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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pixargust: The Incredibles (2004)


How many of you saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol last year? Here's a quick sum up: it's a solid and intense action flick! Did you know that the director of that movie, Brad Bird, got his start in animation? He was a writer for The Simpsons and directed The Iron Giant for Warner Bros. He pitched an idea he had for a film about a superhero family to Pixar and had most of the staff from Iron Giant transferred over to work on this film. The turnout was unlike anything the Disney executives, Pixar, or even Bird himself ever expected. The Incredibles not only made over $630 million at the box office, the film also was the most well-reviewed film that year and took home two Academy Awards. It became the first entirely animated film to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. Many people today consider it one of the greatest superhero movies of all time, up there with Tim Burton's Batman, The Dark Night, Iron Man, Superman, and I'd even argue The Avengers. So what is it that makes The Incredibles.... well, so incredible? And for that matter, how does it fare compared to the other Pixar films? Let's see what makes this superhero movie so super in The Incredibles.

Supers in this movie are people born with superpowers. Once upon a time, heroes like Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) were regarded as saviors to the public. But overtime, the damage caused to the city starts to build up and the government decides to make their secret identities as their only identities. The supers now have to blend in with everyday people and live out normal lives. 15 years pass as Bob Parr, once Mr. Incredible, marries his wife Helen (Elastigirl) and starts a family while working at a boring desk job. Two of his children, Dash and Violet, have superpowers while the youngest Jack-Jack doesn't appear to have any. Tired of his boring and mundane life, Bob and his friend Lucius (Frozone) secretly stop crimes using a police scanner. He does lose his desk job but gets an offer from a mysterious woman named Mirage (Elizabeth Peña) to defeat a rogue battle robot on a mysterious island. He accepts the mission and defeats the robot, resulting in a lucrative pay. He gets back in shape as well as gain a new suit from his old costume designer Edna Mode (Brad Bird). Bob accepts another mission and finds out the robots were designed by an ex-fanboy of Mr. Incredible who calls himself Syndrome (Jason Lee). Now a super villain, he plans to exterminate the last remaining supers so he can send his robot on the city and "become" a hero and then destroy the city once the people call him a hero. Helen does find out about Bob's doings and so she, with Dash and Violet stowed away, set forth to save Bob and become closer as a family as well as fix their own flaws. However. they are captured by Syndrome but manage to escape. They stop Syndrome's plan and the country declares the family and Lucius as heroes again.

I know Up gets a lot of credit for being Pixar's first "grown-up" film, but why doesn't The Incredibles get that honor? So far, this movie has the most complex plot of all the Pixar films. It has the frenetic energy and exhilarating action scenes you come to expect in a superhero movie. It uses the computer animation to it's full potential, with break-neck camera movements and fantastic looking fight choreography. The action sequences are the part I remember the most when I was younger. Even as an adult they're still impressive to look at.

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Many elements of the movie surprisingly ring true to real life. Part of the reason this film is so human is because the human characters are human, which is never an easy thing to accomplish in animation. In fact, this is the first Pixar film where the people look, move, and act like people we see every day. Bob for example is tired of his dull life and yearns for the glory days when he could save the day once more all while trying to maintain a family. He does realize in the end that family is the most important thing now. And while Bob trains, Helen suspects Bob of having an affair because he found one of Mirage's hairs on his old supersuit. She just wants to maintain order as well as the love of her husband, which is something we all can understand. Violet is socially shy and Dash just wants a chance to use his full potential. Both kids lives improve after their experience with the family. And Lucius... well, he's voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. He's automatically awesome!

You may know people like this!
And Sam's supersuit looks badass too. :D
It manages to be an homage of classic superhero stories and 60's spy films in one as well as sort of satirize the superhero genre and suburban life. It's more about the secret lives of the heroes and what if the heroes just vanish out of thin air. I especially like the cape discussion between Bob and Edna. Syndrome's back-story as he turns from wanting to be Mr. Incredible's young ward to his arch-nemesis in the end was an interesting twist. He does make a good bad guy, even though he relies on technology for his powers. It's definitely unlike anything I've seen before in movies or read in comic books.

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For lack of a better word, The Incredibles is an incredible movie. Kids will love all the superheroes while the adults will appreciate it's clever story with it's more than human cast to back it up and awesome action scenes. It sort of knows what it wants to be and plays by it's own rules very well. One more thing: it is more mature and violent than your usual Pixar fare, so I would advise you parents watching it with young kids. That doesn't mean you or your family shouldn't see it. It's just that older kids will appreciate it more. I can't recommend it enough! It's pure entertainment and excellent entertainment that'll keep you at the edge of your seat.

1 comment:

Filmgurulad said...

I had to agree with you about the Incredibles, it's an incredible animated movie and I really loved it.