Monday, November 5, 2012

The Incredibles (2004) - A Dysfunctional Family of Superheroes

The Incredibles: Action, Adventure, and the Suburban Dad, a True Family of Superheroes

The Incredibles 2004
"The Incredibles" poster.
Pixar cashed in on the superheroes film bonanza with this 2004 release. "The Incredibles," directed by Brad Bird, is one of its top efforts Somewhat incredibly (sorry, you knew I had to do that), also has the sole writing credit - meaning no re-writes, no consultation, no "send-the-script-to-our-favorite-script-doctor", nothing like that. The film introduces a whole new crop of superheroes that had never appeared elsewhere, which makes this film different from virtually every other popular superhero feature. It's actually refreshing to see an animation film that isn't: a) based on hoary old Disney archetypes; b) created around living toys that are nothing but moving action figures to be sold to children, or c) lifted from a well-known comic-book character or modeled after a live-action film. Pixar at least gets points for originality with this one!

Running through a corridor The Incredibles 2004
Incredibles to the rescue!
Mr. Incredible, who when he is not a superhero goes by the mild-mannered name of Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson), and his wife Helen ("Elastigirl") (Holly Hunter) once fought crime in Metroville. They battled evil in true Batman style, remaining anonymous while saving numerous lives and keeping the streets safe for decent people.

Main characters The Incredibles 2004
The Incredibles.
Now, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl are retired, having grown tired of their frenetic lifestyle. They bought a house in suburbia and tried to be "just plain folks." It is fifteen years later, and they have three children: Violet (Sarah Vowell); Dash (Spencer Fox); and Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile and Maeve Andrews). The children also have superpowers, though that is a secret to everyone.

Dash The Incredibles 2004
When we meet up with them, Bob has become bored with domestic life and dreams of fighting evil again. One day, out of the blue, he receives a mysterious message that summons him to a remote island for an assignment. Curious and restless, he decides to accept. Little does he know that it will take his entire family to carry this one out.

Elastigirl  The Incredibles 2004
While the idea of a dysfunctional family of superheroes seems fairly obvious, it had never been done before like this. "The Incredibles" was Pixar's attempt to start a whole new franchise without having to pay Stan Lee or anyone else a royalty fee. Again, they get points for having the courage to break free from their comic-book masters.

Mr. Incredible in The Incredibles 2004
Mr. Incredible.
"The Incredibles" uses computer graphics heavily, as you would expect in a contemporary animation film with lots of action. However, unlike some recent films that are a bit heavy on them and which become overbearing, this time the graphics really work to push the story ahead. adult humor is sprinkled throughout, so if you watch this with your child, the two of you may be entertained at different points in between the fights. There are plenty of underlying themes about a marriage in crisis, the perils of hero-worship, and the responsibility of great power to keep adults interested.

Frozone The Incredibles 2004
And there is a lot of action. Samuel L. Jackson shows up as Lucius Best/Frozone, while Jason Lee is Buddy Pine/Syndrome. The climactic battle scene is a true work of art. There also is a battle with robots that makes a strong impression. Everybody in the family uses their particular talents to achieve victory. This film family ranks right up there with other team efforts like "Spy Kids," "The Avengers" and the Justice League.

Mr. Incredible The Incredibles 2004
Exerting himself.
The trailer can be a bit misleading. It has material that does not appear in the film. It is very clever, though, with theme music from the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." You should watch the trailer in addition to the film and enjoy both. Some would say this is the best Bond film since Connery, which is an amusing thought all by itself.

Mr. Incredible Frozone The Incredibles 2004
Mr. Incredible and Frozone.
Disney/Pixar announced a sequel during spring 2014. It's unclear why it took so long - Bird had this to say back in 2013:
"I have been thinking about it. People think that I have not been, but I have. Because I love those characters and love that world. I am stroking my chin and scratching my head. I have many, many elements that I think would work really well in another Incredibles film, and if I can get ‘em to click all together, I would probably wanna do that."
It is great that finally, Pixar is capitalizing on this exciting achievement, and this time it will be in 3D. When it does come out, it will be well worth going to see if this film is any indication. There is no release date as of the time of writing, but there have been hints it may come sooner than people think.

Syndrome The Incredibles 2004
The evil Syndrome.
"The Incredibles" has it all: humor, suspense, drama, family togetherness, and action. You don't have to be a child to enjoy this one! Enjoy the trailer below.


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