Tag Archives: Pixar Animation Studios

Incredibles 2 (2018 Movie)

Pixar Animation Studios

Sequel to The Incredibles

My rating: 3.5 of 5

The Parr family have already lost their home to the attack of an evil villain, and following some bad press, the government program that has been supporting them is shutting down. What’s more, that bad press is leading to even more pushback from society against superheroes–as if their technically illegal status wasn’t already bad enough. Seriously, all this sweet family wants is to be normal and to be able to use their powers for good . . . but nothing seems to be going their way. So when Elastigirl (Helen Parr) gets a job offer to fight crime using her powers while also working to publicize her work and regain the trust of the people–and the legality of supers–it’s not exactly like she can refuse. Meanwhile, Bob is left at home with the kids, trying to help Dash with his homework, understand the complexities of Violet’s love life, and work out Jack-Jack’s newfound (and numerous) superpowers. But as they’ve found before, this family is at their strongest when they work together.

So as I’ve said before, I really love The Incredibles, and thus was pretty nervous about watching its sequel. But I have to say, Pixar actually did a pretty decent job with Incredibles 2 . . . nothing groundbreaking, but they stuck to what worked with the first movie and made it work again. It honestly feels almost more like a continuation of the first movie than like a sequel proper, considering that it literally starts at the exact point in time that the first movie ends. Yes, you’ve got a new plot–or at least a new bad guy–but the continued focus on the family dynamic is strong here. Like, the superhero thing is what makes the plot work, but the story is actually a lot more about the people, the way the Parrs work through stuff like homework and dating and which parent stays home with the kids just like normal families do. It manages to be heartwarming and funny and relatable, which is great. Like I said, nothing groundbreaking here–they follow the typical (safe) Pixar tropes and all that–but they’re tropes for a reason. They work. The animation is CG, fairly consistent with the first movie–gotta say, they had some fun with water effects, which were impressive. Ditto with the music, pretty consistent and typical of this sort of movie. So yeah, if you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly movie, Incredibles 2 is a solid, safe choice.

Walt Disney Pictures/Written and Directed by Brad Bird/Produced by John Walker & Nicole Paradis Grindle/Starring Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huckleberry Milner, & Samuel L. Jackson/Music by Michael Giacchino

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Media Review

Monsters University

Pixar Animation Studios

Written by Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, & Dan Scanlon/Directed by Dan Scanlon/Produced by Kori Rae/Music by Randy Newman

Being an expert scarer providing energy for the community–and looking awfully cool while doing so–has been Mike Wazowski’s dream ever since he was the little kid being wowed by how cool the current scarers were. After years of hard work, the young monster has finally gotten into his dream school, Monsters University. Exuberant and studious, Mike plows through his studies, impressing his teachers with his knowledge and technique. But when it comes down to it, he’s faced with the hard reality that sometimes enthusiasm and hard work just aren’t enough. Another student, James P. Sullivan, seems to be the embodiment of this unfairness as he does well without even trying by relying on natural skill and a reputable family name. But when an unfortunate accident gets both of these two kicked out of the scare program, they are forced to decide: work together, however unpleasant that may be, or fail separately and live miserably for the rest of their lives. . . .

To be honest, Monsters University probably doesn’t need my review at all–it’s popular enough that most everyone has seen it, with good reason. This movie is classic Pixar: a good solid story about teamwork and friendship, nice visuals, a liberal sprinkling of humor, and nothing too controversial to gum up the works. It’s definitely not a serious, thought-provoking story, but it’s not supposed to be. More like, it’s a fun and funny movie that’s appropriate for elementary-school kids, but would also be enjoyable for adults. Probably one of the aspects that stands out most to me is the color; seriously, the entire campus is vivid, and the students are even brighter . . . which could be garish, but is actually rather beautiful. And as is typical with Pixar, the random little observations about people–as magnified through the lens of monsterdom in this case–is both amusing and revealing. I don’t really remember the music much even after having seen this twice, which means it’s probably not outstanding, but it isn’t bad either–it just works with the story enough that the story itself stands out the most. One last note: Monsters University is definitely a prequel to Monsters, Inc., and should be seen after seeing the original . . . if you don’t, you’ll probably be really confused.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media Review

Brave

Pixar Animation Studios

Written by Brenda Chapman/Directed by Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman/Produced by Katherine Sarafian/Music by Patrick Doyle

Merida is exactly like her mother the queen–strong-willed, stubborn, and sure she knows best–so of course, they’re bound to butt heads. Frequently. However, when the queen invites the other member nations of their united kingdoms to compete for Merida’s hand in marriage, Merida feels her mother has taken things too far. . . . And decides to take her fate into her own hands.

Brave is a beautiful, touching story. It’s classic Pixar, with the strong family focus, “follow your heart” theme, and widespread spattering of comic (sometimes slightly crude) relief. The characters–particularly Merida and her mom–are well developed and carry the story well. I really love the setting–historic Scotland–and the animation brings out the rugged beauty of the setting to great effect. (Plus I must say, I adore Merida’s hair and the dresses.)The music is also gorgeous–intentionally tear-jerking at parts, but that’s Disney for you. All told, I’d say Brave is an enjoyable, relatively family-safe movie that I’d generally recommend for most audiences.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media Review

The Incredibles

Pixar Animation Studios

Written & Directed by Brad Bird/Produced by John Walker/Music by Michael Giacchino

Bob and Helen Parr used to split their time between their “normal” lives and their superhero alter-egos, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl. Years later, as superheroes are now officially NOT welcome, the Parrs are restricted to mundane lives, which drives their kids–Violet and Dash, at least–a bit crazy. At least the baby, Jack-Jack, is normal. When Bob accepts a secretive superhero job on the sly and subsequently disappears, his family must draw together and rely on their own superpowers if they are to have any hope of bringing the family through this safely.

The Incredibles is a great example of Pixar doing what it does best–taking a random theme (superheroes in this case), turning said theme on its head, and ending up with a funny, inspirational family movie. The story is great: it’s got a well-balanced mix of action, romance, and everyday family life, with a hearty dose of humor. The characters are well done, and while the Parrs are all basically types, they’re still brimming with personality. (I still think Edna’s my favorite character; she’s like a 4-foot steamroller of frou-frou.)  The graphics are nice also; classic Pixar-style animation with impressive work (especially for its time) on the portrayal of the human body. The Incredibles is one of my favorite American movies (it’s a short list; I’m not usually a fan of American screen work), and it’s one that I can readily recommend for a broad audience including both children and adults.

2 Comments

Filed under Media Review