"Any friend of Inara's is a strictly business-like relationship of mine."
-- Malcolm Reynolds

Uh-oh, looks like I’m monologuing…

The IncrediblesSaw The Incredibles again last night, so I figured maybe it’s time I say something about it…but the only thing I can come up with is: WOW. I think this is Pixar’s best film ever, and that’s pretty impressive, considering the history (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, along with a plethora of entertaining shorts). However, it’s also interesting to note that this is not as much of a kid’s movie as its predecessors have been — while I’m sure plenty of kids will enjoy The Incredibles, there are some violent scenes that the younger ones may find a little disturbing.

So what makes The Incredibles so great? Trying to put down some kind of enumerated list is actually giving me trouble, because both times I’ve seen the movie, it’s just been a two-hour period of pure joy. But I’ll try to break it down a little more than that… :-)

SyndromeTo start with, it’s a superhero movie. That in and of itself just makes it fun — I’ve been reading comics for most of my life, and collecting them for the last decade-and-almost-a-half, so the superhero genre of movie always fills me with a kind of giddy pleasure (but a manly giddy), especially given the stupendous entries in this genre in recent years. And not only is it a superhero movie, but it’s a good superhero movie. The Incredibles takes the concept of a hero-filled world and tries to apply it to the real world — the heroes operate under a government sanction, and are obligated to knuckle under when a litigious populace starts costing too many taxpayer dollars. Mr. Incredible himself is shuffled into life as a corporate drone, spending his days in a tiny cubicle that is slowly crushing his spirit. The term “cooperative cog” is used by his amoral manager to describe the ideal employee’s aspirations, something I can relate to, as many similarly ridiculous buzzphrases are bandied about by the Evil Corporation that keeps me in the lifestyle to which I am accustomed (a topic for another day).

Added to this are the family dynamics, which are extremely well-written. The Parr family, made up of Bob (Mr. Incredible), Helen (Elastigirl), and their children Violet, Dash, and baby Jack-Jack, have all the same problems that any family has — the kids fight, dinner is an adventure, one parent is trying to relive past glory, while the other is trying to put a happy face on what they have. At the core of it all, they love each other very much, which they eventually are able to demonstrate in an epic battle to free themselves from an evil genius and save the world as they know it from his destructive technological creation. OK, maybe they have some problems that other families don’t… :-)

Edna ModeThe Incredibles tips its hat to many different inspirations. The society itself is based heavily on Cold War-era America, both in character attitudes and the look of their fair city. Syndrome’s island lair, and all of its accoutrements, evoke the Ghost of Bond Flicks Past, with the elaborate monorails and cavernous hangars. And the speeder bike scene from The Return of the Jedi is beautifully retooled into a fast-paced chase scene where Violet and Dash are finally able to use their powers to their full extent.

Brad Bird, creator of The Iron Giant, has managed to blend all of these elements together into an action-packed movie that keeps you laughing all the way through. Having seen The Iron Giant only recently (and having enjoyed it immensely), I have to say that Brad Bird is someone whose movies I’ll be waiting for anxiously.

Hmmm, I guess I had more to say than just “wow”…and I didn’t even get to say anything about Edna Mode!

2 Responses to “Uh-oh, looks like I’m monologuing…”

  1. No capes!
    Just saw this for the first time last week, and was similarly impressed. A+
    Pixar proves once again that all the CG wizardry in the world is no good without a great story and even better voice characterizations, delivered by very good actors that are household names if not box office draws. You’re not affiliated with me!

    As far as the animation goes, it’s spectacular, makes Finding Nemo look like the Little Mermaid. (ok, that’s a stretch). It’s the real-worldness of the setting here that makes the animation look so good. The thing about animation versus ‘live action’ CG effects is that you can make it look however you want and then it’s timeless. What struck me at times was that technological advances will come, but why would anyone WANT a movie to look any better?

  2. “Dash, everyone’s special.”
    “Which is another way of saying no one is.”

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