November 2004


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Review: The Incredibles

Since Greyduck beat me to the short version, I’ll have to be windier to justify dragging you here.

In short, this is the best movie I have seen this year, and you bet your bunny I will be buying the DVD as soon as the widescreen version hits the shelves.

The animation on this film is absolutely spectacular. Pixar just keeps getting better. Every character is an individual, clothing has wrinkles, hair moves and gets mussed, and the characters actually move correctly across the background – a footstep travels the expected distance, something alot of animation studios miss.

Writing and Directing: There is simply not a bad line anywhere in this movie. The characters have depth and emotion, and the plot ticks right along without moving too quickly or glossing over chances to develop the characters. The jokes span all ages, and there’s a couple spots where you might be reaching for a tissue. These parts don’t drag on though, so your kids won’t get bored with it.

Spoilers ahead…

What they don’t tell you in the trailers is the reason The Incredibles retired from hero work: litigation. The hero community in general comes under fire from several directions, and end up in the courtroom being sued for any number of infractions. In a gesture of thanks, the government adds them all to the Witness Relocation program, and super heroes across the country quietly disappear.

So here we have Bob Parr, the former Mr. Incredible, and his wife Helen nee Elastigirl living in the suburbs with their teenage daughter, younger son and their baby boy Jack-Jack. Bob is working in an insurance agency, Helen is a full-time mom, and the kids are just trying to get by in a normal world without blowing their cover by using their super powers.

Helen is dealing, but mothering three children and Bob is a full-time job that doesn’t really leave her any time to think about anything else. Still, the stress is getting to her. After all, a super hero has an immediate release for anger and tension: go beat up some bad guys, and here she is in a world without that option.

Violet is extremely shy, and her power to turn invisible is an immense asset to her, but younger brother Dash is extremely fed up with having to hide his super-speed from the rest of the world. He’s competitive, and wants nothing more than to try out for sports – but his parents won’t let him.

Poor Bob is about at the end of his rope. Corporate life is a hell like no other, and he’s in a business where helping someone is bad for the company bottom line, (and therefore against policy) when his whole previous life was dedicated to helping others. His only outlet is hanging out with his old friend Lucious / Frozone, reliving past glories while sitting in their car listening to the police scanner.

And then Bob gets a strange message…

Casting: Good, solid work here. Of course, it’s just voice work, so they didn’t have a whole lot to worry about and could choose the exact actors for the job, instead of maybe having to give up one aspect to get another (say, delivery for looks) as can happen in live-action filmwork. Probably reason number one to make an animated movie.

Pixar has a history of finding the perfect voice for the part, and they have succeeded once again. Since the credits roll by too quickly to read after the movie, I’ll list them again for you here.

  • Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible – Craig T. Nelson (“Coach”, “The District”) Craig brings Bob Parr to life. I know exactly how working in corporate America can grind a man down, and Craig really portrays a man on the edge of breakdown.
  • Helen Parr / Elastigirl – Holly Hunter. It took me a minute to place this voice, because Holly has a very distinctive mouth and Helen isn’t drawn with it, which kind of threw me.
  • Lucious Best / Frozone – Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, etc) Dude, it’s Sam! That’s all you had to say!
  • Syndrome – Jason Lee (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, etc.) Once again playing the villain, Jason is somewhat reprising his role as “Loki” from Kevin Smith’s Dogma.
  • Violet Parr – Sarah Vowell (Radio and comedy) Never heard of her before this, but it is an excellent debut into the movie world.
  • Dash Parr – Spencer Fox (Commercials) Spencer and Sarah work excellently together, and have learned the knack for talking over the other person’s dialog, just like real siblings.
  • Mirage – Elizabeth Pena. The girl knows sultry.

And of course, John Ratzenberger gets a cameo at the end. Couldn’t be a Pixar film without John!

One reply to “Review: The Incredibles”

  1. GreyDuck Says:

    John’s their good luck charm. I think the luck is holding… =)