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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



The Incredibles-2, Review: The unbelievable Dash of Jack-Jack and Elastigirl

The Incredibles-2, Review: The unbelievable Dash of Jack-Jack and Elastigirl

In gestation for a good14 years, a sequel to the 2004 animation cartoon superhero flick, The Incredibles, has been worth the wait. In the story, an evil mind takes control of hapless victims by placing a pair of hi-tech glasses on their faces and makes them do ‘unacceptable’ things. As a parallel, you will be donning 3D glasses to watch Incredibles 2, a totally acceptable, mandatory need that the format demands. 3D or no 3D, Incredibles 2 is immensely watchable.

After unsuccessfully preventing villain Underminer from robbing Metroville Bank using a giant vacuum cleaner and escaping in spite of a stiff fight put up by the Parr family (Bob, Helen, Violet, Dash and Frozone (Lucius Best), the authorities become concerned over the level of damage caused by the incident. As a result, Rick Dicker (names, I tell you!) informs the Parr family that his department's ‘Super Relocation’ programme is being shut down, forcing supers across the world to permanently adhere to their secret identities, and he relocates the family to a motel, for a final two weeks. Soon thereafter, Bob and Helen, are contacted by Winston Deavor, through family friend Frozone, who can turn atmospheric moisture and water into ice. Deavor is a superhero fan, telecommunications tycoon, and owner of DEVTECH. He proposes a publicity stunt, to regain the general public's support of supers all over the world. His late father was a great superhero fan, and this gesture is a tribute to his memory.

Helen Parr, is selected to undertake the stunt by openly fighting crime in New Urbem, under her old identity of Elastigirl. Deaver and his techie genius sister Evelyn choose her because she has not been in the limelight as much as Bob. As part of the plan, Winston provides the family with a new home. Bob offers to take care of the three kids (including infant Jack-Jack), while Helen is away. During her absence, Bob discovers that Jack-Jack has various super powers, but struggles with controlling the infant. Seeking help, Bob takes Jack-Jack to Edna Mode, a family friend and superhero-costume designer, who initially refuses to help until she sees the baby's superpowers in action. Meanwhile, during her mission, Helen confronts the Screenslaver (very punny)--a mysterious villain who hijacks TV screens, in order to project hypnotic images that can brainwash civilians. Screenslaver takes control of an engine-driver first, forcing him to run a newly inaugurated elite train service in reverse, and then gets into the brain of a pizza delivery boy, as part of a plot to assassinate a visiting ambassador.

Dazzling special effects coupled with infantile comedy turn out to be a great mix for this PIXAR production, released by Disney. Although all the characters get ample space in this 118-minute romp, it’s the kids that have the most cute (is there are better word?) and most funny scenes. Dash is Bird’s tribute to Flash, among the comic heroes my generation grew-up on. By comparison, Frozone, modelled after his real-life personality Samuel L. Jackson, is short-changed. There’s tons of ice being manufactured at lightning speed by Frozen….oops, FROZONE, but most of it is in vain. The violence is never ghastly or gory, so kids under 12 too would find it wholesome and palatable. And adults can marvel at the myriad animated planes on which a slickly executed narrative is mounted.

Well, the story is not hypnotic by a mile, but provides requisite plot points to weave in twists and turns. And as is the wont of most superhero and action films, the action takes place on roads (super bike/supercar), skyscrapers (elasticity doing a Spiderman/Batman), water (ship) and aeroplane.

Listen carefully to the voice of Edna Mode, which belongs to writer-director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Tomorrowland).  What a delight! Also note that Michael Bird (eldest son of Brad) is the voice Tony Rydinger, young Violet's nascent love interest. Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell and Samuel L. Jackson, reprise their roles from the first film, while newcomers to the cast include Huck Milner, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener and Jonathan Banks. Cinematography by Mahyar Abousaeedi (camera) and Erik Smitt (lighting) is first rate, as is editing by Stephen Schaffer. Music is scored by Michael Giacchino, who had worked on the music for the franchise’s previous film. Giacchino sure nurses a soft corner for James Bond’s notes, musical that is. But the sound-track works fine.

A seven minute short titles Bao is clubbed with this feature. While Bao (Portuguese/Mandarin for a stuffed kneaded dough dumpling, a bit like ‘pao’ in Hindi) is a rather well-made film, there seems to be no obvious connection between the two. Unless, of course, some good Samaritan is promoting its viewing, since seven-minute shorts would not find many screening opportunities.

The film is dedicated to the memory of animator and voice actor Bud Luckey, who died in February 2018.

Incredibles 2 is ideal medicine to chase away your blues. Do take children along, even if it is just one child, and if there’s none around, awaken the one that sleeps in your sub-conscious and watch it with him/her. That will cost you only one ticket.

Rating ****


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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