Contemplating an INCREDIBLES 2
For those who’ve been clamoring for a sequel to Pixar’s popular, fantastic animated action company about superheroes, THE INCREDIBLES, now is not the time to give up hope.
Brad Bird, the director and writer of the original movie, recently told The Hollywood Reporter he has several ideas for what the sequel should be.
“I am stroking my chin and scratching my head,” he said. “I have many, many elements that I think would work really well in another film, and if I can get ‘em to click together, I would probably wanna do that.”
Bird says he wants to increase the pace on the movies he’s making:
“I like the idea of moving a little more quickly in films. I’m looking for ways to accelerate the pace a little bit and figure out a way to keep creative control over these movies to a level where I’m comfortable with the end result but also speed them up a bit and make more of them. I have many different films I wanna make. It’s like a big airplane hangar, and I have different projects on the floor; half-assembled in my brain. I’m interested in all of them. You kind of have to move on the ones people are willing to pay for and the ones you’re most excited about.”
After directing RATATOUILLE, Bird made his first live action movie, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL, which turned out to be one of the biggest box office draws of 2011. And, THE INCREDIBLES is one of Pixar’s most successful movies, comparing very favorably to FINDING NEMO and the TOY STORY trilogy.
So, Brad Bird is definitely one of the most successful directors working today.
Currently, Bird is working on a science fiction movie starring George Clooney and Hugh Laurie called TOMORROWLAND. Walt Disney Pictures is scheduled to distribute that movie on December 19, 2014.
Because of Bird’s busy schedule, it’s unlikely we’ll see an INCREDIBLES sequel before 2015. Currently, Pixar already has two movies scheduled for a 2015 release, Pete Docter’s INSIDE OUT and Andrew Stanton’s sequel to FINDING NEMO, titled FINDING DORY.
Bird was asked to consider doing STAR WARS VII for Disney, but his schedule wouldn’t allow it. How about doing both STAR WARS VIII and THE INCREDIBLES 2 for 2017, Brad?
Stay tuned for further updates from Movieguide®, including news about this year’s Pixar movie, MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, which opens June 21.
To read Movieguide®’s review of THE INCREDIBLES, go to http://www.movieguide.org/reviews/The-Incredibles.html.
- Sources: The Hollywood Reporter and Indiewire, 05/16/13.
WHAT MAISIE KNEW is an often tragic but ultimately hopeful drama about the importance of good parenting in a neglected young child’s world. There are some strong pagan elements, but they are ultimately proven to be morally wrong.
The story, based on a classic novel by Henry James and adapted to present times, is told from a 6-year-old girl’s viewpoint. Maisie has a rock star mother and a father who runs a failing art business. Maisie’s parents have no time for her and are incredibly neglectful of Maisie even as they bitterly fight and break up their relationship (they were never married). Maisie is shuttled between the two parents every ten days, yet neglected by them. She winds up bonding with her nanny, who suddenly becomes her dad’s new wife, and her mom’s new husband, a bartender who’s incredibly kind to Maisie.
As Maisie’s parents keep fighting, Maisie bonds even further with the two new people in her life. Ultimately, Maisie decides she’s more loved by these two outsiders than by her own parents and tries to live a simpler yet more loving life with them.
WHAT MAISIE KNEW is beautifully acted, with Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan appropriately awful as Maisie’s parents. Peter Skarsgard and Joanna Vanderham are highly touching as the outsiders who care more for Maisie, but young Onata Aprile as Maisie is the true revelation here. She delivers a powerful, heartbreaking performance. The superb writing and direction bring the story powerfully into present times, showing that our go-go era of chasing money and work above all else has profoundly sad consequences for children. It comes down squarely on the side that simpler lives and more quality time with children are essential to helping them thrive.
Due to the frequent foul language and often downbeat portrayal of the parents, however, WHAT MAISIE KNEW is suitable only for adult viewers. Extreme caution is advised.
BEFORE MIDNIGHT is another talky sequel to the love story between an American writer, Jesse, and a French environmentalist activist, Celine. This one shows the potential dissolution of their common law marriage, which means it becomes rather shrill and unappealing at several points. Also, all of Celine’s arguments against Jesse seem to derive from her radical feminist views. How you view her arguments will depend on your opinion of that secular leftist ideology.
The new movie story takes place nine years after Jesse left his American wife for Celine and almost 20 years after they met. They now have two beautiful twin daughters. The story opens with Jesse saying goodbye to his young son, Hank, as Hank is ready to fly back to the USA after spending vacation time with Jesse and Celine in Greece. It’s clear that Jesse is upset that he doesn’t have joint custody of Hank and can only see him once a year or so.
Back in the car with Celine and their daughters, Jesse expresses his frustrations about that at one point with Celine. She gets all upset because she thinks Jesse wants her to give up a lucrative job offer and live with him in Chicago, to be closer to Jesse’s son, Hank.
After a long conversation, Jesse is able to regain some peace and harmony with Celine. Later that evening, however, the subject comes up again in a Grecian hotel room, where they’re spending a final romantic getaway before returning to Paris. Suddenly, all the resentment building up between Jesse and Celine starts coming out. Celine starts relaying all the feminist anger she’s been holding within herself due to Jesse’s allegedly selfish, chauvinistic behavior.
Some critics are enamored with the series of movies that began with BEFORE SUNRISE (1995) and BEFORE SUNSET (2004), but they are very talky movies about a two shallow people who fall in love. BEFORE MIDNIGHT is no exception to this, but in it, the two lovers are starting to fall out of love. The dialogue in the series has a veneer of intellectual profundity, so apparently that’s what’s attracting some people to them. However, the man is morally shallow, and the woman is preoccupied with her career and her politics. In BEFORE SUNSET, it was her environmentalism. In BEFORE MIDNIGHT, it’s her environmentalism and her modern radical feminism.
BEFORE MIDNIGHT also has a lot of strong foul language and strong sexual content. Most of the “action” takes place in a hotel room where Celine and Jesse rage against one another with all the recriminations that have built up during nine years of living together. Though the ending shows that their love may be able to overcome their problems, the arguments beforehand are pretty distasteful. Most moviegoers will not find BEFORE MIDNIGHT very appealing.
EPIC is a big story in a little world.
It starts off with a human girl, MK (short for Mary Katherine), coming home to the father she’s never known as a result of a promise to her recently deceased mother. The father is obsessed with finding another dimensional, teeny tiny world.
As it would happen, MK finds the tiny world, a world where the Leaf people are fighting the Rot people to save nature. The Rot people, led by their evil king, want to destroy all of nature. Every 100 years, at the summer solstice, when there’s a full moon, the queen of nature finds a bud, which turns into the next queen in the ancient temple when the full moon hits it. The Rot people mortally wound the queen, and she hands the bud to MK, and MK becomes a little person.
Now, MK, along with the captain of the queen’s forces, Ronan, and a disobedient young warrior named Nod, have to fight the evil Rot king and save the bud, so that nature will be saved. In the process, MK falls in love with Nod, while her father franticly searches for her.
EPIC has a lot of good qualities. It is fast-paced. There are plenty of laughs and tears. The valiant leaf people show loyalty, honor, self-sacrifice, and forgiveness. All of these traits would suggest a Christian story. However, the story’s setting involves an overtly monistic environment promoting Mother Nature and extolling the “balance of nature.” The good news is that that pagan part of the story is kept very light, so media-wise families can enjoy the movie if they explain the truth before watching to their older children.
Finally, EPIC is a little scary for young children and has two parallel plotlines, which are a little confusing. Therefore, it’s not as good as the previous ICE AGE movies by Blue Sky.
THE HANGOVER PART III is the third in the series of HANGOVER comedies notorious for their raunchy level of humor. PART III is a surprisingly toned-down affair. Aside from its frequent foul language, it’s not as crude as the previous two movies. It also doesn’t offer as much comedy, however.
PART III switches away from the repetitive motif in the first two movies of a group of hungover men waking up amid totally debauched surroundings and trying to figure out how they got there. Instead, the new movie turns into a four-day road trip in which the lead men have to track down an Asian criminal named Mr. Chow and convince him to return $21 million worth of gold bars stolen from a rival crime lord named Marshall, before Marshall kills one of their friends.
Very little of interest follows, except for a superb house-breaking and robbery scene with a satisfyingly surprising twist. Far too much of the movie consists of showing the lead males driving and verbally sniping at each other. There is little of the inventiveness found in the first movie. Thankfully, however, the new movie doesn’t have some of the outrageous raunchy edge of the prior movies.
While it’s a relief not to have to endure a plethora of scatological jokes and lewd visuals, what remains – outside of an impressive robbery sequence – is often lacking in clean laughs or other interest. The first 20 minutes or so start off with a bang and are mostly clean. They include a crazy traffic accident, a hilarious funeral scene where Alan, the bearded crazy friend played by Zach Galifianakis, unexpectedly sings a beautiful falsetto version of “Ave Maria,” followed by a terrific intervention scene where family and friends confront Alan into getting therapy. After those opening winners, the laughs are too few.
THE HANGOVER PART II still features plenty of foul language that’s sure to offend discerning moviegoers. There’s also some outrageous shots during the end credits. They feature, among other things, a subplot about a man drunkenly receiving breast implants and another man who jumps into camera range to show while showing full frontal nudity. Despite the toned-down content, THE HANGOVER PART III is abhorrent and won’t please its degenerate fan base nor media-wise viewers.
FAST & FURIOUS 6 is another action-packed popcorn movie in one of the few movie franchises that’s gotten better with age. This one has a stronger moral center than previous ones, as the protagonists are now working with Interpol and NATO to stop a really bad guy, in exchange for a pardon. They are also trying to bring back a family member and, in the process, have to save another family member. However, the movie still contains plenty of strong foul language, lots of action violence, reckless driving, and fighting, so extreme caution is warranted.
The story opens with best friends Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) living next to each other on an island off the Spanish coast to avoid extradition to the United States. They and their gang are also newly wealthy, having shared in a $100 million heist of some crooked Brazilian money in FAST FIVE, the prior movie.
Hobbs, the federal agent who at first chased and then worked with them in FAST FIVE, tracks them down and reveals that Toretto’s wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), thought to be killed, is in fact alive and engaged in criminal activities with a ruthless cyberterrorist gang. Toretto agrees to round up his gang and prevent the terrorists from taking control of a high-tech device that can wipe out the power of cities, in exchange for a full pardon of everyone. Dom also wants to save his wife, Letty, who’s suffering from amnesia.
This begins an amazing series of action setpieces, mixed in with richly drawn characters and an impressive moral dimension to the high stakes. As they chase the bad guy’s gang around Europe, all manner of hand-to-hand combat, car chases and ridiculously over the top action – including scenes with a tank on a freeway and a plane weighed down by cars – ensues. Throughout, it’s made clear that the heroic gang lives by a code of honor and ethics, that while not perfectly moral or Christian, is nonetheless strong. Part of that code contains a strong moral center of both loyalty and a positive reinforcement of family. For example, in the first scene, Dom’s friend and brother-in-law, Brian, is ushered by exuberant nuns into his own wife’s maternity room as she’s just delivered their new baby boy. Also, Dom refuses to give up hope that he can find and re-win the heart of Letty, making her leave the villainous gang. At one point, he tells Brian, “You never give up on family, even if they give up on you.”
Thus, by the end of the movie, home, family and prayer are lifted up. Before a brief setup for the next movie, FAST & FURIOUS 6 ends with a prayer of thanksgiving to God as the pardoned heroes gather for a celebratory barbecue back in Los Angeles. Finally, during the movie, a Christian cross that Letty used to wear becomes a symbol of her connection to her husband, and her real family.
That said, FAST & FURIOUS 6 contains plenty of PG-13 foul language, including one “f” word and several strong profanities. There’s also some pretty reckless driving on display, as well as some shots of bikini-clad women on an island and some light sexual innuendo. Thus, MOVIEGDUIDE® advises strong or extreme caution. Toning down the foul language, or even getting rid of it completely, could have greatly helped this movie.
PEEPLES is an annoying, disappointing comedy about a man trying to propose to his live-in girlfriend while her no-nonsense, judgmental father gives him plenty of grief. What might have been a very funny, ultimately heartwarming story becomes an amazingly unfunny waste of talent with too many crude innuendoes and other problematic content.
The movie tells the story of Wade Walker and Grace Peeples, a cohabitating but loving couple with one major problem. After a year together, Grace still hasn’t introduced Wade to her upper-crust family, including her judgmental, no-nonsense father, Virgil, a federal judge.
When Grace decides to visit her family without him one weekend at the family’s ocean-side home, Wade decides to surprise them by traveling there alone. Not only that, but he hopes to propose to Grace in front of them all.
Try as he might, Wade makes a bad impression from the start. Making matters worse, his proposal plans keep getting interrupted by the family’s own dysfunctional relationships. This is a family that has trouble telling the truth to each other. The father secretly enjoys unwinding at night with a group of nudists. The mother secretly uses her garden for healthfood drinks laced with marijuana or psychedelic mushrooms. The son is a secret kleptomaniac who borrows things from the other family members without telling them. The daughter is having a lesbian relationship with her co-worker and “best friend.”
Things go from bad to worse when Wade’s goofy brother arrives to help Wade pop the question. Then, Grace’s mother accuses Wade of stealing some diamond earrings that her son borrowed without telling anyone.
PEEPLES contains jokes about children urinating on themselves, lesbian proclivities, men being “turned on” by lesbian behavior, drugs, accidentally taking a drug, seeing your future father-in-law naked, suggestive dancing, and suggestive song lyrics. Some of these jokes are implied or kept light rather than explicitly shown, so that the movie can retain a PG-13 rating from the six studios running Hollywood. One or two bawdy or slightly inappropriate jokes or innuendoes admittedly can be funny and sometimes even witty, but a bunch of them aren’t really funny, and, ultimately, just become annoying. If they lack any kind of wit or intelligent, they can be deadly.
PEEPLES also has lots of PG-13 foul language. In addition, it clearly views the sister’s eventual coming out as a lesbian a good thing, even though the Bible, God’s Word, thoroughly condemns homosexual behavior as wicked (see Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:24-27).
All this leads up to a strong Romantic, pagan worldview that promotes personal “expression” above morality, feelings above reason and logic, and acceptance and tolerance above judgment and wisdom. One line encourages the mother to go back to rehab, the son is commanded to stop taking things without permission, and the hero’s girlfriend is chastised for trying to hide her love for the hero from her family. However, these rather light positive elements cannot bring PEEPLES back into alignment with biblical principles and values. Media-wise viewers and discerning, more demanding moviegoers will find PEEPLES a waste of cast, a waste of crew, and a waste of time.
A History Lesson on Transforming the Culture
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
Christian leaders gather often to honor the prominent names and significant achievements of their peers. At one such event, several people stood up to commend a boycott years ago that had to do with Brandon Tartikoff when he was president of NBC and, later, chairman of Paramount Pictures.
Here is the rest of the story.
The late Brandon Tartikoff was a significant figure in Hollywood. The boycotts didn’t work as well as intended. Dr. Ted Baehr, however, helped Mr. Tartikoff by analyzing his script for LEAP OF FAITH and eventually was one of the people God used to turn Brandon Tartikoff to Jesus Christ when he was struggling with his only injured child, Calla. Tartikoff went from being cutting edge, typical Hollywood to being a strong advocate of family, faith and morality.
In fact, Tartikoff told Premiere magazine in November 1992, “You’ve got to have moral standards; you’ve got to believe your logo stands for something.”
In the final analysis, Movieguide® has seen tremendous positive changes in the movie industry. Some of the statistics are staggering.
For example, in the past five years, movies with very strong Christian content and values have averaged $82.97 million per movie, but movies with very strong Non-Christian or offensive content averaged only $21.28 million. This compares to $30.13 million versus $22.49 million per movie, respectively, in 1999.
One of the reasons for such improvements is because we help people by showing them how they can make more money with movies that reach a broader audience. Another is that we always remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news and calls us to love one another when dealing with our friends in the entertainment industry.
This doesn’t mean we don’t take a strong stand on obscenity or other content that’s offensive to the 129 million Americans who go to church each week, but we do so with a vision of always helping people, through gentle instruction and firm exhortation, understand the truth, which is the love of Jesus Christ that sets them free.
That’s how we’ve been able to redeem the values of many in the entertainment industry, encourage the develop of many more positive movies, and transform the culture for the benefit of our children and grandchildren, the world’s future leaders.