The Incredibles

2004 superhero cartoon

Rating: 16/20 (Abbey: 20/20)

Plot: Bob and Helen Incredible, out-of-work superheroes, try to adjust to normal-person life after saving the world's been outlawed. Helen takes care of their three children while Bob works in a cubicle he barely fits into. On the side, Bob secretly meets with his friend Samuel L. Jackson to park and listen to police scanners and catch some motherfucking criminals. One day, he's contacted by a mysterious woman with a job offer involving the travel to an island and destroy a robot ball. Since Bob just lost his job, he eagerly takes the job but soon discovers that he might be in for more than he bargained for.

See, these are the characters the Pixar folk should be working to bring back to the screen. Those cars and those monsters were fine, but there are so many stories that these characters could be used to tell. Not that this is my favorite Pixar movie. It's not. But it is an exciting story, cool in a James Bond sort of way, and animated with a great attention to detail. The island scenery is realistic, and there's a depth to the animation, especially during scenes where the little fast guy is zipping around where it's impossible to see everything regardless of how much you slow things down. In 2004, it didn't seem like the CGI magicians had quite worked out making people or their movements realistic. Watching this on the big screen, I was impressed with the movements of the human characters, not just because of the semi-realism but because they moved, gesticulated, and grimaced with personality. I especially liked flamboyant Buddy (Jason Lee) and sarcastic and smirking Helen (Holly Hunter). There are still some moments where things just don't look quite right. Helen's butt looks weird in some shots (yeah, I looked), but that might be because I don't understand the physics of an elastic posterior. My favorite two characters are a pair of minor characters, both of diminutive stature. I love every hilarious moment Edna Mode's on the screen, and the fact that director Brad Bird actually does her voice is awesome. And the always-wonderful Wallace Shawn voices Bob's boss, a perfect depiction of Napoleon Complex. The narrative's exciting, tossing you around with some twists and turns, and the music is just as incredible as the titular Incredibles. As with all of Pixar's movies (now they really are all on the blog), there's a lot here for both big people and their kiddies to enjoy. Maybe the big people just a little bit more though.


Barry said...

One of the two or three best superhero movies ever made. Its also my favorite animated film ever, because its full of action, adventure, humor and its simply just a fun motion picture. To me, if they had made this into a live action movie, it would have still been very good. (Unlike Wall-e or Up, which rely entirely on the fact they are animated to get positive reviews.)

I give this sucker a 19. It misses a 20 only because they lay the whole "family" thing on a little thick. I did appreciate that neither Bob nor Helen was entirely right of entirely wrong about where their priorities regarding their use of powers and being heroes should be as related to the family obligations. They worked it out in a logical fashion.

From your review, I would have thought you would rate it a point or two higher, but I wont quibble.

Shane said...

Uh just said 'Up'

I completely disagree about 'Up' and 'Wall-E' needing to be animated in order to succeed while 'The Incredibles' would work just as well as a live action film. In fact, I'd probably argue the opposite. I think 'Up' would work fine as live action (not sure about 'Wall-E' though; I don't feel strongly about 'Wall-E' either way; still have no desire to even watch that one a second time) while I think 'The Incredibles' might have seemed derivative. I think a lot of what makes 'The Incredibles' novel and fun is that it's animated. Even with live action, you would needed so many computer effects that it would have been animated anyway...

RE: the "family" stuff...yeah, part of what keeps it from being higher for me is that the thematic stuff that Pixar's movies usually have in there seems a little forced. Their problems felt very real though, and individually, all four of the family member's problems really helped round them out.

For shits 'n' giggles, here is a guess on how many times I've seen various Pixar movies:

Toy Story: around 100 times
Nemo: 9 times? maybe more
Monsters: maybe 8 times
Bug's Life: at least 5 times, probably more
Toy Story 2: 4 times, maybe 5
Up: 4 times
Incredibles: maybe 4 times
Toy Story 3: twice
Rat: twice
Cars: more than once was too many; I think I've seen it 3 or 4 times though
Wall-E: once

Pixar's watchability is amazing...

One more list: My favorite Pixar short films (the ones that come before the features):

1) the one where the guy plays chess against himself
2) the one with the magician and the rabbit
3) the one with the one-man-band musicians trying to get the girl's coin
4-?) the other ones

Shane said...

I don't have a list of "best superhero movies" but I would definitely put 'The Incredibles' ahead of 'Spiderman 3'...

cory said...

I agree exactly with Barry. A 19 for this extremely fun and well executed animated film that is in my top 5.

Shane said...

Top five for animated movies or superhero movies? Or Pixar movies?

I don't know...a 19 just seems so high. It's not nearly that close to flawless, and out of all the Pixar movies, it's not one I really feel like watching multiple times.

cory said...

Top five for all three catagories. It is brilliant on almost every level. We'll just put this in the "Up" catagory for films we don't see the same way.

Shane said...

Uh also just said 'Up'

I like this movie. It's a 16. we're closer on this one than we are on 'Up'...'The Incredibles' isn't in my top-five Pixar movies though.

Kairow said...

Nerd Alert:

When Marvel made the Fantastic Four cartoon in the early 80's, they could not include Human Torch, so they replaced him with HERBIE, a goofy robot.

The Incredibles are the FF cartoon
without the fire guy.
Stretchy one? Check.
Strong one? Check.
Invisible one? Check.

I agree that this is far better than Cars and Monsters and if they are going to be making sequals, why not this one?

I like the family stuff as much as the hero stuff. The family dinner was the best written part of the movie. Holly Hunter's voice work sells it.

Also, when Bob calls the young Syndrome "Brodie" before remembering "Buddy", is that a Mallrats call back?


Shane said...

How do I not know ANYTHING about comic books? I know about a fire guy. And there's an ice guy, too, right? With Samuel L. Jackson's character, I though he was real close to the ice guy. Is the ice guy and the Silver Surfer guy the same guy or are they different guys?

Kairow said...

Aaaaaand that is you can best bait me into a response.

Iceman was an X Man who hung out with Spider-Man in the cartoons.

Silver Surfer is different, as he made a deal with the planet eater Galatucs to find other worlds for him to eat if he spared his own planet, Zenn-La. So Galatcus gave him cosmic powers and a rad board.

Fro(Where's my super suit)zone is more Iceman

Shane said...

What? Spiderman hung out with an X-man? That's comic incest or something!

Silver Surfer is a Fantastic Four, right? There was a movie...

cory said...

Yep...16 is too low and you do need to change it. I have now seen this probably 20 times, and it never gets old. As an example to you and for what you should do, I am raising my grade to a 20 for this brilliant and flawless film.

Shane said...

Took some very serious time to reflect and reconsider and have decided to leave my rating as it is. Looking forward to the sequel.