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The Incredibles

Pixar's 2004 superhero film directed by Brad Bird.

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Excellent From Beginning to End

  • Nov 18, 2004
  • by
Pros: Story, animation, animation, animation.

Cons: None

The Bottom Line: The true test of a movies appeal is whether or not I would shell out another $6.50 to see it again. Absolutely! Pass the popcorn and M&M’s, plain not peanut.

We live in an age of ever expanding possibilities, where quantum leaps in technology are the norm. But at the same time the quintessential human story remains the same: a timeless loop of emotions; love, hatred, jealously will never fade from the human makeup. So it is with little surprise that Pixar Animation Studios, the acknowledged leaders in cutting-edge American animation is out with another classic tale of human trials and tribulations mated seamlessly with cutting edge technological magic called The Incredibles.

But beneath The Incredibles' bright colors, incredible graphics, hyper-driven action, family fun and family feuds, this daring computer-animated adventure begs the following questions: If honors are bestowed upon everyone who simply shows up for work, school, practice etc., if mediocrity is celebrated, while excellence almost frown upon, and if everyone is special, if everyone is a hero, doesn't that mean no one is special, not one unique? And is this the way to propel human society forward. And the second question: why do we always want what is just out of reach, instead of enjoying what we can readily embrace?

Am I looking too deep, am I heaping too much on this family film? I don’t think so.

The Story-Line

Written and directed by Brad Bird (The Iron Giant), The Incredibles is the story of typical American family that is not as typical as it seems on the surface. I say on the surface because at one time in a land far, far away, Bob Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) was a superhero endowed with super powers. As a superhero, his daring crime-fighting deeds were the fodder of newspaper headlines, hero worship by children, swooning by the local female populace, and envied by mortal men. Mr. Incredible, was proud to be a superhero, and he married a superhero wife Helen, a.k.a. Elastigirl, (and voiced by Holly Hunter), and hung around with Lucius Best, a.k.a. Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), who is endowed with the ability to freeze anything so long as there is moisture in the air.

But the good times stopped rolling when, in a sign of our times, those who the superheroes saved start suing for the (alleged) personal and emotional injuries they sustain while being saved. And of course the attorneys get involved and before long legal challenges to the heroes' activities become so persistent that all of the superheroes agree to well stop being superheroes and enter the federal Superhero Relocation Program. As a result Mr. Incredible becomes Bob Parr, a reluctant family man living in the suburbs, holding down a meaningless job; a very large cog in the machinery of corporate greed and indifference.

The Incredibles, of course refers to Bob’s burgeoning family. In addition to Helen, Bob now has a daughter Violet (NPR commentator Sarah Vowell), whose power is twofold: she can disappear at will and also construct a force-field around herself and others; a son Dash (voiced by Spencer Fox) whose power is incredible speed, and an infant, whose power does not manifest itself until the end of the movie.

But Bob and Lucius have a secret: they sneak out at night and reminisce about the old days, while listening to the police scanner, and ever-so-often slip into their old ways and take a bite out of crime. This has caused Bob and his family to have to be “relocated” more then once, much to the chagrin of family. But Bob is being watched, by a woman named Mirage (voiced by Elizabeth Peña) who makes contact with Bob, and recruits him (he believes) for a secret mission that require his special abilities. So Bob lies to his tortured wife and runs off to a remote South Pacific location, shrewdly named Nomanisan Island, where he battles a seemingly indestructible robot.

After returning home, Bob is a new man; he starts working out again, quits his job, buys new car, paints on a new smile, and finds new purpose in life, all the while being less then true to his wife. Soon, however Bob meets the villain behind the island named Syndrome (voiced by Jason Lee), who as it turns out is someone from Mr. Incredible’s past; a boy who idolized him but he dismissed most unkindly. Syndrome not only wants to get even he wants to well, prove that even ordinary people can be superheroes by saving the world from a robot he unleashes, but I am getting ahead of myself.

After creating a new robot and summoning Bob back to the island, Mr. Incredible is defeated by the new and improved robot, and is captured by Syndrome. His wife finds out where he is and so the adventure begins in earnest.

My Impressions

Pixar has out done itself yet again! While I did not particularly care for Monster’s Inc., and Finding Nemo was just okay, The Incredibles hits the mark; it is compelling for adult and child alike. Pixar has infused these computer-generated actors with humanity (complex emotions) make them compelling characters, one that I can actually care for. Bob is especially dipped in realism; his life of denial has left him in a state of mournful nostalgia; he is going through the quintessential mid-life crisis and we are along for the ride. Scenes of him stuffed in a cube, suffering the daily sameness at his insurance-industry job and being dressed down by his un-empathic, bottom-line-obsessed boss (voiced by Wallace Shawn), made feel sorry for Bob.

There were times throughout the film when I would chuckle or laugh and my 10-year-old daughter would look at me puzzled, wondering what the joke was that she didn’t get. Those times when to dialog or situations escaped her, attests to the movies appeal to older audiences, especially married folks and parents who understand one of the deeper meaning The Incredibles is trying to convey; mainly Bob comes to realize that his family means more to him then himself, and we should be ever mindful of what we have.

The animation is without par; with each successive release Pixar treats us to feats of animation realism that defy imagination. Those who thought Finding Nemo was cutting edge will applaud the stunning richness of The Incredibles.

At the end of The Incredibles, the packed theater of parents and children stood and applauded, what turned out to be a seriously enjoyable ride; where did those tow hours go? The true test of a movies appeal is whether or not I would shell out another $6.50 to see it again. Absolutely! Pass the popcorn and M&M’s, plain not peanut.


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More The Incredibles reviews
review by . March 16, 2011
The Incredibles is the first action-based film that Pixar has done and may I say, they did a very good job and this is another animated classic to add to their collection. The Incredibles has the style and score of a James Bond film, but all the other elements of a superhero film. As is Pixar standard, it has great animation, a creative story, memorable characters, and a greater emotional context to it. Again, it doesn't quite have the pedigree of the Toy Story films, but its still a total …
review by . September 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Still Solid If Not Incredible
   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 …
review by . July 13, 2010
In my honest opinion, there have been far too many superheroes leaping, bounding and flying across our movie screens lately, and yet I think that even Sam, Tobey and Kirsten would agree, with no shame attached whatsoever, that they had the SECOND best comic book crusader movie of 2004. (Hellboy was an honorable, if distant, third.) The crown, if not the cape, has to go to Pixar's and writer/director Brad Bird's endlessly clever, exciting and eye-filling account of the Parrs, a family of …
review by . November 12, 2008
The Incredibles
Ever wonder what happened to all of your favorite childhood super heroes? Well, perhaps they have retired into normal lives with normal families. Perhaps.     Not long after Mr. Incredible marries Elastigirl, a mountain of lawsuits pile up against all the super heroes from the destruction they leave behind while saving the world and the people who inhabit it. Forced into retirement, the Incredibles settle down to lead a normal life, working normal jobs and raising their children. …
review by . June 23, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: witty, fun, good action, great animation, plenty of extras     Cons: no sequel in the works, and I have Never said that as a Con before!     The Bottom Line: "No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved!"      Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. In the Golden Years, life was good and superheroes were always …
review by . November 29, 2005
Now along with "Finding Nemo" this is one of the best animated filmed. It is smart, funny and delivers a great family values message. The kids had worned out this DVD over the summer. It would appeal to all audiences, no matter how old or young you are! Samuel L. Jackson and all the cast members deliver their voices with enthusiasm and really get into character!  This movie is great. For me this movie is, without ANY doubt, one of the greatest super-hero movies made to date. This film …
review by . July 17, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I hate cartoons. Never have liked them. So, I was somewhat hesitant to watch this one because it is just a "grown up" cartoon. Absolulely loved it! It was funny, entertaining, interesting, dramatic, etc. I was totally shocked at the plot, and found myself totally engrossed in what was happening. The characters were fantastic, and the good superhero/bad superhero plot was great. While I don't have kids, I think older kids (maybe 8 and up) will enjoy this. Just the right mix of fun, excitement, but …
review by . March 17, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
I won't go into reviewing the film itself. Hasn't everyone seen it!! It is terrific, deserved the Oscar and featured particularly high quality voice-work. Craig T. Nelson was a blast, Samuel Jackson was clearly charged up, Holly Hunter shows her funny side, and creator Brad Bird is terrific as Edna. The visuals are typically stunning, groundbreaking work from Pixar. The glossy '50s era sensibilities mixed with modern is just perfect for computer generated films. Pixar, better than anyone, seems …
review by . November 05, 2004
Pros: Great animation and premise.     Cons: Long, drags in many places.     The Bottom Line: Despite some Flaws, Pixar has done it again.     Super Heroes hold a special place in our popular culture and have providing countless hours of enjoyment for fans the world over. Children in years past often dreamt about being Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, or Wonder Woman and what they would do if they had super powers.   Sadly the facts …
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Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #188
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this movie


Starring Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee
Directed by Brad Bird
Writer:  Brad Bird

Product Description
From the Academy Award(R) winning creators of FINDING NEMO (2003 Best Animated Feature Film) comes the action-packed animated adventure about the mundane and incredible lives of a house full of superheroes. Bob Parr and his wife Helen used to be among the world's greatest crime fighters, saving lives and battling evil on a daily basis. Fifteen years later, they have been forced to adopt civilian identities and retreat to the suburbs where they live "normal" lives with their three 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. He soon discovers that it will take a super family effort to rescue the world from total destruction. Exploding with fun and featuring an all-new animated short film, this spectacular 2-disc collector's edition DVD is high-flying entertainment for everyone.
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Director: Brad Bird
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: November 5, 2004
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Brad Bird
DVD Release Date: March 15, 2005
Runtime: 1hr 55min
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
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