Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Incredibles 2, writer-director Brad Bird’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2004 Pixar adventure, wasn’t just big at the box office this weekend — it was downright superhuman, taking in a record-breaking $180 million in North America alone, which far bested Finding Dory’s $135 million bow in 2016 to claim the title of best animated debut ever. Revisiting the Parr family as they again balance saving the world with maintaining a stable family life, Bird’s sequel is a triumph of inventive action and winning humor (not to mention forward-thinking gender attitudes). And for the die-hards in the audience, it also carries on a long-standing Pixar tradition by delivering a treasure trove of Easter eggs and amusing shoutouts. Given the film’s enormous success, we’re sure that many more will be spotted in the weeks, months, and years ahead. But for now, here’s our rundown of the finest surprises to be found in Disney and Pixar’s latest blockbuster.
1. Ratzenberger returns — again!
Best known to older viewers as Cheers’s Cliff Clavin, John Ratzenberger provides the voice of Incredibles 2’s opening-scene villain, the Underminer. It’s the 20th (!) Pixar film in which Ratzenberger has vocally participated, making him the studio’s de facto second mascot.
2. A familiar ball
Pixar’s very first film, 1986’s short Luxo Jr., was about two lamps (a father and son) playing with a small yellow ball decorated with a blue stripe and a red star. Those lamps soon became the studio’s hopping logo, while the “Luxo ball” has since made appearances in numerous Pixar films — including Incredibles 2, when its image is spied on Jack-Jack’s crib. Meanwhile, a period-appropriate version of the desk lamp appears in the family office later in the film.
3. Dementia A113
“A113” was a California Institute of the Arts classroom frequented by Brad Bird, John Lasseter, and many other graphic design and character animation students. That reference has made its way into every single one of Pixar’s movies (among many other TV shows and films), including this one, at least twice — on the marquee for the film Dementia A113 (a riff on Francis Ford Coppola’s 1963 shocker Dementia 13) at the end, and also on the door of the DevTech room where Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) inspects the Screenslaver footage.
4. Chinese takeout
Like the Luxo ball, Chinese-food containers are littered throughout the Pixar universe, making cameos in A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Ratatouille, and Inside Out — as well as here, at the Parrs’ family dinner at their temporary motel residence.
5. Pizza, pizza
The Pizza Planet truck has also been a Pixar fixture from the get-go, showing up in every one of the studio’s films except the original The Incredibles. Its traditional 1978 Gyoza model isn’t to be found in Incredibles 2 either. Yet as one astute fan has pointed out, the automobile probably is present — albeit in a more vintage 1950s version — in the scene in which Elastigirl discovers that her adversary is really a brainwashed pizza delivery boy.
6. Animation Ambassador
Ambassador Selick, the politician dedicated to making superheroes legal (much to Elastigirl’s admiration), is voiced by Hollywood legend Isabella Rossellini. However, her name is an apparent nod to Henry Selick, the visionary stop-motion director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and Coraline.
7. Weak spots
In The Incredibles, Elastigirl realizes that her husband, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), has been fighting crime again because of a tear in his (seemingly indestructible) super-suit’s left shoulder. In a bit of subtle harmonizing, that’s the exact same location where Elastigirl’s outfit is damaged in Incredibles 2, suggesting that each of these do-gooders has the same weak spot.
While it doesn’t feature any haunted homes constructed on top of ancient burial grounds, Incredibles 2 does include a sly tribute to Poltergeist, in the form of Jack-Jack’s ability to travel to other dimensions. That power recalls young Carol Anne’s trip through the TV set — a notion underscored by the fact that the man providing the voice for Jack-Jack’s dad, Craig T. Nelson, was also the father in Tobe Hooper’s 1982 horror hit.
9. The Incredibile
After its depiction in the first scene of The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible’s sleek, sweet ride (known as “The Incredibile”) was never spotted again. At least, that is, until Incredibles 2, which reveals that the vehicle was sold at auction. It’s a sad situation for Mr. Incredible, and one that’s amusingly rectified by Dash late in the film, when he recovers his dad’s car via remote control.
10. Mr. Incredible’s elderly client
The Incredibles opens with Mr. Incredible tending to a little old lady at his mundane 9-to-5 job at insurance carrier Insuracare. And that gray-haired woman again helps kick things off in Incredibles 2, at least insofar as she’s briefly spotted distracting Dash during the Parrs’ initial battle against the Underminer.
11. Real TV
Given that it concerns superheroes, you’d be forgiven for thinking The Incredibles takes place on some fanciful alternate Earth. However, the fact that the Parr kids watch Jonny Quest and The Outer Limits indicates that they, in fact, exist on the same timeline (and planet) as you and me. Now, where are our super-suits…
Watch: How writer-director Brad Bird expanded his Incredibles universe for the hit sequel:
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