Highly tooned: the vehicles of ‘The Incredibles 2’

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The Incredibles 2 is set in that misty-eyed American golden age so beloved of Hollywood: the early 1960s. From the films of Tim Burton to Ren & Stimpy and Mad Men, it has proven to be a fertile era ripe for pastiche and parody; a pastel-hued, consumerist nirvana. Although the Incredibles movies aren’t set in any specific year, Director Brad Bird has stated that he wanted them to ‘feel like the sixties’, albeit more for the period’s aesthetic value than anything else.

And this timeframe, possibly more than any other in the relatively short history of the motor car, gives Pixar’s talented artists license to have some real fun with the vehicle design. Think about it: if you had to populate an entire virtual city with vehicles, wouldn’t you rather draw from a palette of chrome ‘n’ fins and imagination, rather than the homogenised plastic anonyboxes of today?

Amongst the exaggerated features of the movie’s countless vehicles, a few familiar stylistic cues can be spotted: a spoonful of late-50s Ford here, a dollop of Tri-Five Chevy there, garnish with a sprig of jet age Chrysler and serve on a bed of classic Pontiac. Lovely.

There are a couple of hero vehicles, of course – the Incredibile returns from the first movie, joined by the electrically-powered Elasticycle. After all, every good superhero needs a merchandising cash cow, right?

But to my eyes, these aren’t nearly as interesting or endearing as the supporting cast of station wagons, trucks, limos and emergency vehicles that litter the film.

Which leads me to thinking: what happens to all of these painstakingly-crafted vehicles once the movie is in the can? Are they destined to spend the rest of eternity digitally degrading in some virtual scrapyard on a Californian server farm? It seems like a hell of a waste.

So I have an idea. Why not license the assets out to one of the big driving game franchises as paid-for downloadable content, as Forza Horizon 3 did with the Hot Wheels expansion? I’m sure they’d make an absolute killing – who wouldn’t want to hoon a cartoon police car around the mean streets of Municiberg?

Make it happen, Pixar. Make it happen…

The Incredibles 2 is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download.

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