The Incredibles (8/8/12)

The IncrediblesMovie One Hundred Eighty Five

Two former superheroes forced into retirement are called back into action with the whole family in The Incredibles.

Bob (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen (Holly Hunter) Parr, also known as Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl are former Supers now living as civilians to hide their identity. They have three children, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. When Bob and friend Lucius Best (Samuel L. Jackson) aka Frozone start getting back into the Superhero game at night, they are approached for actual Super missions again by a woman named Mirage. One mission on an island ends up being a trap, masterminded by former Mr. Incredible fan and wannabe sidekick Buddy (Jason Lee), now known as Syndrome. When Mr. Incredible is in trouble, it’s up to his Super family to come to his aid and together they must save the day.

It’s films like The Incredibles that make a studio like Pixar special. It’s a film that could have easily been a cheap thrill with no heart just to push toy sales but it is really something special when you give it a closer look. The conflict of a restricted superhero working a lousy day job and having to hide his secret identity is simple genius. The fact that Bob sees his actual identity more as Mr. Incredible than Mr. Parr is also handled with great care and heart. The family situation of Supers is also simple but it works so well that it’s easy to gloss over just how perfect it works here.

Brad Bird, who was also the creative force behind the also amazing Iron Giant, has a real knack for setting up a story that seems so simple but is made remarkable by the tangible things like the characters, the story, and the art/animation but what identifies his films as masterpieces is the more esoteric “soul” of the film that instantly connects you with the characters and plot. We don’t need origin stories here, we just need to know superheroes exist. We relate with the issues that the Parrs have to deal with even though we aren’t Supers. Heck, we even understand why someone like Syndrome would go to such lengths to act like a Super, and his means aren’t necessarily evil so much as misguided. The Incredibles does all of this and makes it look easy.

To match the level of the film itself, the blu-ray presentation blew me away. I had long owned the DVD version and enjoyed it, but the blu-ray looks and sounds 10 times better than I remembered. The Incredibles isn’t a film that I could see myself watching too often, it’s the type of film that I regard as a special treat every few months. Long enough between viewings so that the experience is fresh and that rush of excitement is almost new each time. The Incredibles should be the film that Pixar is remembered for.

I give it 5 classic Mr. Incredible posters out of 5.
(I prefer his blue suit, actually)

Links:

Rotten Tomatoes

IMDB

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41 responses to “The Incredibles (8/8/12)

  1. The funny thing about this film is that it’s essentially “The Fantastic Four” characters in the plot from “Watchmen”–except done far better than the film versions of either of them! Brad Bird has yet to disappoint, even in his live action “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol”. I’ve been a fan of his since “Family Dog,” his animated episode of “Amazing Stories.”

    • I have yet to see MI but I have yet to be let down by anything I have seen. You’re right, the concept of Incredibles is totally reused and familiar and yet it still rises above it and becomes pretty amazing.

  2. Great review, Andy – this is one of my favourite Pixar movies and reveals the talent for staging and editing action sequences which Brad Bird has taken to live action work.

    Of all the Pixar movies that richly deserves a sequel, this would be it – I’m sure that the famed Brains Trust could agree on a story worthy of these characters.

  3. I do love Pixar, and I absolutely loved this movie when it first came out. I was in first grade, and I must have watched it at least three times that year. Then there came certain occasions when I was spontaneously in front of a TV in which it was playing (these times starting maybe four years later) and I began to see less and less special about it. Now I’ve seen this movie at least seven times and it strikes me as just downright obnoxious. Sorry. I like the sense of innovation, and I still think Samuel L. Jackson’s character is pretty badass (amazing that he can be so awesome in even a family movie) but other than that I’d rather not watch it again. Sorry. Nice review still.

    • No need to apologize, you’re entitled to your opinion!
      Honestly, I think if I had been watching this in first grade I would have loved it but as time went by I would like it less and less too. I can totally see where you’re coming from.

  4. Easily my favorite Pixar movie. Probably in my top ten of all time. Such a great combination of superheroes and 60s era Bond. Brad Bird is a talented filmmaker, and while I loved Ghost Protocol, I hope he returns to animation one day. Between this and Iron Giant, the man has proven he is truly one of the greats. Very good write up.

  5. When I first saw this I knew it would become an instant classic. Don’t you wish all films felt this way. I haven’t ventured into the blu ray world yet. So many have told me that I should. I keep thinking that as soon as I do, something better will come out.

    • Definitely a classic!
      Oh, I’m sure there’s something new just around the corner. 4K would be the next logical step but I’m not sure if the jump is really big enough to have a whole new medium out there to compete with DVD and blu-ray. I love blu-ray but I also wouldn’t say it’s necessary to upgrade from DVD like it was to upgrade to DVD from VHS.

  6. Great film, a lot of fun. I think one scene that really captures the heart of it is when Elastigirl is explaining the dangers of superheroics to her kids: “They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance.” Just a few short sentences, but it reminds the viewer that the danger is “real”, and shows that she cares deeply for her kids and worries about them, but is aware that she can’t protect them 24/7 and they have to do some things for themselves.

  7. Great review! This, too, is one of my favorites from Pixar. You make me want to revisit it and review it. It’s funny because I don’t remember much of its action scenes. I remember its lines the most. Love Violet.

  8. Pingback: My August Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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