Today, Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2 is available on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD. This should be an easy buy as we head into the holiday season, especially if you’re a fan of animated family-friendly movies, expertly handled emotional material, and/or Brad Bird‘s original 2004 flick that introduced the super-powered family years before the superhero sub-genre would flood TV screens and movie theaters. Incredibles 2 is a sequel in all the best ways: It’s bigger, arguably better, and bolder in the storytelling it attempts to tackle, making it a worthy successor to the outstanding original film.
Pixar’s animation technology has not just grown in the last 15 or so years, it’s evolved, allowing already talented artists and craftspeople from all sorts of departments to pull off something special. This team is led by Bird, a rare traditionalist when it comes to animation and one of the few who’s experienced direct training at the hands of the masters. From top to bottom, all of Pixar’s years of experience are delivered in Incredibles 2, a critical and commercial darling, and I’m happy to say that the Blu-ray delivers a fantastic film for the casual fan and a more in-depth dive for animation aficionados.
In Incredibles 2, Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell), Dash (voice of Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack—whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don’t shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) by their side. That’s what makes this family so Incredible. And for more on why this home video is worth picking up, take a look at the 100 things we learned from the Incredibles 2 Blu-ray:
Get inside commentary from animators Alan Barillaro (supervising animator), Tony Fucile (supervising animator, story artist and character designer), Dave Mullins (supervising animator) and Bret Parker (animation second unit and crowds supervisor).
- The Incredibles couldn’t manage a stadium full of people, so the animators are thrilled to be able to open the sequel with a stadium shot.
- The character of Tony Rydinger was overhauled for the sequel, one of many “chances to take another shot” at things, per the animators. The Underminer is another example.
- The animators didn’t get to work with the masks in the first film; that add-on came back later and they admit that they had to do some tweaking to fix them to the point that they were usable.
- Animation Dailies are referenced a lot; these are daily times where animators/actors get to present their recent work to the director for edits. All departments were involved in the dailies during this particular production.
- The Underminer’s tunneling machine would be about the size of Pixar’s entire campus. All of the departments were working on the opening Underminer sequence together, acting as a sort of crucible that would test their teamwork in order to get the film delivered on schedule.
- Elastigirl gets some new “shape language” to show off her superpower set and her abilities that audiences didn’t get to see in the first film.
- Physics, always a difficulty in animation, were tough to wrangle in the sequel, and there was plenty of math involved in the process, something the animators make very apparent.
- Bud Luckey, who voiced Dicker, was a storyboard artist who also directed Boundin’ and Sesame Street shorts. The early scene between Bob and Dicker is an homage to Bud, who passed away in February of 2018.
- “Jonesy the Iguana” from Toy Story of Terror is the giant kaiju in the movie playing on the TV in the background of the Parr Family dinner scene.
- The poolside scene at the motel should be taught in animation school for lighting, dialogue, minimal movement and containment, etc.
- Usher voiced the limo driver who drove Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone to the Deavors’ headquarters.
- Evelyn’s introduction was only seconds long but represents months’ worth of multi-departmental work.
- Keep an eye out for perfectly symmetrical mouths, known among the animators as “lemon mouth”; if you see one, they missed it since they did
- The bedroom conversation between Helen and Bob was directed by married animators, Jessica and Dave Torres. This was also the first scene in production, but it was paused in order to work up to it.
- The Deavor mansion’s design was inspired by a New York City bachelor pad that was great for a bachelor but awful for a family.
- Elastigirl’s motorcycle ride is highly detailed, from the shifting, to hitting the throttle, to shifting her weight for balance; it goes by in a blink. (Also keep an eye out for people playing tag in the park in the monorail scene.)
- Elastigirl’s motorcycle ride also includes a lot of intentional imperfections in order to get audiences feeling concerned for her, as if she’s almost about to fail. (Keep an eye out for the terrified construction worker underneath the overhanging monorail.)
- The animators had a particularly interesting challenge when trying to balance the fight between Jack-Jack and the raccoon, as paired to the cops-and-robbers movie playing on the TV in the living room.
- Jack-Jack’s “goo” power was originally a practical effect but it got a little too gross; they animated it frame-by-frame instead, using a sketch tool on the scenes they were animated to sculpt the final look. The animators use it as a way to reference their drawings acting as shorthand for notes on scenes.
- Any time a character interacts with cloth, like a blanket, is through newly available technology for the animators, a luxury they didn’t have on the first film.
- Violet’s increasing vulnerability when interacting with Tony at school is paralleled by the dwindling amount of people in the hallways, which slowly empty out as Violet feels more and more exposed.
- Isabella Rossellini voiced the ambassador who meets Elastigirl early on in an exchange of pleasantries between famous people.
- The scene of Elastigirl riding in the limo and greeting her supporters was one of the very last sequences added to the film.
- When Deavor says, “Ellenwood! I’ll have to call you back,” that’s a nod to Amy Ellenwood, Bird’s longtime assistant.
- Animator Sequoia Blankenship, a former cop, offered his firsthand experience on entering dangerous locations as reference for Elastigirl sneaking into Screenslaver’s lair.
- Bob’s increasingly disheveled and tired appearance is relatively new to animation, giving animators the ability to change character models in the middle of production.
- Some great attention to detail with character relationships and interactions here, specifically between Elastigirl and Voyd, and Violet and her dad.
- Jonny Quest is shown in a scene as a nod to Bird’s childhood spent watching it; much of the design in this movie is inspired by the animated series.
- The reporter who was interviewing the man who won the auction for Mr. Incredible’s “Incredibile” car is also the woman who’s having some wine with him in a later scene.
- Even before the party yacht is running at an out-of-control speed, it’s moving at the equivalent of over 600 miles per hour in the animation software.
- Shout-out to Andrew Jimenez for doing the opening and end credits sequences.
BONUS FEATURES (may vary by retailer)
The Coolest Guy in Show Business
In this partially illustrated documentary, Samuel L. Jackson reflects how his childhood and love of comics shaped his passion for film and imaginative storytelling.
- Samuel L. Jackson talks about growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the 1950s during Segregation, where comic books and movies were his escape from the limits of his reality.
- He reminisces about sitting on the porch with his grandfather, listening to radio dramas and telling their own scary stories; this was Jackson’s earliest brush with acting.
- He sees Frozone as “a happy-go-lucky guy who happens to have a really great superpower.”
2 SuperScene Breakdowns
Casual commentary-style pieces looking at specific scenes in the film (The Racoon Fight and Mrs. Incredible) through a particular creative focus like action choreography, set design or story.
- Members of the creative team, including producer Nicole Paradis Grindle, animators Jessica Torres and Amanda Wagner, shading lead Beth Albright, and tailoring lead Fran Kalal, take a deeper look at scenes with Elastigirl to reveal quirks of animation, shades of emotional resonance, and finding the right balance of friction in relationships.
- Beyond just animating the characters, the animation teams had to manage their clothes and the other fabrics in the scene, which play havoc with the physics in the software.
- Attention is also paid to Elastigirl’s hair in her motorcycle-riding scene, a supporting character’s last-minute addition of a fashionable tie, and “battle damage” on the super-suits during the fight scene among the Incredibles family.
- In a breakdown of the raccoon fight scene, producer John Walker, writer/director Brad Bird, story artist Peter Sohn, animator Kevin O’Hara, and layout artist Mike Leonard revisit Jack-Jack’s early battle.
- Story artist Teddy Leonard pitched the idea for raccoons resembling criminals back in 2001 for Incredibles; they didn’t need the scene for the first film but they loved the idea, which is how it made it into the sequel.
- The team talks about the challenge of making the fight scene light and fun instead of disturbing.
- Bird points out quick little quirks of animation while Jack-Jack watches an old movie; the production actually bought the old movie, which goes unnamed, in order to animate to it and match up Jack-Jack’s battle with the villainous raccoon.
- Jack-Jack using telekinesis to move the trash can lid was Sohn’s idea, even though Bird was reluctant to begin with.
- The “Han shot first” argument was used to make sure Jack-Jack delivered the first blow to the raccoon. The lighting and staging of the battle is also meant to represent a spaghetti Western style stand-off.
- Pay close attention to Jack-Jack’s laser eyes; you’ll see that he crosses his eyes in order to use his laser beams to cut the umbrella in half.
- The “goo baby” was supposed to appear in the first film when Syndrome was carrying Jack-Jack, but they “didn’t know how to do it, couldn’t afford to do it, and didn’t have time to do it.”
- Also notice that one of Jack-Jack’s clones isn’t hostile at all, he’s having a blast and laughing along.
- Jack-Jack was voiced by Bird’s son Nick; the recording was taken years ago since Nick just graduated college.
Blu-ray & Digital:
Bring home more bonus clips featuring Jack-Jack and all your favorite Supers! Incredibles 2 is available on Digital & Movies Anywhere now and Blu-ray Nov 6: http://di.sn/6008DIJx4
All-New “Auntie Edna” Mini-Movie (5 minutes):
When Bob Parr visits super-suit designer Edna Mode looking for help with his high-energy toddler Jack-Jack, Edna pulls an all-nighter designing a suit to harness the baby’s seemingly limitless powers.
- A breakdown of Edna Mode’s time with Jack-Jack. The famed fashion designer takes notes while the youngest Parr shows off his powers. It’s a super-cute bit of bonus Jack-Jack material, but also fun to see more of Edna as she really takes to the little one. (She does have a rather rough run-in with Jack-Jack when it comes to cookies…)
- Jack-Jack has an even wider array of powers here than he gets to show off in either movie (and the raccoons get a fun cameo, too).
- Once Jack-Jack’s supersuit is finished, he gets to have a mini fashion show.
- The short was written and directed by story supervisor Ted Mathot.
10 Deleted Scenes with Introductions:
- Introduction – Bird defines deleted scenes as “scenes that seemed like a good idea at the time” and explains how, in animation, deleted scenes are still planned and storyboarded to see what works and what they can do without. He also says that watching deleted scenes is bittersweet because it reminds them of how lost they were early on in story-finding process as well as the good ideas they had along the way.
- Suburban Escape – The opening sequence, which had to remind the audience that Syndrome’s jet destroyed the Parr Family home in the first film, picked up immediately after that event. This scene featured the Parrs trying to track down a phone to call Dicker for help, in which Violet puts her powers to good use.
- Kari Revisited – Bird’s favorite deleted scene. Bob and Helen go to visit babysitter Kari’s parents. There’s some conflict here since Kari’s babysitting gig left some emotional scars. Bret “Brook” Parker voiced Kari in the original film and the mom in this film, along with film editor Stephen Schaffer.
- Return of the Supers – Bird talks about the difficulty of providing a bridge between the original film and the sequel. This scene reminds audiences that the supers who died at the hands of Syndrome were in hiding and operating underground; this scene, a public eulogy of Paladino/Gazerbeam, was also supposed to suggest how being a superhero in secret and in hiding came with a cost. Mr. Incredible recruited Paladino and named him, even though he wanted to be referred to as Viewpoint. Mr. Incredible’s speech says that the superheroes, described as “engines”, can be used to drive progress forward in public or to regress in secrecy. Many other fallen superheroes are remembered here.
Chewed Out – This is a longer version of the interrogation scene that was seen in the film. This version includes an interrogation of Dash and Violet as well as that of Helen and Bob, the latter of which is shown in the finished film.
- Late Audition – Previously geared towards a show-business theme, some of the superheroes auditioned to be a hero and showing off their powers, which could be dangerous. It was cut because “superheroes using their powers for entertainment” didn’t care enough personal stakes. This particular super has a surprising power, and things get pretty dark …
- Slow Day – Bird talks about this scene in which Elastigirl and Deavor sit and wait for crimes to happen so they can catch it on her suit’s camera. The problem is that she’s too efficient at fighting crime, but not quite to dynamic. She learns to play things out a little more theatrically with the criminals of New Urbem, but it’s still too little to fill an hour’s worth of programming.
- Frozone and Honey – The team wanted to introduce Honey over the course of a scene, but they felt that it slowed the pace of the big action scene and also ruined the joke of Honey being off-camera. So while you can imagine Honey looking anyway you want to now, the storyboarding includes concept art of what they imagined Honey would look like.
- Restaurant Robbery – Originally intended to show something normal, like Bob taking the kids to dinner, had the kids solving crime without their parents and without their supersuits. While Bob changes Jack-Jack, Dash and Violet take down a pair of armed would-be robbers.
- Fashion Show – This scene would have shown off Edna’s fashion-focused work, designing for models when she doesn’t get to work towards the benefit of superheroes.
- Security Breakdown – In an earlier version of the plot, artificial intelligence was introduced, especially at Edna Mode’s house. This scene feature a corruption of her house’s defense system, which Bob had to evade.
From buildings and vehicles to costumes and props, every action movie requires a lot of really cool stuff. Meet the makers and learn what it takes to design and build such a uniquely incredible world.
- Animators Lance Fite, MontaQue Ruffin, production designer Ralph Eggleston, sets designer Paul Abadilla, producers John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle, previs lead Philp Metschan, actor Sophia Bush, character tailoring lead Fran Kalal, character and costume designer Deanna Marsigliese, story supervisor Ted Mathot and Bird talk about the sequel.
- The shift from the 50s aesthetic of the original to the 60s take in the sequel is described as “retro-futurism.”
- Walker’s rule for the sequel was that they didn’t do something fantastic for very long without doing something mundane, balancing the home life with the superhero life. The fantastically designed superhero house serves as a source of conflict for the family.
- Screenslaver’s lair is described as “the dark side of Evelyn.”
- The background characters, many of whom need to be saved by the “supers”, had to fit in with this stylized world but not draw too much attention to themselves. The creative team got to bring a lot of diversity–age, skin color, body types, and wardrobe–to the background characters, too. Some background characters, like the make-up woman who touches up Helen before her TV appearance, do make their way into the foreground.
- The vehicles–planes, boats, motorcycles, subterranean drills–are shown off, from concept to execution, with a focus on Helen’s Elasticycle and Evelyn’s jet, which came off of the top of the yacht, the Hydroliner.
Heroes & Villains
A collection of mini-docs about the backstory and major design ideas behind the “Incredibles 2” characters — featuring voice actors, director Brad Bird, and Pixar artists talking about the many elements that make these characters feel real.
- Bird says that Bob Parr is a blend of himself and his own father.
- Bird also cites his wife Liz Bird as an inspiration for Helen.
- Frozone’s design mimics a swimmer’s body, especially when compared to Mr. Incredible’s physique.
- Edna’s new wardrobe was made by Bryn Imagire actually physically sculpting material in a variety of modern art styles, as references.
- The creative team didn’t know whether Winston Deavor was going to be a good or an evil character. His conflicting designs keep audiences guessing as to his true nature.
- Winston’s design is based on the general idea of a shark, like a “business shark.”
- Evelyn Deavor’s design included a black-and-white, TV static-like aesthetic, “op art” fashion, and a curious combination of comfort and chaos.
- Even the Wannabes, the up-and-coming supers, get a spotlight! The design team was given a list of names and powers to lead their design of the characters.
- Voyd’s final design was pulled out of the hundreds of concept art sketches created for the Wannabes. She’s a bit of a fangirl when it comes to Elastigirl.
- Brick was originally a male version of the superhero in a brick-red leotard; Marsigliese then used herself as inspiration for the final version of the character (though she didn’t necessarily pitch it that way).
- Screech was delivered as a “giant flying owl man”, as per the director, Bird. Marsigliese says that every character Bird creates has a bit of him in them, so if you think Screech = Bird, you’re partially correct.
- Reflux was originally going to be called G.E.R.D. for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Ralph Eggleston: Production Designer
This short piece explores the many ways a single production designer has influenced the look, feel and character of the Pixar universe, culminating in “Incredibles 2.”
- Eggleston breaks down what a production designer actually does by walking viewers through the process of making films like Incredibles 2; pretty short featurette.
- The Pixar vet has worked on numerous films for the studio, including writing, directing, and voicing the short For the Birds for Pixar.
Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird (20 minutes):
Brad Bird’s passion for animation dates back to his childhood and mentorship under Disney’s Milt Kahl, and that enthusiasm and powerful insight emanates from every film he’s made. Take a deep dive into Brad’s early years at Disney Animation Studios and his time at Pixar.
- The cast and crew, all of whom are feeling the pressure of getting the movie done on time, talk about the “strong coffee” effect of their writer/director, Bird.
- He’s variously described as “explosive”, “passionate” about his “strong opinions”, “enthusiastic” about all-things animation, a “modern-day version” of the Disney legends, and more.
Bird himself walks through the iconic Disney animation history and reflects on being a part of that. He literally walking through the old animation building while talking about his history as an animation fan from an early age.
- Composer George Bruns was his first tour guide at the studio, where he met Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas. The veteran animators though he’d lose interest quickly, but he showed up three weeks later with the animated short film “The Tortoise and the Hare.”
- Archival footage of Bird working on Ratatouille is also shown.
- Bird cites The Jungle Book as his “wake-up call” to doing animation and how much work goes into making an “uptight, stuffy panther move.”
- There’s also attention to detail when it comes to character and what differentiates one character from the next, such as mouth-shape and movement.
- Bird’s experience with the Disney mentors was before any kind of official program at the studio; animator Milt Kahl really put Bird and his early animation work through the ringer.
- Along with Bird’s pedigree as an animator, there’s time given to “Disney’s Nine Old Men” as well.
- Unsurprisingly, Bird prefers traditional, hand-drawn, pencil-to-paper, 2D animation for getting an emotional connection.
- Bird and Jerry Rees moved into Kahl’s old office when Johnston retired; they were known as the “Rat’s Nest.” Before long, Bird watched his idols retire; he felt melancholy at both that fact and the fact that Disney wasn’t making the kind of films he wanted to make. He was let go by Disney soon after that, but Pixar would come calling shortly thereafter.
Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes
At its heart, “Incredibles 2” is about family dynamics and the challenges of being a working parent. Meet the parents of Pixar as they discuss their personal connections to the film and their experience with stretching to balance work and family.
- Bird, Paradis Grindle, Kalal, international production director Cynthia Lusk, story artist Dean Kelly, animators Jessica and Dave Torres, animators Kevin and Lindsay Andrus, production management coordinator Emily Davis, actors Craig T. Nelson and Samuel L. Jackson, animator Sequoia Blankenship, home entertainment supervisor Eric Pearson, character supervisor Bill Wise, supervising animator Dave Mullins, executive assistant to the director Morgan Karadi and more of the cast and crew on their favorite, realistic parenting/relationship moments from the film.
- Parents should appreciate these anecdotes just as much as the movie itself and might even find some familiar moments in both their lives and the lives of the Parr family.
- There are also some earnest reveals from the married and partnered couples who worked on the film, often together, balancing the work-life balance.
A documentary/hip hop music video hybrid hosted by Frankie and Paige from Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark. This piece explores how Jack-Jack came to life onscreen — from design to special effects to animation — all set to a hot beat.
- A fun rhyming breakdown of the character design, specifically focusing Jack-Jack, along with a original rap song inspired by the super-powerful baby.
Theatrical Short: “Bao”
An aging Chinese mom suffering from empty nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy.
Director Domee Shi shares her secret recipe for making an animated short — discussing how her rich cultural heritage, unique relationship with her mom, and her love of food all informed the making of the food-fantasy “Bao.”
Shi talks about storyboarding Bao by herself for about a year before getting a chance to make her directorial debut on it, becoming the first woman at Pixar to direct a short film.
- Bao can mean a steamed bun or “something precious, like a treasure” depending on the pronunciation.
- Shi talks about her childhood spent with her mom.
- There’s a cute behind-the-scenes mini-featurette where Shi’s mom teaches the animators how to make the dough and the dumplings themselves.
- The design of the short’s Mom was figured out first and then the world around her was designed with that aesthetic in mind; over-sized and “kind of chunky.”
- The design of Mom’s home was meant to mimic a “classic” Chinese home with the lucky cat, etc.
- The setting is in Toronto, with the city’s Easter eggs featuring the CN Tower, a maple leaf sweater, a Canadian flag magnet on the refrigerator, etc. scattered throughout.
Outtakes & Stories
- Raccoon Fight Story – Bird shares his anecdote about a raccoon and his poodle Augie with his animators. It’s a good peek into what it’s like to work with Bird and what kind of energy he brings to his storytelling; it’s also good to see how this real-life battle inspired the move scene.
- Evelyn Animation Outtakes – Some very silly moments the animators snuck in but didn’t make the final cut, for obvious reasons.
- Puppet Animator Interview – Another silly bonus that features a puppet talking about what it was like to work with Brad Bird while comparing digital animation to the art of live-action puppeteering. (P
- Outtakes Goofy Arms Story – Bird shares a story from his time with his mentor Milt Kahl. Bird planned out a scene in which Goofy, unawares, tried to pick up a suitcase full of anvils on his way out the door. Kahl liked his take but said, “We don’t do that here.” Bird’s mom, to whom he told the story, focused on the fact that Kahl used the word “We”, including him in the process.
- SuperBaby Music Video
Character Theme Songs, Vintage Toy Commercial TV Spots , Toolkit Montage and Global “Incredibles 2” Trailers
Theatrical Short: “Bao” & Commentary