Elasti­girl ex­pands her reach

Mom snags spot­light, but keeps it all in the fam­ily, in ‘In­cred­i­bles 2’

USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Bryan Alexan­der

LOS AN­GE­LES – Here comes Elasti­girl! Helen Parr is one mother of a su­per­hero as she steps up as the main crime-fighter in “In­cred­i­bles 2.” Her se­cret iden­tity as Elasti­girl takes the spot­light in the long-awaited Pixar se­quel (in the­aters Fri­day).

Her heroic theme song takes on re­newed vigor (“Elasti­girl! No one is be­yond her reach!”) as Elasti­girl flies on a fancy new elec­tric Elas­ti­cy­cle in her spiffy new suit.

“Her su­per­hero iden­tity is fully fledged in this story, no apolo­gies, no ex­cuses,” says Holly Hunter, 60, who voices the role. “It’s so en­liven­ing to see her feel the glory of her gift. She re­ally stretches with what she’s good at – no pun in­tended.”

Four­teen years ago, in “The In­cred­i­bles,” Elasti­girl showed the skills and the fire. “Settle down, are you kid­ding?” she boasted at the start of the first movie. “I’m at the top of my game! I’m right up there with the big dogs! Girls, come on. Leave the sav­ing of the world to the men? I don’t think so.”

But with fam­ily life, Helen was con­tent to look after the three chil­dren: Vi­o­let, Dash and baby Jack-Jack. It was hus­band Mr. In­cred­i­ble/Bob Parr (Craig T. Nel­son) who was drafted for a se­cret mis­sion – on the down-low be­cause su­per­heroes are il­le­gal.

“Helen had to save her hus­band, that’s why she put on the suit in the first movie. She was a very re­luc­tant hero,” says Hunter.

In the new tale, it’s Helen who’s wooed to re­turn to crime-fight­ing by bil­lion­aire su­per­hero sup­porter Win­ston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his

“It’s so en­liven­ing to see her feel the glory of her gift. She re­ally stretches with what she’s good at – no pun in­tended.” Holly Hunter

tech-ge­nius sister, Eve­lyn (Cather­ine Keener). They be­lieve highlighting a fe­male su­per­hero would be a bet­ter public-re­la­tions ploy for win­ning sup­port.

While Bob stays home with the kids, Elasti­girl finds she hasn’t lost a step as a crime-fighter. And she thrills in it. Her first solo ac­tion scene is an edge-of-the-seat af­fair in­volv­ing a run­away tram whose driver’s mind is con­trolled by the vil­lain Screen slaver.

“It’s fun to see Elasti­girl on a chase like that,” says Hunter. “There’s a real ap­petite for see­ing women kick­ing (butt) like that.”

Writer and direc­tor Brad Bird says he came up with the idea for the emer­gence of Elasti­girl while pro­mot­ing the first “In­cred­i­bles. “But his an­i­mated hero­ine is now suit­ing up in a world brim­ming with Won­der Wo­man adu­la­tion.

Elasti­girl even has her own wannabe su­per­hero fan, Voyd, voiced by Sophia Bush, who un­der­stands why Voyd ad­mires Elasti­girl.

“Helen is such a phe­nom­e­nal char­ac­ter. She clearly rep­re­sents the way so many women feel, that no mat­ter what you are do­ing, so­ci­ety says you’re do­ing it wrong,” says Bush, who noted how fans at the “In­cred­i­bles 2”world pre- miere cheered on the mother/su­per­hero’s awe­some re­turn. “I love see­ing Elasti­girl re­claim her per­sonal iden­tity.”

Elasti­girl never lets fame get to her head and ul­ti­mately re­lies on her su­per­hero fam­ily to get through the movie.

“Fam­i­lies can hold con­flict, stress and ten­sion,” Hunter says. “But this fam­ily comes to­gether, and we face the world to­gether.

“Then we fight off the bad guys.”

DIS­NEY/PIXAR

Elasti­girl/Helen Parr (voiced by Holly Hunter) reaches new heights, sav­ing the day and act­ing as the face of the su­pers in “In­cred­i­bles 2.”

EPA-EFE

JIMMY MOR­RI­SON/

Elasti­girl (Holly Hunter) bat­tles the vil­lain Screenslaver in “In­cred­i­bles 2.”

PHO­TOS BY PIXAR

To make the job eas­ier, she has the fancy new Elas­ti­cy­cle and a spiffy new suit.

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