Ever since The Incredibles came into our lives back in 2004, fans have been pining after a sequel, and now, 14 years later, we finally have one! But was it ‘worth the wait’? For those of you that are still patiently waiting – minor spoilers ahead!
Incredibles 2 releases in the UK on July 13th, almost a full month after the US release. By now, as a resident of Scotland, I’m used to usually having to wait a little longer to see Pixar movies in the cinema, but I was beyond excited to discover that I was able to attend the Edinburgh International Film Festival (or EIFF) this year and see Incredibles 2 on June 24th. It wasn’t so much the slightly earlier screening that I was excited about – it was the atmosphere. Seeing Incredibles 2 in the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh has made my first viewing of this fantastic movie, and the wonderful short Bao, even more memorable and unique than I could have imagined.
It was surreal to be sitting in a theatre traditionally built to house opera and ballet performances while listening to Michael Giacchino’s Incredibles soundtrack in the background and watching kids running around with balloons and superhero facepaints. It was surreal, but also oddly fitting. It felt so right to be sitting in an audience of over 1000 people, enthusiastically awaiting the next Pixar movie. The release of a new Pixar movie is absolutely something worth celebrating, and this was my first time really getting to be a part of the celebration.
EIFF Artistic Director Mark Adams and Pixar’s Fran Kalal, the Tailoring Lead on Incredibles 2, were there to thank the audience for coming, and were even joined on stage by Bob and Helen Parr themselves! Or at least…people in Bob and Helen Parr costumes. Like I said – it was all very surreal. Kalal said this was her first time visiting Scotland, which was very exciting to her since she helped design Merida’s dress from Brave. And then, in true theatre fashion, the curtains were raised and the film started playing.
#edfilmfest Artistic Director @markadamsmirror is joined on stage by @DisneyPixar’s Fran Kalal, technical director behind @TheIncredibles costumes, & Mr & Mrs Incredible – all before special screening of #Incredibles2 @EIFFYoungWild @YOYP2018 #YOYP2018 pic.twitter.com/BR8TYWFeww
— Edinburgh Film Fest (@edfilmfest) June 24, 2018
From my experience as a UK cinemagoer, audiences are always relatively subdued. It’s unusual when someone makes any sort of exclamation during a movie, and even more unusual for people to actually applaud when the credits start rolling. I think that’s what made my EIFF experience so special. When the little dumpling in Bao first came to life, its eyes bursting open in horror when it realises it’s about to be eaten, there was the biggest uproar of laughter from the audience, and the laughter barely had a chance to die down until the very end of the short. It was to the point where I had trouble making out the music and sound effects – and I’m not even complaining! I was so moved by being able to hear the audience’s reaction to something I’m so passionate about – in the moment – instead of finding out through online communities afterwards. With Bao’s particularly shocking twist (you guys know what I’m talking about), I can’t think of a better short to see in this atmosphere. We all applauded as it came to an end, and I found myself applauding Pixar movies in general, making up for all the applause opportunities I’ve missed over the years. The fact that an actual Pixar employee was out there in the theatre somewhere made it feel like we were personally saying ‘thank you’, all 1,900 of us.
The same goes for the whole of Incredibles 2 – with the audience gasping, erupting into laughter, and going eerily quiet, I could immediately tell which scenes, gags, and reveals were going to stick in people’s minds for years to come (Jack-Jack and Edna taking away the trophy for ‘most memorable Incredibles 2 moment’). I was in the ‘upper circle’ of the theatre, and two kids in front of me could barely sit down from the excitement of all the action scenes – they’d moved past the ‘on the edges of their seats’ stage, standing on their tiptoes and holding onto the bannister as Elastigirl had her stunning face-off with the Screenslaver. Honestly, I wish all my cinema experiences could take place in as dramatic a setting as the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.
So – was Incredibles 2 ‘worth the wait’? For me, I don’t know if I was even waiting for a sequel to The Incredibles before it was officially announced. I love The Incredibles, its family values, and its characters, and I was content in revisiting its world simply by watching the original movie whenever I had the urge. That said, when Pixar announced that a sequel was in the works, I was eager to see where it could take the Parr family and how current day animation techniques could flesh out their world and its designs. It wasn’t exactly ‘worth the wait’, not because it didn’t live up to my expectations, but because I wasn’t even waiting for it! I didn’t know what to expect! However: it was more than worth a trip to Edinburgh, more than worth bravely attending a screening on my own, and more than worth seeing. And I think that is what’s really important.
I’m looking forward to seeing it again once the UK release date officially rolls around. Maybe it won’t be as magical as my first viewing, but the magic that Pixar managed to capture in Incredibles 2 through its action-packed sequences, its attention to detail in the animation and settings, and its messages on everyday, heroic acts is unquestionably enough for me.