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dir-scr Brad Bird
prd Nicole Paradis Grindle, John Walker
voices Holly Hunter, Craig T Nelson, Samuel L Jackson, Catherine Keener, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Vowell, Huckleberry Milner, Eli Fucile, Brad Bird, Sophia Bush, Isabella Rossellini, Jonathan Banks
release US 15.Jun.18, UK 13.Jul.18
18/US Pixar 1h58
A crime-fighting family: Violet, Dash, Bob and Helen
EDINBURGH FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
It has taken 14 years, but Brad Bird's energetic superhero family is finally back, picking up the story right where they left off. Of course, our world and the genre have changed over this timespan, and the film itself reflects it: while it's a lot of fun, with great characters and action sequences, the movie feels more formulaic in its story. It also makes us hope the wait isn't so long for another adventure.
With superheroes outlawed, the Parr family is trying to imagine how to live a normal life when the Deavor siblings (Keener and Odenkirk) offer them a job that may allow them to fight crime again. But they specifically want Helen, aka Elastigirl (Hunter), which leaves Bob, aka Mr Incredible (Nelson), watching their super-powered kids: moody teen Violet (Vowell), hyperactive Dash (Milner) and unpredictable toddler Jack-Jack (Fucile). Then a maniacal hypnotist begins testing Elastigirl's patience, and soon the whole family is drawn into the fray along with Bob's best pal Lucius, aka Frozone (Jackson).
Even if the mechanics of the plot sometimes bog down in expository dialog, Bird more than makes up for it with character-based humour, riotous but always coherent action and some deeper emotional beats. The animation is wildly colourful, with an eye-popping attention to detail that makes the most of the retro-futuristic design work. And the main characters are very nicely developed to have full internal lives, giving the actors something interesting to work with. Even so, Jack-Jack steals the show.
All of the voice work is superb, mixing comedy, action and emotion, often all three at the same time. Hunter and Nelson anchor things expertly, the kids and Jackson add plenty of texture, and Bird is back for an amusing extended sequence voicing super-costumer Edna. Each character is a superb mix of the earthy and fantastical, offering the occasional surprise. Meanwhile, both Keener and Odenkirk are great, even if their characters' designs and motivations seem a little undercooked, hinting heavily that there's more than meets the eye.
So it's a bit of a shame that Bird never digs too deeply into the themes, letting the plot skip giddily across the surface. The villain of the piece is particularly simplistic, never properly developed beyond the plainly obvious. Thankfully, the characters and situations keep us entertained, so we don't mind too much. We leave the cinema feeling satisfied, but if Bird returns to these characters, hopefully he'll push the resonance further next time.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2018 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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