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A Review of Pixar's The Incredibles

Published November 5, 2004 in MOVIE REVIEW
By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Pixar/Disney
Jackson as Frozone. His onscreen time was little compared to the length of the film.
I just got back from watching Pixar's The Incredibles and I have got to say a few things about this film. One of the major points that will come across is that this animation is the most different animation [Pixar or Dreamworks] to hit the theatres yet. So does that make it incredible? Read and find out.

I would also like to note that the Star Wars: ROTS teaser trailer did NOT play before the film. So, now I am even more pleased that I was able to present the trailer through CanMag.Com OVER HERE.

The Incredibles: The First Real Action Animation

If you are going into this film expecting to see easy gags such as those from Shrek 2, Toy Story, Antz, or Ice Age, you got another thing coming. The Incredibles does offer up humor, but, unlike the animated films just listed, it does not use humor to run the course of the film. This Disney/Pixar animation is more likely to have you smiling through out the entire showing rather than laughing. I am not claiming that you won't laugh, just not as much as you would in other animated films that are supposedly for 'children'. Besides this little memo, this film is s-w-e-e-t.

Alright, The Incredibles will offer occasions of humor but, just as in Iron Giant [also by Brad Bird], it is not the overall goal of the film. This is a true action/superhero movie that has been created in animated form. People fight, there is violence, there are real world issues here. And I love that Brad Bird and Pixar use an animation to point them out. Should you take your kids to see the film, YES! Your kids should be able to look past a lot of the action suspense and enjoy the film. However, if Star Wars or Indiana Jones was enough to scare your child, so may The Incredibles.

Mr.Incredible needs the help of his family to take on Syndrome and his gadgets.
Talk about the message in this Pixar creation. While I thought the first hour of The Incredibles was kind of slow [causing the movie to be just under the two hour mark], it does so to show the effort behind the characters. The beginning of the movie starts with a reel of Mr. Incredible [Craig T. Nelson], Elastigirl [Holly Hunter], Frozone [Samuel L. Jackson], and then later a young Syndrome [Jason Lee]. The beginning of The Incredibles is set to show the glory days of being a superhero. All of the heroes are revered and their secret identities respected. However, soon comes a time of frivolous lawsuits that are aimed at the super heroes for doing such deeds as saving a person who attempts to commit suicide. Sound familiar to lawsuits occurring today? Anyway, the super heroes are forced into hiding by a superhero protection service setup by the government. Therefore, no more superheroes are left, or willing, to protect society.

Mr. Incredible, aka Bob Parr, and Elastigirl, aka Helen Parr, eventually get married and have three children; one still an infant. Their son, middle child named Dashiell 'Dash' Parr with what seems to be ADD, has the power of speed while the daughter, Violet, is a extremely shy, gothic girl who has the power to create force fields and turn invisible. Because of the restraints put on the Incredibles by the government and society, the children must never use their powers and are forced to put self-restraint on themselves. Violet remains shy and Dash is not allowed to compete in sports.

Dash finally brings this topic to the screen by asking why, when you are something exceptional, you should have to restrain yourself when you can be used for the good of society [asking this after never being allowed to join group sports]. Another comment by Bird on how society is today? This is only one of the smaller points made in the film too. A very breath-taking scene [in an animation sense] is when Helen Parr explains what 'bad people' are to her children after she realizes that her whole family is in danger. She tells Dash and Violet that bad people are not the people you see on television shows, real bad people do not care how young or old you are, they will hurt or kill you just the same. WHOA!! All said within an animation supposedly aimed at children! There are other points said as well, but I'll let you view the film to hear them all. However, dialogue does not end the seriousness of the threat in The Incredibles.

Mr. Incredible comes to need his entire family [except for the infant] to fight the new source of evil, Syndrome. This includes the young Dash and Violet. Does Brad Bird take it easy on the two young rookie superheroes? No, he puts their lives in danger just as you would see a hero in a real action film. Both kids lives are put at risk a multitude of times during the film; from falling out of the sky to being shot at by various enemies. The kids even mention that they could die or could have died. This may actually push people away from allowing their youngest kids to see the film; the effect can be unsettling. I, myself, do not have children and loved the realism to it. This is an action film, if kids want to fight against the enemy, the enemy will then fight against them. Awesome. And talk about a fight indeed!

As I previously stated, the first hour is pretty slow as you are introduced to superheroes whom are trying to suppress their urges and live as ordinary people. However, after this time the film takes off with extended periods of animated action that should blow your mind. There are scenes that are so cool that I only wish to mention a couple of them to not blow the surprise for viewers. One being when Dash is finally allowed to show off his speed, and must run from Syndrome's henchmen through the jungle; the segment just shows the power and creation behind CGI animation. As he ran at 100+ miles an hour through the jungle, I had the sense of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi during the speeder chase at the Battle of Endor. The foliage flying by with little visibility ahead was very similar between two films; just awesome.

There is so much cool, and somewhat brutal, action during the last forty-five minutes of the film that you just have to sit back and take it all in. Action includes everything from fighting humans to fighting robots. Truly incredible work by Pixar to bring credible action scenes to the medium of computer generated animation.

The Incredibles Is a Change to the CGI Medium and the 'Formula'

Even Helen finds times to get violent.
Hopefully, after reading what I have written so far, you can see that this film is the most different of the animations so far. While Shrek 2 and gang had adult overtones, this film is an adult action picture that has overtones that allow children to view the films as well. A complete reversal of the formula that has brought in billions; a reversal that I found refreshing and greatly enjoyed. I think we are now only a few steps away from on-screen sex between CGI animated characters [or three leaps, or never].

The last thing I greatly appreciated about the film is the ending. The last ten minutes has about just as much humor as the rest of the film. Which is great assuming Brad Bird had to end the movie on a lighter note. As a matter of fact, the last scene of The Incredibles had me howling in laughter. If there was a little more of this type of humor through out the whole film, it would have been the A+ animation every one, including Pixar, is hoping for.

Final Judgment: Thank you Mr. Bird for taking a chance and creating an animation that took a look at real villains and real threats to the characters viewed on the screen; characters you do care for. The Incredibles has the ability to offer an analysis of present-day society, the family household, loss of adolescence, all the while including an action flick to boot. This film is just as entertaining as it is real; except, of course, that it is an animation with superheroes. A-

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Images property of Pixar/Disney

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