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The Incredibles /

Rated: PG

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L Jackson, Jason Lee, Elizabeth Peña

Directed by: Brad Bird

Produced by John Walker
Written by:
Brad Bird


Dash (voiced by Spencer Fox ), Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell ), Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson ) and Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter ) in Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles
Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson ) leaps into action in Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles
Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson ) in Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles
The villainous Syndrome (voiced by Jason Lee ) in Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles
Edna Mode (voiced by Brad Bird ) and  Helen Parr (voiced by Holly Hunter ) in Disney and Pixar's The Incredibles

     Today, we watched a dubbed version of Monsters Inc. in Spanish Class. Being one who is not fluent en Español, I was amazed at how easy the dialogue was for me to understand. Sure, I had seen the movie in English before, but the simplicity of the language seemed astounding. Then, I got to thinking about the concept of Monsters Inc. It, too, is rather basic. It was at that moment that I realized that every movie that has come out of Pixar Studios has had a ridiculously simple-minded premise; I think that I too could’ve thought of personifying toys, bugs, and fish, if I had the motivation of a few billion dollars in revenue, as a result. But, despite this, most of them have turned out to be rather amazing movies, through and through.

     Why is this? The obvious answer would be the tremendous, eye-popping animation that all Pixar productions contain. However, I have a hard time believing that imagery, alone, has been able to hook me into any movie, let alone an animated one. I suppose that the real reason why I can, indeed, reinforce the widely shared opinion that the folks at Pixar are geniuses is because every one of their films’ screenwriters is extremely observant. What separates these pictures from standard traditionally animated ones is, primarily, because they contain such witty satire, topping most live-action comedies in such an area. 

     The Incredibles, Pixar’s latest endeavor, opened last weekend to the same big box office numbers as all of their previous works, and is a nice addition to the long list of movies that they are responsible for. Using typical superhero shtick, writer/director Brad Bird creates a story about a family with special powers, headed by Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter), who are forced to live normal lives, by the disapproving government. The idea, in itself, is not much better than that of an episode of any old cartoon on Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel. However, usually conforming to Pixar’s delightful mold seems to be Bird’s forte. With The Incredibles comes some delicious commentary on society’s view of superheroes, an outrageous exploration of familial dynamics, and, of course, multiple looks at the humorous behaviors of children.

     Unfortunately, Bird forgets to place a key piece in his animated puzzle: sympathy. Without the advantage of performances from actors (aside from the voices), it is necessary that a director go out of his way to find this crucial element in moviemaking. The Incredibles is missing both the sorrow and the joy of other Pixar films, like Finding Nemo and Toy Story and its sequel. This is, perhaps, the only main difference between this effort and its predecessors.

     The look of the film is just as marvelous as I expected it to be. The action sequences are astounding; The Incredibles, for its filmmakers, represented the opportunity to show everything impossible that they had ever wanted superheroes to be able to do in a restricting live-action movie. The result is often hypnotizing; the first scene, in particular, instantly hooked me in by accomplishing such. If it weren’t for the slightly unrealistic ways in which the characters move in The Incredibles, I would’ve been ready to start a letter-writing campaign, in efforts to completely squash the “real” portion of the film industry.

     The release of next year’s Cars will mark the end of distributor Disney’s long partnership with Pixar. While this will almost definitely ensure a higher profit-margin for the animation company, which is owned by Steve Jobs, it may mean less total box-office-success for their films, much to my dismay. The Incredibles indicates a smidgeon of a decline in quality for Pixar, but it is certainly worth seeing, nevertheless. Major butt-kicking at the expense of lack of the audience’s sympathy is almost justifiable, in a way.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (11.10.2004)

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