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THE INCREDIBLES (PG) (2004)

Walt Disney Pictures

Official Site

Director: Brad Bird

Producer: John Walker

Written by: Brad Bird

Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Jason Lee, Spencer Fox, Sarah Vowell, Elizabeth Peña, Brad Bird

Rating:


The wonderful people at Pixar have done it again. The Incredibles is a delightful film that succeeds in creating a humorous superhero story told in 3-D animation. I had high expectations of this movie, which were met but not exceeded. Then again, I was expecting quite a lot.

The movie is the first Pixar film to garner a PG rating due to “action violence,” referring to the mandatory fight scenes that every superhero should have with his arch nemesis. Overall, The Incredibles targets a slightly older audience than any of the previous Pixar films with its sense of humor, although it’s not nearly as adult as DreamWorks’ Shrek, also rated PG.

This summer’s superhero movie Spiderman 2 followed Peter Parker’s desire to live a life of normalcy because he felt that the pressure and responsibilities of being Spiderman were too great. It’s the opposite for Mr. Incredible (Nelson), who thinks back fondly on his glory days of saving kittens from trees and working with local cops to catch the bad guys. However, ever since the public began 15 years ago to sue superheroes for the damages they caused, it hasn’t been profitable or popular to continue being a superhero.

Mr. Incredible lives now as his alter-ego Bob Parr, whose day job is not saving the world but meeting with clients in his cubicle office to discuss their insurance policies. At home, wife and former Elastigirl Helen (Hunter) takes care of the kids Violet (Vowell), Dash (Fox), and baby Jack-Jack. Violet and Dash have their own superpowers as well, which make everything from attending school to sibling arguments different from the average family. In fact, theirs is a family desperately trying to fit in by suppressing who they really are, and as a result no one is truly happy. Bob misses his past life so much that he secretly meets with old buddy Lucius (Jackson) to pretend they are Mr. Incredible and Frozone once again.

Everything changes when Bob receives a mysterious package from the beautiful, mysterious, and insanely thin Mirage (Peña) who calls him on a secret mission that only Mr. Incredible is capable of. Soon he jets off to a volcanic island filled to the brim with rockets and gadgets that even the Death Star would look on with envy. The advantage of animation is that there are no limits except those of the mind, and the illustrators go wild creating such things as a volcanic lava wall and exotic bird surveillance cameras. Before long, Mr. Incredible finds himself in trouble and it’s up to his family to polish up their rusty and underdeveloped powers to save Dad.

The adventure story is entertaining for both adults and children, and the comedy and visual gags are plentiful and funny. Morals of good and evil shine through the plot but never overpower. There is even room for some romance. My only complaint is that the scenery lacks the awe-inspiring beauty of Finding Nemo’s ocean world, but the island scenes serve their purpose well enough.

Shown before the feature film is a Pixar short, Boundin’, a musical number about a lamb with beautiful wool.

—Kelly Hsu

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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