Secondly, though, you need not fear! Audiences won't be pulling a Meet Joe Black on The Incredibles! Quite the contrary, Star Wars Trailers on a movie like The Incredibles go together like Bacon and Eggs, Franks and Beans, Death and Taxes, Politics and Corruption, Grandpas and Long Stories... Delta Burke and Major Dad! More than that, you'll be hard pressed to find a better Superhero film, and rather hard pressed to find a more fun movie for the whole family. While The Incredibles is a little dark as compared to, say, Finding Nemo, this is due to the subject matter alone. Still, even with some of the milder "Adult Themes", The Incredibles (Rated PG for action violence) is pretty safe for the kiddos, even if you might have to leave the Bambino of the family home with Grandpa, listening to long stories!
Craig T. Nelson's Mr. Incredible is a Superhero's Superhero. As strong as The Thing, but without the Rocks. All in one day Mr. Incredible can catch the Badguys, save a Kitten from a Tree, Alienate a Fanboy (and would-be Sidekick), rescue a man from attempted suicide, accidentally catch another badguy, and save an El Train from crashing. If that's not incredible enough, all this is done on his Wedding Day! Yep, the artist formerly known as Elastigirl (voice of Holly Hunter, and body of Holly Hunter too, HUZZAH!) is now, for all intents and purposes, "Mrs. Incredible"!
But, as this introduction will offer you, such a set up is not without its questions, and the main ones are: Wouldn't Superheroes have Super Babies? Aren't Scorned Super-Sidekicks bound to seek Scornful Super-Revenge? And don't Super Battles cause enough property damage to send any government benefactor into near-bankruptcy?
The answer to these questions are Yes, Yes, and quite sadly, Yes. And so a decade and a half later, Mr. Incredible is now Mr. Bob Parr (get it?), a fat man with no super-identity, whose only "derring-do" is helping the clients at the insurance firm he's employed by get a better settlement (even if it might cost him his job).
Well, that and trying to raise two Super-Kids, and a rambunctious Infant with his formerly "elastic" wife Helen Parr. Now-a-days, Helen only uses her "Mr. Fantastic"-like S T R E T C H powers to separate her two teens from fighting like Vampires and Van Helsings. Daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell) has the exact invisibility and force-field powers of "The Invisible Woman" and, just to keep Stan Lee, and the Estate of Jack Kirby from Suing Pixar, son Dashiel "Dash" Parr (Spencer Fox) hasn't any Fantastic Four power, but does a heck of an impression of The Flash.
But, as Gene Simmons once said "A world without Heroes is no place to be", and Bob Parr couldn't agree more. So he and fellow former-super Lucius "Frozone" Best (Samuel L. Jackson) relive the past by listening to Police-Band Radios and saving the occasional life on the side. But if he's spotted by agents of Aspiring Super-Villain "Syndrome" (Jason Lee) Bob's suburban life of quiet desperation might not stay so quiet after all.
What follows is some of the best Super Hero work ever done in any film, with action and surprises to beat the Villainous Band! The Incredibles combines elements of some of the greatest Comic Book Fare with James Bond homages and Techno-Monsters reminiscent of the Forties Throwbacks of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. At the same time, though, the characterizations are both realistic and caricatured. Sure, not a bit of this could happen in "Real Life", but there's a feel of the Real when it comes to this impossible family... especially when they're in action!
And that's the key to The Incredibles, it's intelligent action, like you'd find in your favorite Comic Book, written by your favorite scribe! You don't have to be a Comic Book Fan to love this movie because this is Pixar, after all! The whole thing is treated with care and respect by Brad Bird, the Superstar Director of the remarkably underrated The Iron Giant (if you haven't seen that one... see it now). With The Iron Giant, along with Family Dog and The Simpsons on his Resume, Bird's obviously no slouch, but it was a risk for certain to put an outsider like him on a big-budget Pixar film! The gamble paid off, though, because The Incredibles works!
It would be ridiculous for me to comment on the Animation Quality of a Pixar film! Of course it's the best in the industry. However, here Bird is a little less concerned with making The Incredibles "Realistic". While all the backgrounds, and most of the sets are Photo Quality, the characters herein are the square-jawed and rubbery Comic Book Denizens that owe their origin to the classic four-color comics. Just to prove they aren't slacking, though, Pixar gives each character realistic hair and clothing, accurate down to the individual fiber. How complete can you get? Not much more than this. Wow!
If this film has any actual flaws, it's those that can only really be picked up by fat, balding fanboys like me. Anyone who reads comic books along with their Daily Allowance of Shakespeare can predict a lot of this movie, and might find some of the "surprises" lacking in the "surprise" category. This is minor, however, because The Incredibles still manages to make its mark as an original and non-derivative movie, that shouldn't be penalized because a lot of us have read the same Pulp that Bird grew up on. After all, from Squadron Supreme to Astro City to The Authority, Comic Books have always mined themselves for the best in Satire and Self-Effacing genre-twists. The Incredibles feels familiar because it follows that trend, and never lands on the island of Rip-Offs.
Aside from that, this is much more Star Wars than it is Finding Nemo. While I had no issue with it (my kid is 14 at the time of this writing), Soccer Moms bringing little Johnny and Ashley to the Matinee should know that mild questions of Marital Jealousy, and not-so-mild ramifications of Comic Book Violence crop up in this film. No, there's no actual gore here, but there is a death or two of a bad guy-cum-wall-smudge.
Regardless, from Domino-Stacking intro to Knock Down Drag Out Finale, The Incredibles makes its mark as one of the best Super Hero Films of them all, and it's yet another of the many Crowning Achievements for Pixar Animation Studios! Five Stars for The Incredibles! It's a Timely film, but with its mix of tribute to- and send-up of- the Genre that gave birth to it, this one should have the staying Power that makes a "hit" a "classic". Now, before I Obscure-Reference myself into a Black Hole of Kryptonite, I'll see you folks in the Next Reel!