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 Amazon.com):
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.
* 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)
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