After a short controversy, Disney has requested that movie theaters post a seizure warning for the Pixar movie Incredibles 2.
This is the result of Veronica Lewis, a disability activist and blogger, whose Twitter thread about the issue gained traction. She wrote about multiple scenes throughout the film (one lasting 90 seconds, others lasting between five and 30 seconds) where strobe lights flashed brightly.
Photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) can result in seizures from visual stimuli that cause a persistent pattern, with flashing lights being one common culprit. It affects about 1 in 4,000 people.
“It is very well done, and the strobe lights are an important point in the plot,” Lewis wrote, noting that she was not calling for either a boycott or any alterations to the film. “I just wish Disney/Pixar and theaters alike would issue a warning that the movie contains several scenes with strobe lights.”
She added that many other forms of media now provide warnings to those who may be harmfully affected by such stimuli, and noted that, as a family film, Incredibles 2 could be harmful to children in particular.
According to Variety, Disney has been informed about Lewis’ observation and has asked for movie theaters to post warnings. Lewis herself has thanked the Mouse House, and her Twitter account now contains several photos of the warnings posted in various theaters.
So far, no actual cases of seizures have been reported as a result of the movie.
A sequel to 2004’s The Incredibles, the new film focuses on a pair of retired superheroes and their children, set in a world where superheroics are now illegal. Wife and mother Helen/Elastigirl (Helen Hunter) becomes an advocate to change this law, which requires illegally saving people while wearing a body camera.
Along the way the family fights a new antagonist known as the Screen Slaver, who hypnotizes many people. The strobe lights result from the villain’s mind control device.
One particularly famous case of strobe light-induced seizures comes from the Pokémon anime. In 1997, the episode “Cyber Soldier Porygon” caused 685 Japanese kids to become hospitalized. Though there is evidence that many of those who became sick from “Pokémon Shock” were affected by mass hysteria (given the unusually high number of cases), the episode has never been dubbed into English nor broadcast again in any country.