Incredibles 2 & the Success of Animated Movie Sequels

Sequels are big deals for today’s audiences. We’re willing to watch 19 ( soon 20) films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve got DC and their endless versions of Batman, many many Star Wars films, Star Trek reboot franchises, and sequels to things we never asked for (ie: Hot Tub Time Machine 2). It’s clear we crave sequels  — and it is Big Business.

But do animated movies deserve the same treatment? Usually animated followup films are the “straight to video” type, for example, Little Mermaid 2 and 3. Those are usually for the young children who are happy to watch more, and they tend to be more juvenile.

What animated movies get the sophisticated full cinematic treatment? More than you’d think. We’ve got Toy Story (there’s a 4th one coming soon), Cars, Monsters Inc, Despicable Me, Finding Nemo…these have all enjoyed moderate to great success at the box office. Pixar has a great formula, and they know how to engage adults with sly references, appeals to nostalgia, and jokes that might go over kids’s heads, but lands with us. We don’t even have to bring a kid along to make it socially acceptable to see these “cartoons” — no excuse needed.

We’ll see how Incredibles 2 does its job of luring grownups to the box office. The trailers look fun, although the “Mr. Mom” routine is quite dated by now. I hope they don’t milk that angle too much. It’s not a big deal these days for men to do the child-rearing. I look forward to seeing what exactly Jack Jack is. And I hope they continue the theme of the original film, where the supers are living under massive repression. It would be fantastic to take up the banner of freedom for supers, which, after all, is even something we’ve seen in live action superhero flicks like X-Men 1&2, and Captain America: Civil War.

So it seems that animated sequels are perfectly acceptable, and people are willing to pack the theaters to see them. I know I loved a return to the undersea world in Finding Dory, and folks can’t seem to get enough of Toy Story ( I refuse to watch Toy Story 3 out of self-preservation — I don’t want to watch a movie I know will make me cry). The Minions are always reliable for a good time, and the Monsters, Inc prequel was a good romp. I don’t think I know of any other animated prequels, so that might be a unique category.

We’ll see how my predictions pan out.

Do you watch animated movies? What are your favorites? Comments are below.

Movie Review – The Fate of the Furious

I’ve been waiting on pins and needle for this movie. Let me start off with the fact that I’m probably one of the biggest fans of this franchise. I’ve seen everyone of them on opening day, and had vowed my undying devotion to them. Yet, I may have to withdraw my pledge of allegiance.

To me, it fell flat when compared with the other movies. In no way did it give me the same feelings as the rest of them. I gave it a lot of thought and came up with a bright side: I think if you don’t compare it with the rest of the franchise, it was okay.

There were a lot of cool action sequences and great effects. In my opinion, Jason Statham and Tyrese Gibson stole the show. Both of them brought an incredible amount of humor to the movie. I didn’t realize that Statham could do humor so well. He’s really funny and hot – emphasis on “hot.”

Dwayne Johnson and Statham also had some great screen time together. The bantering that goes on between them is outstanding. I laughed out loud quite a few times. So there’s the bright side. Now what irked me….

I felt like Charlize Theron didn’t quite pull off the villain of the movie. She didn’t have the grit that was needed. I don’t think this was her fault because she is a great actress; it was in the writing. They really should have given a better back story for her. Throughout the entire movie I’m asking myself, who is she? How did she get all of this money, the amazing technology? I spent too much time during the movie wondering why. I know that suspense makes a movie, but it just felt like plot holes to me.

The other thing that seriously bothered me was Vin Diesel. I’ve secretly been in love with his character since 2001 when Dominic Toretto first appeared, sitting in his family’s bar, looking all sexy and bad. That guy wasn’t present in this film. He seemed like he was being forced to just get through the movie.

I’m so terribly curious about his performance. I just want to call him up and ask the questions I’ve come up with. Was his performance – or lack of performance – due to missing Paul Walker? (I miss him terribly.) It pains me, knowing we won’t see his beautiful smile ever again in the movies. Did he not like what he was given to work with? I know that there was tension on the set amongst the actors, but was it so bad that it affected his acting? Vin, please call me: we need to talk. I love you, but you really let me down.