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‘Incredibles 2’ film review: A rare sequel that is nearly as good as the first one

The superhero Parr family is back in Brad Bird’s follow-up to the 2004 animated movie.

A rare sequel that is nearly as good as the first movie, Incredibles 2 triumphs by refusing to tinker with its winning elements. Brad Bird’s animated movie features beautifully textured animation, kinetic set pieces, pitch-perfect voice work, a superb jazzy score by Michael Giacchino and a continued focus on family dynamics. The animation has as much smoothness, depth and humour as the first film, but Bird never forgets the reason The Incredibles (2004) worked so well: he made us care for its characters.

One of the smartest decisions is to take off exactly from where the first film left off: the superhero Parr family is locked in mid-town Manhattan battle with the Underminer. During the battle, Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell), the eldest daughter who can create force shields, is spotted by her classmate on whom she has a crush, causing immense anguish in the later reels. Meanwhile, the Parrs and their friend Frozone (voiced by Samuel L Jackson) are once again accused of leaving too much rubble in the wake of their victory, and are yet again banished into ordinariness.

A new patron arrives in the form of entrepreneur and superhero fan Winston (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) and his slinky inventor sister Evelyn (voiced by Catherine Keener). Winston offers to make Helen Parr (voiced by Holly Hunter) the face of a superhero revival, saddling Bob Parr (voiced by Craig T Nelson) with babysitting an increasingly grumpy Violet, son Dash (voiced by Huck Milner) and the infant Jack-Jack (voiced by Eli Fucile). As Bob changes diapers and gives Dash mathematics lessons while dealing with Violet’s first steps towards adolescence, he realises, to his horror and the delight of audiences, that Jack-Jack has more superpowers than all the Parrs combined. Even the child-hating eccentric fashion designer Edna Mode (voiced by Brad Bird) cannot resist Jack-Jack, and nobody will blame her.

Meanwhile, a mysterious villain named Screensaver is trying to conquer the world through mass hypnosis, sending Helen into battle.

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Incredibles 2 (2018).

The gender role reversal gives more room to Helen while also exploiting the humour that results from Bob’s ham-fisted attempts to father his wards. Some of the domestic scenes are sluggish, but Bird reserves his ballast for the thrilling extended climax, which involves a complicated bust-up on a ship in the middle of the ocean before taking to the air, as did the first film, and ending with enough ideas for a third movie.

The retro feel of the original film survives in the sequel, but the nods to the Avengers and the X-Men films through the creation of a superhero club means that some aspects gets neglected. Some more superheroes have been added in the second movie, and at least one of them (Voyd, voiced by Sophia Bush) looks like she will be around for the inevitable third outing. But the movie still hasn’t given Frozone enough to do beyond conjuring up icy blockades.

The domestic equation between Helen and Bob shifts only marginally after the wife gets to shine while the husband stays at home, and Holly Hunter’s raspy exasperation, which worked so beautifully in the first movie, doesn’t have anywhere in land in Incredibles 2.

Helen’s spirited fight against the antagonist who remains hidden in plain sight ultimately pales before the antics of her youngest child. Jack-Jack’s hectic personality changes, complete lack of self-consciousness befitting his infant status, and infectious giggles are truly incredible and power the sequel to dizzying heights, sometimes very literally.

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People who fall through the gaps in road safety campaigns

Helmet and road safety campaigns might have been neglecting a sizeable chunk of the public at risk.

City police, across the country, have been running a long-drawn campaign on helmet safety. In a recent initiative by the Bengaluru Police, a cop dressed-up as ‘Lord Ganesha’ offered helmets and roses to two-wheeler riders. Earlier this year, a 12ft high and 9ft wide helmet was installed in Kota as a memorial to the victims of road accidents. As for the social media leg of the campaign, the Mumbai Police made a pop-culture reference to drive the message of road safety through their Twitter handle.

But, just for the sake of conversation, how much safety do helmets provide anyway?

Lack of physical protections put two-wheeler riders at high risk on the road. According to a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes. Nearly half of those dying on the world’s roads are ‘vulnerable road users’ – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. According to the Indian transport ministry, about 28 two-wheeler riders died daily on Indian roads in 2016 for not wearing helmets.

The WHO states that wearing a motorcycle helmet correctly can reduce the risk of death by almost 40% and the risk of severe injury by over 70%. The components of a helmet are designed to reduce impact of a force collision to the head. A rigid outer shell distributes the impact over a large surface area, while the soft lining absorbs the impact.

However, getting two-wheeler riders to wear protective headgear has always been an uphill battle, one that has intensified through the years owing to the lives lost due on the road. Communication tactics are generating awareness about the consequences of riding without a helmet and changing behaviour that the law couldn’t on its own. But amidst all the tag-lines, slogans and get-ups that reach out to the rider, the safety of the one on the passenger seat is being ignored.

Pillion rider safety has always been second in priority. While several state governments are making helmets for pillion riders mandatory, the lack of awareness about its importance runs deep. In Mumbai itself, only 1% of the 20 lakh pillion riders wear helmets. There seems to be this perception that while two-wheeler riders are safer wearing a helmet, their passengers don’t necessarily need one. Statistics prove otherwise. For instance, in Hyderabad, the Cyberabad traffic police reported that 1 of every 3 two-wheeler deaths was that of a pillion rider. DGP Chander, Goa, stressed that 71% of fatalities in road accidents in 2017 were of two-wheeler rider and pillion riders of which 66% deaths were due to head injury.

Despite the alarming statistics, pillion riders, who are as vulnerable as front riders to head-injuries, have never been the focus of helmet awareness and safety drives. To fill-up that communication gap, Reliance General Insurance has engineered a campaign, titled #FaceThePace, that focusses solely on pillion rider safety. The campaign film tells a relatable story of a father taking his son for cricket practice on a motorbike. It then uses cricket to bring our attention to a simple flaw in the way we think about pillion rider safety – using a helmet to play a sport makes sense, but somehow, protecting your head while riding on a two-wheeler isn’t considered.

This road safety initiative by Reliance General Insurance has taken the lead in addressing the helmet issue as a whole — pillion or front, helmets are crucial for two-wheeler riders. The film ensures that we realise how selective our worry about head injury is by comparing the statistics of children deaths due to road accidents to fatal accidents on a cricket ground. Message delivered. Watch the video to see how the story pans out.

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To know more about Reliance general insurance policies, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Reliance General Insurance and not by the Scroll editorial team.