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Incredibles 2 (4K Ultra HD)
Disney may soon begin suffering from sequel and franchise fatigue if Internet grumblings are to be believed. Coming 14 years after the incredible The Incredibles, this sequel offers all the gorgeous animation and voice talent the Mouse House can bankroll, but Writer/Director Brad Bird constructs a film lacking in fresh ideas. A middling Disney/Pixar film is better than a large segment of the family film market, but Bird and company had every opportunity to create an interesting follow-up story for the Incredible family and failed to do so. There are glimpses of interesting superhero angst and a cute, shape-shifting baby that steals the show, but Incredibles 2 is undercooked and overproduced.
This sequel picks up immediately after the events of the original film, as superhero family the Incredibles pursues villain the Underminer, who ends up escaping with stolen money and causing plenty of damage to Metroville's downtown. The collateral damage causes the government to shut down the Superhero Relocation Program and ban all superheroes, leaving Bob and Helen Incredible (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter) and their kids Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack (Sarah Vowell, Huckleberry Milner and Eli Fucile) out of jobs and unwelcome in their cover lives as the Parrs. With the help of friend Lucius Best (Samuel L. Jackson), also known as Frozone, the Incredibles relocate, and Lucius tells Helen about wealthy telecommunications corporation owner Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk). Deavor and his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) propose to use Helen's alter ego Elastigirl to restore the public's confidence in superheroes, and Helen's work takes her away from the family, who tests Bob's patience at home.
I know this is a family film, but I do not care for the narrative and knew exactly where it was going upon the introduction of certain characters. Bob's familial drama is more interesting than the unimaginative revenge tale, and the villains here are absolutely bland. I am shocked it took 14 years to come up with this stale storyline, which both fractures the Incredible family and viewers' attention. The initially announced villain is the Screenslaver, a masked figure who sends menacing signals into the world via technology, causing those who view the content to become frozen in a zombie-like trance. Elastigirl sets out to stop this bad guy, while Bob discovers that Jack-Jack has powers - and lots of them. Jack-Jack can shoot lasers from his eyes, throw flames, and turn into multiples of himself or other animals. These gags alone make the film worth the price of admission, despite its numerous flaws, and the baby clearly steals the show.
I do like some of the interpersonal drama at play here. Violet struggles with being a superhero and wanting to attend school and date like a normal girl. She meets a boy who ends up forgetting her after his memory is wiped to protect Violet's superhero identity. Bob struggles to complete domestic tasks, and Helen misses important milestones at home. These scenes build on the character development of 14 years ago, but are not as impactful as they might have been in film that played to its strengths. Pixar films are successful largely because they are both gorgeously produced and narratively impressive. Incredibles 2 feels somewhat frivolous when you compare it to Pixar greats like its predecessor, Finding Nemo and Toy Story . The drama is largely inconsequential, the action sequences are not particularly noteworthy, and the narrative is forgettable. This is a rare and unwelcome disappointment from modern Disney and Pixar.
THE 4K ULTRA HD:
Disney releases Incredibles 2 on 4K Ultra HD with a 2.40:1/2160p/HEVC/H.265 transfer with HDR10 that is upscaled from a 2K digital intermediate. The 4K image is quite a bit darker than its HD counterpart, but it offers a pleasing and more filmic presentation with gorgeous, inky blacks and excellent shadow detail. Colors are expectedly vivid and perfectly saturated, and fine-object detail is abundant. There is a noticeable uptick in texture and detail in the 4K image, and contrast is overall better despite the darker appearance. The HDR pass brings colors to greater life, and blacks are rock solid. I noticed no issues with compression artifacts or aliasing.
Unlike some recent Disney releases Incredibles 2 seems to be authored at a normal volume level, and the Dolby Atmos/7.1 Dolby TrueHD mix is totally immersive. Sound pans are abundant from the opening scene to the closing credits. The Underminer drills around the sound scape as Frozone shoots through the surrounds, and the Incredibles rattle the subwoofer. Dialogue is appropriately integrated and consistently clear, and the Screenslaver's menacing communications offer ample and entertaining sound effects and roving audio. The bass response to action is rapid and intense, and the Michael Giacchino score is deep and beautifully orchestrated. French and Spanish surround tracks are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This three-disc set includes the 4K disc and two Blu-ray discs. The first includes the film and the second includes the majority of the bonus features. A Disney Movies Anywhere HD digital copy is included. The discs are packed in a standard 4K case that is wrapped in a slipcover. In my copy, the two Blu-ray discs are stacked on the left side of the case. On the first Blu-ray disc you get short films BAO (7:41/HD) and Auntie Edna (5:08/HD); Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird (18:50/HD); and an Audio Commentary by Bird (who quickly leaves) and Animation Supervisors Dave Mullins, Alan Barillaro and Tony Fucile and Animation Second Unit Supervisor Bret Parker. On the second Blu-ray you get Super Stuff (6:36/HD), about the "retro-future world" of the film; Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes (11:40/HD), which reflects on the film's family values; Superbaby (4:57/HD), about the design of Jack-Jack; Ralph Eggleston: Production Designer (2:07/HD), a brief look at his role on set; Making BAO (6:02/HD), with remarks from its writer and director Domee Shi; Heroes & Villains (25:35 total/HD), about the cast of characters; Vintage Features (3:12 total/HD), which are commercials and songs for the characters; a chunk of Deleted Scenes (39:44 total/HD); and Trailers and Promos (9:19 total/HD), which includes domestic and international promotional materials.
I was disappointed by Incredibles 2. Judging by the critical and audience consensus and the massive worldwide box office, I may be in the minority. The 4K Ultra HD package offers gorgeous visuals, impactful audio and a host of bonus features. If you know you like the film then the 4K package is an easy recommendation; everyone else should Rent It.
William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.