Brad Bird, director of the new Pixar movie Incredibles 2 (as well as the original Incredibles from 2004), argues that his new entry is not “a kid’s film.”
The movie is rated PG, as have Bird’s other animated fare, for both action and “brief mild language.” This includes use of “crap,” “hell” and “damned.” On Twitter, this led to one fan saying that, despite liking the film, they were disappointed about the fact that they would need to “filter a kid’s movie.”
Bird responded: “With all due respect, it is NOT a ‘kids movie.’ It is animated, and rated PG.”
He added in others tweets that he especially finds it annoying when journalists and critics make the assumption that animated movies are always directed at children, but also spoke up in defense of the original critique when he felt his supporters were being too hard on them.
Of course, in Western countries at least animation is usually meant to be kid friendly; or, barring that, family films which are meant to be enjoyed by multiple age groups. Both Incredibles movies fall into the latter category; their protagonists, Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen/Elastigirl (Helen Hunter) are both adults with children of their own, and deal with issues like parenthood, marital strife and a midlife crisis.
All of Pixar’s past movies are targeted mainly at children, but many of them, like Incredibles 2, deal with themes that are more likely to resonate with adults. Up, for example, had a senior citizen protagonist forced to reevaluate his life after the death of his wife. This sort of strategy has long worked for the studio. Incredibles 2 has already surpassed the original movie’s worldwide gross with $647 million.
Of course, most parents would also argue that Incredibles 2 is appropriate for children (Common Sense Media labels it “Great for families”), which shows that “kid’s movie” and “adult movie” are not rigid categories. Part of the problem is that, when people hear “adult cartoons,” they tend to think of South Park or Family Guy, which are far less kid friendly than Incredibles 2 and its light swearing. All in all, it’s the ability to blend childlike wonder and mature themes that has made the Pixar brand so incredibly popular.