Incredibles 2 4K Blu-ray Review
14 years later and they're still pretty incredible.
Incredibles 2 Film Review
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol director Brad Bird returns to the animated realm for a long-gestating sequel to the superb Pixar film, 2004's The Incredibles.Although he found success with Ghost Protocol - arguably putting the Mission: Impossible franchise back on the map (and look where it is now, with McQuarrie's double-header of Rogue Nation and Fallout) - Bird's subsequent live action movie, Disney's Tomorrowland, was an expensive flop (killing the chances of a sequel to Tron: Legacy in the process), so it's not wholly surprising to see Bird return to a guaranteed hit.
Production on a sequel was hinted at several times over the last 14 years, but frequently delayed and then - miraculously - brought forward so that Toy Story 4 could have more production time (something which inadvertently may lead to the unused ideas for this sequel being used for a possible third Incredibles outing). Taking place immediately after the first movie, the story picks up with the core family trying - but failing - to live under the radar after superheroes are outlawed, and finding themselves drawn to a philanthropist who appears to want to help put them back on the map, whilst also struggling with the work-home balance as Mrs Incredible is pushed into the limelight and Mr Incredible has to stay home and try and take care of the children.
A good follow-up, more impressive for bringing back the magic as if the 14 years that have passed were just 14 months.
In typical Disney/Pixar style, Incredibles 2 - whilst no match for its progenitor - finds an engaging duality of purpose; affording young children a wild and exciting ride, older children some familiar taste of early dating woes and the embarrassment of parents, and adults a whole different experience entirely, involving topical ideas of female empowerment and stay-at-home dads, and PR and media perception often outweighing simply doing the right thing. And then there's that quintessential Pixar heart - a humanity that subsists within almost all their output.
Despite all of this, Incredibles 2 can't help but fall down in the same department that so many of the still impressive Marvel films fell down in: the villain, which simply feels like a pale retread of the first film's superior antagonist. This robs it somewhat of purpose, prolonging some superior action setpieces - Bird still has the magic - and preventing it from achieving a really satisfying denouement, but it's still much more like Despicable Me 3 than Despicable Me 2 in terms of sequels - a good follow-up, all the more impressive for bringing back the magic as if the 14 years that have passed were just 14 months.
Incredibles 2 4K PictureIncredibles 2 earns itself a 4K video presentation primed on a 2K DI-based upscale, which has been used here for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release.
The disc presents a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image utilising the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. It uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec.
We reviewed the US Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Incredibles 2 on a LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV with an LG UP970 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Forget that it's an upscale, this presentation is excellent.
Sure the semi-skimmed upscale will disappoint some, but the tech specs sometimes belie the reality of the situation - Incredibles 2 looks head and shoulders better on Ultra HD Blu-ray than it does on its 1080p counterpart. Recently the director of Coco (another Disney/Pixar title inexplicably not given a UK 4K release) weighed in about the limited pros of a full fat 4K release for that title, but the story is more complicated than that.
The fact is that it isn't as simple as '2K', with the process required to downscale 2K for a 1080p Blu-ray prone to a multitude of side-effects - not least aliasing - which, in turn, require a degree of protection to avoid them becoming an issue. Animated features like this tend to have a natural element of aliasing, and the high frequency pass that is designed to protect against this also robs the image of some of its finer details. The process for upscaling does have its own side-effects, but, done right, and closer to 100% of this image information can be retained. Similarly the chroma subsampling encoded for a Blu-ray is considerably more extensive than that for a 4K release, irrespective of whether it is an upscale, leaving a much broader set of native colour information than the Blu-ray could ever provide.
When you couple the reality of this, with the added benefits of HDR and WCG (both of which are of paramount importance - again, particularly on a vibrant a colourful animated feature), the end result is rather strikingly different from its Blu-ray counterpart, despite many merely writing it off as 'only an upscale'.
The 4K release affords an immense amount of finer object detailing to the opening setpiece, as the city is torn apart, whilst there's a staggering depth to the broader vistas within which the major action sequences take place. The water features in the mansion are spectacular (it's easy to forget the relatively recent times when animated water just didn't look right) and the hair focus is excellent.
This is even before we consider the vibrance of the colours, which pop with an unparalleled intensity thanks to the HDR and WCG on the 4K release, giving the red superhero costumes a whole added depth and intensity. Black levels are rich and deep, and the myriad tones afforded by the colourful animated feature all shine in all of their glory (check out the neon-blessed blue 'eyes'!). Forget that it's an upscale, this presentation is excellent.
Incredibles 2 4K SoundIncredibles 2 get a 3D High Definition immersive audio Dolby Atmos upgrade over its Blu-ray counterpart's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, here founded upon an equivalent Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core. Whilst Disney has had an, arguably much deserved, bad rap when it comes to the power of their audio tracks over the last few years, this is a noticeable step up, not quite delivering the volume that fans would still like but - with a simple twist of the volume knob - affording us the same impact nonetheless.
A great track.
Dialogue remains clear and coherent throughout, firmly prioritised across the frontal array, whilst the memorable - albeit occasionally slightly repetitive - throwback John Barry Bond-esque track from Rogue One's Michael Giacchino provides a strong backbone to the proceedings, enveloping the action adventure with engaging spy thriller verve.
Effects lap up the myriad superpowers (from the baby boy alone), with blazing flames, energy blasts, blobby, bendy, bouncy effects and thunderous machinery at work - the Underminer's Thunderbirds-esque Mole grinds right through your living room floor, whilst the high speed train tears across your room, and the helicopters whip around your ceiling, spreading out across the array and fully utilising the dynamics of the surround array. It's a great track.
Incredibles 2 4K ExtrasIncredibles 2 earns itself two discs' worth of extra features, making up somewhat for the lack of supplemental features ported over to the 4K disc itself, with the accompanying Blu-rays both affording a strong selection of additional material.
The main Blu-ray disc includes an Audio Commentary headlined by writer/director Brad Bird himself, as well as a couple of great Short Films - the sweet BAO (which played before Incredibles 2 theatrically) and the Incredibles-themed Auntie Edna. There's also a 20-minute back-patting session that sees Bird praised by his cast and crew.
A comprehensive package.
The second Blu-ray is a dedicated extras disc, boasting a 5-part half-hour Documentary package, looking at the steampunk style, the family dynamics, Jack-Jack's powers, the production designs and the making of the Short Film, BAO. There's 25 minutes with the cast and crew discussing the hero and villain characters, a whopping 40 minutes of Deleted Scenes, and a number of Trailers and promos to round out what is a comprehensive package.
Incredibles 2 4K Verdict
Incredibles 2 is yet another Disney/Pixar release which swaps a UK 4K bow for a UK 3D release instead.
Ok, so Incredibles 2 isn't the stunning effort that the first film was, but it is nevertheless an impressive follow-up, particularly considering the 14 year gap between productions, and the few months that pass between the stories of the films themselves, which seamlessly continue the journey of this colourful superhero family in wonderfully fun throwback spy thriller style.
For some inexplicable reason, Incredibles 2 is yet another Disney/Pixar release which swaps a UK 4K bow for a UK 3D release instead (c.f. Coco, Cars 3), embracing the dying format in favour of the still-nascent new one. Fans instead need to import the US 4K release (they didn't get a 3D option), which promotes excellent video and audio and a bounty of extra features. Recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £29.74
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