As hard as it is to believe, The Incredibles is already six years old now! When it came out it was pretty darn mind-blowing (despite the fact that behind the scenes Disney and Pixar were bickering to the point where Pixar would try to sever the relationship entirely but be unsuccessful at finding a new distributor).
There has actually been a lot of evolution in the genre in the six years following the Incredibles’ big screen debut but you really wouldn’t notice due to the fact that Pixar was so far ahead of the curve back then. About the only area that this film differs from most contemporary computer generated animated films is that a 155-minute runtime makes it potentially the lengthiest animated feature of them all.
The story tells of one Bob Parr (alias Mr. Incredible), and his wife Helen (Elastigirl), a pair of the world's greatest crime-fighting superheroes.
After facing a string of law suits for consequences brought about by their do-gooding, superhero activity becomes a criminal act in and of itself and fifteen years after their crime-fighting prime, Bob finds himself sharing a modest home with his wife Helen, and their three children Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack. He works as an insurance-claims adjuster, and he's fed up with his pushy boss and fairly immoral business policies.
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. What follows is a wild discovery for the former super human that it will take the combined efforts of a super family to save the world from total destruction.
While often regarded as a superhero spoof film, the truth of the matter is that The Incredibles is really not too far off the mark in being simply a non-comic affiliated superhero action film. Sure there’s the family slant that’s played on a bit more than what’s common in most comic hero tales and there’s visual clues that make it pretty difficult to pin down an exact time frame that the story is supposed to be taking place but realistically speaking, this is easily on par with some of the live-action efforts of Marvel and DC in recent years.
In the opinion of many, The Incredibles marks Pixar and Disney’s perilous leap toward big kid entertainment what with a PG-rated and plenty of guns, explosions, and action-driven sequences. The change is typically credited to outsider Brad Bird (who also wrote and directed 1999’s "The Iron Giant”).
For the most part the formula he brings to the table works with a pretty even balance of domestic drama to offset the crime fighting/ action scenes. The husband and wife do their share of squabbling and even the kids get some screen time going at each other’s throats. Dramatically speaking, it is a bit heavier handed than what’s usually found in a comic book or for that matter, a Disney film but again since the story centers on the concept of former heroes being thrust into the domestic lifestyle, it’s excusable as a necessity.
A jazzy soundtrack coupled to super crisp visuals (especially in Hi-Def) makes the flow and tone of the tale extremely easy to fall into. The nearly 2-hour runtime goes by quite quickly for adults and children alike.
In all The Incredibles is a highly entertaining piece that still holds up well even half a dozen years after the fact. It’s a little heavier on drama/ lighter on laughs than I expected but the formula works (especially where a slightly more mature audience is concerned).
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