September 29, 2008

The Incredibles (2004)

October is just around the corner, as is Halloween…which made me think back to last year, when my wife and I dressed up our sons as Dash and Jack-Jack, two characters from Pixar’s The Incredibles. And the more I thought about the movie that inspired their costumes, the more I realized how amazing The Incredibles truly is (notice how I deliberately did not describe The Incredibles as “incredible”).

I don’t often gush about a movie, but The Incredibles is such a perfect film that I don’t know where to start praising it – so I’ll start with the plot (cribbed from

Bob Parr (aka Mr. Incredible) and his wife Helen (Elastigirl) used to be among the world's greatest crime fighters, battling evil on a daily basis. Fifteen years later, they’ve been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where they live "normal" lives with their kids Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. Itching to get back into action, Bob gets his chance when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment. But he soon discovers that it will take a super family effort to rescue the world from total destruction.

The Incredibles succeeds in so many areas, but I’ll try to keep to the ones that impressed me most:
• A script by director Brad Bird that hits all the right notes for making a great film, live or animated: character development, believable dialogue, and sympathetic, relatable protagonists to name a few.
• Extended, heart-pounding action sequences, any of which could be the climax of a lesser action film.
• A love-to-hate villain in Syndrome (Jason Lee), whose origin I won’t disclose in case you haven’t seen the film yet.
• A great dissection of the family dynamic: Bird’s script effectively humanizes the superhumans in the Parr family, including Mr. Incredibles’ mid-life crisis, Elastigirl’s yearning for a functional family, and the sibling rivalry between Dash and Violet.

The Incredibles is a film whose brilliance is a growing revelation for the movie fan. After one viewing, you see that it’s great. But it’s only with repeated viewings that you realize how great. You recognize and appreciate something new about it each time you watch it.

Additional viewing from Brad Bird: By all means, watch his criminally overlooked 1999 film The Iron Giant. You can then follow it with his 2007 Oscar winner Ratatouille, featuring one of my favorite comedians ever, Patton Oswalt, as the voice of Remy the rat.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5).

Will your kids want to watch it?
I would sure hope so. In fact, I would make it required viewing for all your children above a certain age. I say that because The Incredibles is rated PG for a few reasons: superhero fights, intense action sequences, some ominous-looking evil robots, and a couple of on-screen deaths via explosion (which may or may not sink in for the younger crowd).

Will your FilmMother like it?
Again, I would sure hope so. Even if she’s of the “I don’t like cartoons” mindset, sit her down and make her watch this film. I bet by the halfway point, you won’t even need to restrain her.

The Incredibles
* Director: Brad Bird
* Screenwriter: Brad Bird
* Stars: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, Spencer Fox, Sarah Vowell, Elizabeth Peña
* MPAA Rating: PG (action violence)

Buy this movie for less at >>


Gemma said...

I absolutely LOVED this movie!! And having Peanut and Pumpkin in their costumes didn't sway my opinion at all, nope! :) All this Patton Oswalt talk and I had NO idea that he was Remy! Pop and I actually went to the movie theatre to see both of these flicks!! Wish we could have taken a little kid along to act as our cover!

Surfer Jay said...

The movie is truly awesome. You hit it right on, great plot, excellent characters and the animation and effects are incredible and truly were groundbreaking.

I love CGI movies. Of course I am rather partial to them as my brother is a lead animator at Blue Sky Studios(Ice Age, Robots, etc creator)

Vic said...

Great movie! ... and, you're right, you pick up more details, with each viewing - or, in this case, review you read ... Parr family - in golfing terms "par" = average ... HA!

Raymond said...

So many good scenes in the movie. One of my son's favorite's of all time. And yes, this movie is much better than Cars.

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