The latest Pixar pic can only be described
in one word: incredible. Wow. That's good writing right
there. The Masked Reviewer has a knack for encapsulating an entire
theatrical experience in a single word. Notice how the word also
is the title of the film. Coincidence? Manifest destiny?
Genius? Or madness?
Anyhoo -- The Incredibles is an
animated movie. If the last animated film you saw was Shark
Tale, you can now rejoice! The Incredibles puts
Shark Tale to shame.
Director and writer Brad Bird previously wrote and directed The
Iron Giant, which was a critical success. Unfortunately, it
never clicked particularly well with a mainstream audience. The
Incredibles is definitely more Disneyesque than that movie, but it's
questionable whether it will be the mega-hit that Finding Nemo
turned out to be.
Brad Bird has also directed for "The Simpsons". That should
tell you something. This movie isn't just for little kids, and it
features a lot of grown-up issues and humor. It's unusual in that
it doesn't seem to pander to its audience the way that Shark Tale
did -- this joke is for the kids, this joke is for the adults.
The Incredibles has a clear vision and tone and it sticks with it,
and that's what sets it apart from a lot of the sub-par animated fare.
It's not trying to be a movie for kids or a kid's movie with fun moments
for the adults, it's trying to be a good movie, and it does a pretty
It won't be giving too much away to reveal that the film deals with
superheroes. The heroes deal with super-sized challenges while
dealing with real life issues, too. That's the movie.
It doesn't feel like a particularly fresh concept -- comic books
have had similar plot points for years -- and you could imagine the
sorts of problems the characters will have to deal with. The
superheroes themselves aren't at all ground-breaking, either.
Almost every hero is based extremely closely on an existing comic book
legend (Fantastic Four fans may feel particularly ripped-off).
Despite this, the movie manages to be engaging and entertaining all the
The computer graphics are breathtaking at times -- hair and fabric
effects, fire and water, textures, reflections -- they're almost
photorealistic. The characters have a purposefully goofy look,
which when set against the realistic backgrounds creates a visual
cornucopia (maybe not, but the Masked Reviewer wanted to work
"cornucopia" into this review, and this seemed like the best place to do
The voice acting is also quite good. Some people like to see a
movie and figure out who's who, so in the interest of not spoiling
anything, the names won't be revealed here. Some voices are better
than others, but Brad Bird has decided to buck the trend in animated
films by not using A-list mega-stars; rather, he found the best voices
for the characters, and it works. Rather than building characters
around the voices, the voices brought existing characters to life (even
if those characters are more-or-less the Fantastic Four).
It seems like, if this movie is a big hit, they might get sued by
Marvel. But, let's hope not. This is one of the few animated
films that would be worthy of a sequel.
Now, for those of you wondering whether you should bring your little
kids to the movie, you should be aware that this is a bit more intense
(in some ways) than a typical Disney movie. There are a few loud
explosions, some gun fighting, and a couple of bad guys appear to get
killed. You don't see them die and there's no blood, but you don't
see the evil guards parachuting to safety after their evil heli-slicer
blows up (ala G.I. Joe). It's cartoonish violence, but there are
references to heroes being killed and it might be too much for very
young kids. How young? The Masked Reviewer doesn't know.
He's not a child psychologist. But, slightly older kids will love
Comic book fans will also have a great time at The Incredibles.
They might feel a bit upset about the classic characters that
"influenced" the movie (comic book fans get upset about a lot of things
-- worst violation of Fantastic Four copyright ever!) but they
will love the look and flow of the movie. Aside from the jokes
(some of which provide a cornucopia of hilarity), the action sequences
are some of the best superhero sequences on screen. Better than
cartoons and better than live action -- Brad Bird has nailed the comic
book feel. Silver Age comics fans will be especially impressed.
There's also an animated short called "Boundin'" before the main
feature. This is a very good thing; it beats the pants off of car
ads, previews, and slideshows. It's also computer animated,
directed by Bud Luckey (who narrates the movie and voices a character in
The Incredibles). In a word, it's cute. It's
inescapably cute. Even hardened, crusty, curmudgeony spoilsports
like the Masked Reviewer have to admit that it's adorable. It's
got singing, dancing, a moral, and cute critters. And yet, it's
well done and ... well... cute.
It's unlikely that The Incredibles will live up to the
impossible expectations the studio has set for it -- they want it to
exceed the successes of Finding Nemo. It's not as focused
on bringing in as many people as possible; instead, the film has its own
identity, which makes for a better experience, but while it's assured of
making a ton of money, it might not make two tons. It's perhaps
too good for that.
If you have to go to a movie with a kid, this is the best choice in
theaters now. The visuals and the laughs make it easily worth the
price of admission. If you like Iceman, the Flash, Dr. Doom, and
the Fantastic Four, you'll find a lot to like about this one!
Expectation from the Title: When the Williamsons started
telling tall tales about their fishing trip in Canada, they were no
longer seen as being credible. Soon, they found they had to catch
the biggest fish in the world to be credibles once again.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
It's nice to see a family spending so much time together, fighting
The Pros: Stunning visuals, many perfect comic book action
sequences, solid voice acting, some good laughs.
The Cons: The concept seems very familiar and most of the
characters are lifted from existing comics. The movie might be too
intense for some small (or wimpy) children.