As “The Incredibles” adventure came to an edge-of-your-seat finale, Syndrome was foiled—thanks to baby Jack-Jack and an ill-advised cape—and his jet exploded into a fiery ball, destroying the Parr family home. But the family was more bonded than ever; Violet showed off her newfound confidence, and Dash discovered that second place would do just fine. It seemed like a happily-ever-after ending until someone called the Underminer declared “war on peace and happiness.”
When “The Incredibles” first burst onto the big screen, Mr. Incredible’s super strength and Elastigirl’s stretchy flexibility wowed audiences around the globe—the film grossed more than $633 million worldwide, earning an Oscar® for best-animated film. But according to writer/director Brad Bird, it wasn’t the characters’ powers—or the villains—that fueled the film’s success. “I realized that the superhero aspect of the story didn’t interest me nearly as much as the whole family dynamic,” he says. “I think that people see themselves in these characters and that’s why they fell for them the way they did. ‘The Incredibles’ and now ‘Incredibles 2’ are really stories about a family.”
Since “The Incredibles” debuted in 2004, the superhero genre has skyrocketed within the film and television industry with major franchises exploding and new heroes emerging every few months. “The landscape has certainly changed since our last movie,” says Bird. “But the idea of our Supers worrying about getting jobs and paying the rent is still compelling. The challenge of juggling everything life throws at you—even if you have superpowers—is still relatable.”
During the Incredibles 2 Press Conference that was held in Los Angeles, we heard from the Cast and filmmakers and learned more about the film.
Q: Incredibles 2 picks up where the original movie ends. What was behind the decision to pick it up right away instead of having like an older Violet, an older Dash, an older Jack-Jack?
Brad Bird: : I just thought it was kind of bold and weird. Because I think people take the time that passes very literally. And they think that linearly, the characters should have aged. But if they age, their superpowers don’t reflect the part of life that they’re in and their role in the family. So I worked on the first eight seasons of the Simpsons. And the Simpsons haven’t aged a day and they’re still on the air. So it worked for them. And why not us?
Writer/director Brad Bird looked to his own life when he created the original characters
“Everyone’s powers are inspired by their role in the family and where they are in their lives at that time,” says Bird. “We played with traditional archetypes—the strong father figure and the multitasking mother—but in the end, we found that most of us can relate to all of the characters in some way. We’ve all been that impatient 10-year-old or the insecure teenager. We’ve all felt like we’re shouldering an impossible load between home and work or school, and we’ve all felt like we’re being pulled in too many directions.”
Q: There has obviously been a big leap in technology since the first movie. How did you really take advantage of those advancements and improvements to make Incredibles 2 really pop on the screen?
Nicole Grindle: Well, honestly, the technology has allowed us to make the film look more like what Brad intended it to look like the first time. The characters are much more finely nuanced and developed. We were able to build a lot more sets more quickly. We’ve populated the world with a lot more characters that have hair and clothing. And that’s stuff that most of y’all don’t notice. But actually, that makes the world feel richer and more alive. Not to mention all the other visual effects stuff. And we’ve also got a lot of artists who have had 14 years to get better at their craft. And a lot of artists who were some of the kids when the first film came out. And it’s a dream come true for them to work on this film.
Q: What blew you away in terms of working with the Pixar team, working with Brad, working with the other filmmakers?
Sophia Bush: One of the things that I just think is so cool about the whole thing is the layering of all the technology that makes these films look to all of us the way they look in Brad’s head. It’s wild to see the early stages of animation and to watch some of the scenes and then see what they become in the final edit. And it’s also totally nuts to go into the studio.
Q: So working on the film and over the years or the extended period of time that you were voicing the character and then seeing the movie with the cast, with the crew, with the filmmakers on the big screen. What was that like for you to see the finished product for the first time?
Catherine Keener: It was very thrilling and fun.
Samuel L. Jackson: I like it. I like it.
Bob Odenkirk: It was super fun to see it. I loved it. I’ve been knocked out by the visuals in this film. And I’ve only seen the little moments from it in the course of recording this. So to see it in the big beautiful color on the giant screen, I knew it was going to be amazing. And it’s beyond all expectations.
Effects artists also contributed to the look of the high-speed sequence. One shot called for Elasticgirl to bust through a glass window. But because of the quick cuts and fast pace, filmmakers found it hard to see the glass actually breaking. “We decided to break the rules a bit,” says effects sequence lead Amit Baadkar. “We added more glass shards than there actually are in the windows of the warehouse and we made the shards larger. We reduced the blurring that happens due to the camera motion. And we coordinated with lighting to shine more light on the shards themselves to get a better read.”
The effects team added tire smoke to the Elasticycle’s movements throughout the sequence. “It’s important that we feel the effect,” says Baadkar, “but not draw the audience’s eye directly toward it.”
“Incredibles 2” welcomes back to the big screen the family of Supers that charmed audiences in 2004, as well as old favorites like Lucius Best (aka Frozone) and Edna “E” Mode. The movie also introduces new characters to its super mix—from billionaire do-gooders to wannabe Supers—creating a dynamic cast of characters brought to life by all-star voice talent.
“Incredibles 2” opens in U.S. theaters on June 15.