The Incredibles


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"The latest Pixar pic can only be described in one word: incredible.  Wow.  That's good writing right there."










The Incredibles
The Masked Reviewer

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 good job.

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 way through. 

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 it).

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 this movie.

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 crime.

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.

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