The Incredibles (2004)
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Review Date: November 05, 2004
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Brad Bird
Producers: John Walker
Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible
Holly Hunter as Elastigirl
Jason Lee as Syndrome
An animated superhero couple, one Mr. Incredible and his lovely wife, Elastigirl, have to call it quits and behave like “normal human beings” after society puts the clamp down on superheroes. Fifteen years after the fact, the weight-inclined Mr. Incredible is pushing pencils in an insurance company cubicle and the nicely figured Elastigirl, is home…cooking, cleaning and raising their family. That is…until Mr. Incredible gets an inkling for his old gig again and…well, you gotta see the movie to see what ensues.
Despite starting a little slowly and going a little longly, THE INCREDIBLES delivers in the one aspect of filmmaking which is surely the most important for a film of this sort and that is: entertainment. If you want to be entertained to the tee, buy yourself a ticket to this show, pack some nachos on your lap, a honey by your side and a soda in your pocket (or are you just glad to see me?) and enjoy yourself as a cartoon family of over-the-hill superheroes goes all-out action on your ass, that is…once established as “real” people with day-to-day problems like you and me (although, unlike me, I’m pretty sure they can get dates). One thing that I wasn’t aware of before seeing this film was the fact that it would be Pixar’s first PG flick. That excited me because being ignorant as I am, I thought that meant swearing and maybe even an “ass shot” or two. T’was not to be (although we do get an “ass shot” of Elastigirl, but she’s in full superhero attire at the time…darn). That said, the odd rating for a movie such as this, didn’t really affect the experience as I saw it, other than a lot more action and a few more mentions of death and such. To be honest…I’m not really sure why it got that rating, but whatever the case, the film was cotton-candy fun. Most of the fun coming during the film’s second half when the whole family gets in on the action and superpowers are utilized to their maximum (very “video game”-like, actually). The scenes on the bad guy’s very groovy “bad guy island” were a particular blast, especially when correlated with the seemingly indestructible robotic-machine attempting to destroy everyone in its path.

One thing that did surprise me about the movie was its lack of emphasis on humor. About half an hour into it, I realized that I was smiling, but that I hadn’t laughed out loud once. It was a strange moment. Then, I realized that I was thinking to myself and not paying attention to the movie, so I stopped and turned back around. It’s been said that director Brad Bird based some of this film on his own “mid-life crisis” and time away from his family, and it shows. That’s not to say that as a bad thing…just different. Granted, the film does eventually kick in with humor, particularly via the character of Edna Mode (voiced by writer/director Bird himself), the over-the-top shi-shi fashion designer, who did make me laugh. The stuff about the bad guys’ “monologues” and the line about “doing a shot every time someone runs” were also quite memorable. As for the characters, all of them were engaging on their own, with Mr. Incredible, in particular, holding our attention the whole way through (thanks in part to the unrecognizable voice-work by Craig T. Nelson…good stuff!), as well as his hottie wife, voiced by cutie-pie Holly Hunter, and the kids, each bringing something special to the table. In fact, one elongated sequence featuring Dash, the boy with the super speed, on the island, is one of the film’s brightest moments. Oh, and Sam Jackson was purfect as the voice for Frozone…I only wish they had used him even more…he was damn cool, yo!

As for the animation and effects, well, it’s Pixar…what can you say other than perfection? Some brilliant work here and particularly in the second half of the movie with gadgets, action, tricks, machines, gun play, explosions and everything with the kitchen sink thrown at the screen and looking awesome! On the negative tip, the film did run a little too long (at 115 minutes, the longest animated movie ever), felt like it had various ongoing endings and featured a bad guy that was just “okay”—actually, he annoyed me more than anything. His sexy assistant, Mirage, on the other hand…hubba-hubba! Overall, the film packs into it everything you’d want from a movie and more with lots of fun for the kids, mid-life familial relations for the adults, and a nice blend of action, humor, heroics and morals for everyone. Think JAMES BOND meets the FANTASTIC FOUR meets PIXAR meets X-BOX. PS: One thing this film taught me is that unlike SHREK 2 and SHARK TALE, two animated movies I also enjoyed this year, one needn’t jam-pack its story with pop-culture references and homages, in order to be fully entertaining. In fact, one could argue that unlike those films, original adventures such as THE INCREDIBLES are the ones that will have families watching them over and over and over again, over the years.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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