / Frozone

Theme Songs: Mr. Incredible / Elastigirl / Frozone
(NOTE: I love these themes!)

Deleted Scenes:

Introduction / Suburban Escape / Kari Revisited / Return of the Supers / Chewed Out / Late Audition / Show Day / Frozone and Honey / Restaurant Robbery / Fashion Show / Security Breakdown

Trailers and Promos

Easter Egg: Brad Bird Describes a Lesson from His Mentor Milt Kahl

Final word: I can’t do a review of this film without mentioning the clips of the vintage TV series The Outer Limits (which relates to the storyline) and especially Hanna-Barbera’s landmark prime time cartoon, Jonny Quest. We learn repeatedly how Jonny Quest is a lifelong favorite of writer/director Brad Bird and how it had a lot of influence of the Incredibles films. This is the first time a Hanna-Barbera clip ever appeared in a Pixar film. Scenes from the excellent 1973 H-B feature, Charlotte’s Web appeared in The Boys: The Story of The Sherman Brothers, the must-see documentary released by Walt Disney Pictures. H-B also provided the opening animation for 1980’s Popeye—a co-production between Disney and Paramount--because they were licensed for animation of the characters at the time and were doing a CBS series for Saturday morning.

Amazon is taking pre-orders now.