What makes this animated superhero movie so relatable? It’s all in the family connection
You can’t choose your family, so the saying goes. Whether your home life looks like a scene from The Brady Bunch, or more closely resembles The Addams Family, like it or not, your family is likely the one thing that will always have your back.
But family is far from just being about the gene pool that links mums, dads, daughters and sons. Family is about that shared memory that makes everyone crack up. It’s about the people you call first when you have news, good or bad. It’s even about those times where you and your siblings bickered endlessly over whose turn it was with the TV remote.
And just like any relationship, families take work and are at their strongest when united. It’s this theme that the upcoming Incredibles 2 is set to explore when it releases in cinemas on 14th June.
Taking up the action immediately from where the original left off 14 years ago – don’t worry, the characters haven’t aged a bit – the sequel follows the secret superhero Parr family once more.
This time, Bob (that’s Mr Incredible to us) is left holding the baby – literally – as his super-stretchy spouse Helen – or Elastigirl – is sent on a mission to give superheroes a better public profile.
The role reversal leaves Bob feeling both frazzled and sleighted, and as he deals with teenage meltdowns, sibling rivalry and homework, he just wants to be the best dad possible. After all, it’s as super-suit designer Edna Mode says, “Done properly, parenting is a heroic act”.
But when a new villain begins hypnotising Metroville’s people through technology, it’s up to Bob to unite the family and save them from certain peril.
In a world where the entertainment industry seems to be saturated by superhero movies, is Incredibles 2 simply going to be more of the same?
No, says director Brad Bird – that’s the point. “When we did the first film, there were only two active big [superhero] franchises,” he explained at a recent press event. “Since then it’s like every six inches there’s a superhero. I think that if we thought about this as a superhero movie, we probably would’ve been stymied. But we didn’t. We always felt like what makes our film unique is that it’s about a family.”
Not just a family, a super-family at that. And what makes them super with the audience is the way the characters resonate with us all on a personal level.
“I think one of the reasons we’ve been successful is that everyone connects with the characters,” Brad noted. “That’s because we’ve all been teenagers. We’ve all been children. Many of us have kids. So we’ve dealt with little babies, which are really challenging to keep up with, and teenagers, which are also a handful in a completely different way.
“We’ve had parents that seem kinda clueless at moments and the dad that maybe speaks before he really knows what he’s talking about, the mom that manages everything. That’s where our strength lies, and that’s what makes us different.”
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WORDS Camille Hogg