Forgive the ramble but once upon a time, there was a film called Finding Nemo. Now among the sea of trailers was a teaser for a rather interesting film called The Incredibles. Essentially it was played for laughs with this man, overwieight it seems, ready to fight crime...if not for the fact that he can't get the belt on. I was thirteen and maybe I wasn't sure what to make of it but then fast forward to mid-2004, I saw promo spots and an IMDB webpage for the film. What's that? It's rated PG and it's an action movie featuring superheroes! What fourteen year could so "no" to that? And so I did come opening weekend waiting in a long line and it was worth it? And the best part is, I got to see it twice. Yes, the only movie I got to see twice. And because of the film itself, I immediately became a movie buff entirely. To this day, I still own the 2-Disc DVD and now, maybe aside from a glimpse on TV, this is the first time watching it since 2005. Does it hold up? Well what's the story?
The Supers were well renowned and well respected types of people who basically save people from all sorts of bad guys and megalomanics until a string of lawsuits against them caused the government to take action basically creating some sort of registration act to give up their lives of heroics and basically live among the society or face the cosequences. Bob Parr (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), who was once Mr. Incredible, is married to Helen Parr (voiced by Holly Hunter), once known as Elastigirl are married with two children, Dash and Violet (voiced by Spencer Fox and Sarah Vowell respectively) and live among society. Bob however is not pleased with his life as of now and continually longs for the glory days of being a superhero. However he gets an invitation to take care of a runaway robot and after destroying it, he feels the spark in his life he's looking for but however all is not what it seems when he discovers a more sinister plot...
There's more to it of course and in short, the film holds up well and I still consider it my favorite Pixar film (granted I need to see all of Ratatouie but still). Director Brad Bird was really on his a-game with this film and basically gave it all he had to bring this simple premise of a family of superheroes to full form. Not sure if I can anything different than what's already been said but let's see if I actually can. Well, admittingly I would have liked to see more of the family such as Helen and the kids but what can you do? Especially since the film concentrates more on Bob Parr which brings me to one of the interesting aspects of the film. Bob is essentially a man who really misses the glory days of heroics, the world had moved on without him apparently and misses the thrill of being a superhero. But his dissatisfication with the direction his life went along with the stress of his job and trying to maintain a family can put a toll on the guy and basically goes out on Wedsnday nightsas an excuse to regain the thrill.
All I'm saying is is that Bob's nostalgia for the past and living it in some way is interesting and what came after that lead to complete character development, it helps for the rest of the Parr family such as Helen. Unlike Bob, she moved on and basically accepted the fact that superheroes weren't needed any longer and at least wants to live a normal life but also tries to maintain balance not helped by the rowdy kids and Bob dwelling on the glory days. She trusts her husband but becomes suspicious at one point when he sees Bob's suit patched up along with another factor. And yes, they reconcile but who doesn't expect that.
Syndrome is very much the best villain out of the Pixar library. He's intelligent, he had a plan that could have worked and would have gotten away with everything if not for one fatal flaw that he forgot about and not to mention, he's insane and sadistic, he's very much a threat that wouldn't hesistate even killing someone to get what he wants. When you get down to it though, he's essentially a bitter fanboy who was distraught that his own hero, whom he looked up to just basically told him to "bug off" harshly and well, in a way, that kind of makes him sympathetic. Though in the end and again, he doesn't give a crap about anyone but his own needs, in other words; a spoiled brat.
That's not to say the kids don't get their own share of development, Violet in particular who does get over her own issues of shyness.
Though really, Frozone was awesome; I liked him especially along with Mirage.
The voice acting is excellent to a point where I can't really picture anyone else in these roles since their voices fit the character designs so much, they're a perfect fit. Craig T. Nelson sounded natural in the role, as did Holly Hunter who did a very good job, Spencer Fox didn't too annoying, Sarah Powell was pretty good. Jason Lee did a pretty good job as well as did Elizabeth Peņa and Samuel L. Jackson, well, when is he not awesome? Come on. The character designs themselves are basically Brad Bird's animation style as CG and it works fitting the that type of animation. And the visual asthetic is very cool with a retro feel of sorts and I suspect Brad Bird must have watched You Only Live Twice while writing the script and storyboarding it because Syndrome's homebase (being near a vocano and all) kind of reminds me of Blofeld's vocanic base from that film. And there are times where the Bond influence shows. I mean, Mirage was dressed in a sleveless dress at one point looking seductive when she was dinner with Bob, she definitely had the echo of a Bond girl.
Actually now that I think about it, Syndrome seemed to be a Bond villain with an even bigger budget, he'd probably would have fit right in with the Roger Moore films. Well, somewhat if Syndrome wasn't fixated with superheroes. And when you think about it, Edna Mode is very much Q if he were a woman, with an accent, an attitude and became a fashion desinger for superheroes. I mean during her presentation with Helen regarding the costumes and a particular device, Q's expoisition of the gadgets in those films comes to mind really. Also, I think Thunderbirds might have been an influence but I'm rambling too much aren't I?
Oh, and Edna Mode; I liked her, she was funny and you'll never guess her voice actor.
Now the action sequences are well with my particular favorites being the entire Parr family and Frozone fighting Syndrome's robot, the Omnidroid, and the fight scenes in the jungle, while each character exhibits the methods of their powers while attempting to think of a stragety to beat the Omnidroid in the third act. The animation is terrific, the characters move fluidly and it kind of looked like it was filmed as a live action movie as I noticed a bit of a handheld camera at one point. My favorite piece of animation is Helen's with her showcasing alot of her streching abilities and her facial expressions that get better by each act of the film helped by all areas such as well, the animation, her characterization and her voice. It just all worked perfectly.
There's even a bit of satire particularly the 15 years ago prologue along with the interview reels of Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone. And well, I do wish there was more of the satire really.
The music itself, pretty good and I detected a Mission Impossible influence, and I mean the TV show, not the Tom Cruise movies. The structure of the film itself is well done and the script itself is very good, Brad Bird often has the autuer approach to animation and he definitely succeeded with this film. The humor's well done, nothing felt forced and he definitely didn't pull any punches in all areas and it shows. Really, the entire core of the film is about two things; Bob's longing for the glory days and the family itself and how they cope with being a family of superheroes and Bird definitely got the approach right and stuck with a consistent tone and interesting characters and it worked.
Overall, it's a well made film that's well executed, and I highly recommend to those who haven't seen it. If you're looking for something great, this is the film for you. But if you're not a fan of Pixar, Disney, superheroes or Brad Bird's other works then maybe this won't sway you but I recommend having an open mind about it.