on February 28, 2005
The genre of family-oriented computer animated feature film, invented and pioneered by Pixar Animation Studios, has seen a great decline in the past couple of years. Now, every other movie studio churns out another one in hopes of being the next Toy Story or Finding Nemo. In this reviewer's opinion, the formula has gotten incredibly stale. It's the same thing over and over again - Lots of humor and silliness for the kids, with some clever pop-culture references for adults, lots of talking inanimate objects voiced by recognizable and popular celebrities, a song by a bankable pop star. Wrap it all up in a bright, shiny package and advertise it on Nickelodeon and network TV and you've got a recipe for success. This formula has now been repeated ad nauseam by the movie studios yet parents, in lieu of more intelligent and creative children's entertainment, snatch it up. Just look at the crop of upcoming CG family movies slated for 2005. There are at least four, maybe five.
However, if there is anything that you can depend on in the dreary world of computer animated movies, it is the name Pixar. Those five letters are quite simply synonymous with quality. They started the genre and still no one does it better. From Toy Story to Monsters, Inc. to Finding Nemo, Pixar has consistently produced astonishingly high quality films in both entertainment and artistic value. Pixar's latest, The Incredibles was written and directed by Brad Bird who gave us the wonderful 1999 film The Iron Giant. It is yet another staggering success for Pixar Animation Studios.
The Incredibles is not just another fine computer animated movie, it completely reinvents and transcends its tired genre. The film boasts extremely sharp writing and plotting (rewarded with a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination), excellent voice acting, extraordinary conceptual design and, most importantly, the audacity to break from the mold and do something different. This is first hinted at by the film's rating; The Incredibles is Pixar's first PG-rated movie. It is not just an assortment of jokes and pop-culture references, it is a fully-realized story focusing on human (sort of) characters and the struggle of living in a society that you don't fit in with. There are no talking fish, no talking bugs, no talking toys. It's a real movie with real heart told with extraordinary skill and style. It was well-deserving of its Best Animated Feature Academy Award, however the fact that its only competition was Shrek 2 and Shark Tale diminishes that achievement. Yes, it's also an incredibly fun story about superheroes with lots of stunts, action, giant robots, superpowers and an evil villain. I found it to be one of the most satisfying, and best, movies of 2004.
Don't be deterred by the fact that it's computer animated and that it's from the makers of Finding Nemo. You don't have to be a child or a parent (I myself am neither) to love this film. It's a great movie that anyone can love and appreciate.
As a parent of two kids I have had to sit through some awful films; "Home on the Range" anyone? So I was excited to see previews for "The Incredibles", it looked like the perfect family movie, something I could enjoy and the kids could as well. "The Incredibles" lives up to the hype. Both of my kids couldn't stop talking about it and want to go again...even (gasp!) choosing to see this again over Spongebob when it comes out! The story is a lot of fun, and it's funny, how now, as a 30+ year old cubicle dweller, I can relate to Mr. Incredible and his longing for past glories. Pixar's animation is, as always, a real treat. It's amazing how Pixar's characters just come to life, and express more emotional range than a gaggle full of Keanu Reeves. And though "The Incredibles" is rated PG, there is nothing in the film that should keep you from taking your kids. This really is a great family film, and one that adults will be able to enjoy as much as the kids.
on November 5, 2004
Did you ever read comic books as a kid? Did you ever wish you had super powers? If you answered yes drop everything and go see this movie now. I have been increasingly blown away by the quality filmmaking Pixar has brought to cinemas over the past decade, but The Incredibles marks the first time I've been overwhelmed. Everything you've ever loved about superheroes is addressed in this film, from secret identities to the danger of wearing a cape. Add to the mix an amazingly complex family drama and you have the absolute best film of the year.
Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), once the super hero of the year is now relegated to a cubicle in an insurance company, still trying to save the day (quietly) one claim at a time. His wife, Helen, a.k.a Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) has also turned in her spandex, using her special powers to juggle the task of raising three kids instead of wrangling villains. Their son, Dash, wants nothing more than to use his super speed to propel him to athletic glory. Violet, who has the ability to turn invisible and enclose her self within a forcefield broods like any normal teenager. The baby, Jack Jack doesn't seem to have any super powers at all, unless you include making funny faces in a high chair.
All of this is due to a Super Hero relocation program enacted by the government after public outcry over property damage and personal injury( a very sharp and poignant jab at our own litigious nature). Forced to hide greatness behind a shroud of mediocrity the Incredible family do their best to blend in with normal society, and for the most part succeed.
Of course events unfold to bring all of the Incredibles super powers to light, and for this to occur you need to introduce the mad genius villain, Syndrome (Jason Lee). Parents, here's where the PG rating comes from, because this is one really, really bad guy. A former superhero fan with an enormous chip on his shoulder Syndrome is like every James Bond baddie rolled into one. His gadgets are unique, insanely cool, and above all extremely deadly. Some dark thematic elements and violence cemented the MPAA's decision to slap Pixar with its first above G rating. However, this movie could not have been done properly without giving the audience such a nefarious nemesis to loathe.
In costume and out you will constantly root for the Incredibles, this movie is what going to the theater is all about, non-stop entertainment. The action sequences are positively synapse blowing. The script is Oscar worthy in its ability to seamlessly weave domestic drama and comic book daring-do. Of course the animation has to be seen to be believed, and your eyes will bulge for the film's duration.
I can't imagine this film not being successful but I hope it destroys box office records and mends the wound that has Pixar and Disney going their separate ways. Because if ever there was a film that demanded a sequel it is The Incredibles. An animation masterpiece!
In 2004, Pixar Animated Studios would go on to unfamiliar territory and that is creating a film not based on animals or insects but to create an animated film featuring humans.
With the first five animated films from Pixar Animation Studios/Walt Disney having great financial success, needless to say, there was a lot of challenges and stress that the crew had to face this time around and to spearhead the project was Brad Bird, the writer and director who has worked on "The Simpsons" and "The Iron Giant" (and would go on to direct the Pixar animated film, "Ratatouille".
Needless to say, "The Incredibles", which was budgeted at $92 million became a box office success, earning over $631 million worldwide, receiving nearly positive reviews from all critics and winning two Oscars for "Best Achievement in Sound Editing" and "Best Animated Feature Film of the Year".
And now this successful animated film receives its HD treatment with a new Blu-ray release in April 2011 featuring new special features.
"The Incredibles" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1). First, let me first say that even though this animated film was released back in 2004 and within the improvement of computer animation in the last six years, the film still manages to hold up very well! In fact, this is probably the best video version to date as the Blu-ray really shows off the vibrant colors of the film.
Hair strands are much more notable, but also the detail of the fabric of the clothing is also much more present and detailed that you can see the actual stitching. Blacks are inky and deep and the special effects absolutely look awesome. And while I didn't see any compression artifacts or any major defects on the picture quality, I did notice very little banding. In one scene, where Mr. Incredible shows off his new red costume, you can see a little banding but really, this is the best I have seen of "The Incredibles" by far. From the debris, to the presentation of the city and jungle landscape, this film looks awesome on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"The Incredibles" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 DVS, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. And if there was one thing that really shined for this film on Blu-ray, it was the lossless soundtrack as not only was dialogue crisp but every sound and boom, you can feel it via LFE. I love action films that know how to use the LFE and really make you fel it and in this case, "The Incredibles" delivers! Also, the surround channels are well-utilized as you can hear various ambiance from surrounding objects to little rustling that can be heard as well. Literally, the lossless soundtrack delivers in immersive sound that really gives you a feeling of the action that is taking place! Awesome!
After watching "The Incredibles" so many times on DVD, the soundtrack, while very good, never made me take notice as it did with it listening to it on Blu-ray. Not only was this lossless soundtrack magnificent, it definitely make a big difference during my viewing and enhanced my love for the film. Audiophiles will love the lossless soundtrack!
As for subtitles, they are in English, French and Spanish.
"The Incredibles" comes with the following special features:
* Director's Commentary - Featuring audio commentary by producer John Walker and director Brad Bird. Both go in-depth on the characters, the action, the performance, their powers, animation and more.
* Animator's Commentary - Featuring audio commentary by supervising animators Tony Fucile, Steven Hunter, Alan Barillaro and animators Gini Santos, David DeVan, Kureha Yokoo, Dave Mullins John Kahrs, Robert Russ, Angus MacLane, Travis Hathaway, Doug Frankel and Peter Sohm. Both commentaries are split but definitely worth listening to if you are wanting a career in the industry.
* Boundin' Commentary - Featuring director Bud Luckey's commentary for the short. This feature has optional commentary.
* Jack Jack Attack - (4:42) A new animated short of what took place when the baby sitter was watching over Jack Jack.
* Jack Jack Attack Explored - (4:43) Featuring commentary by director Brad Bird, story supervisor Mark Andrews and character designer Teddy Newton and animator Bret Parker on the making of this short.
* The Incredibles Reunited - (22:06) Director Brad Bird, producer John Walker, supervising technical director Rick Sage, character designer Teddy Newton, supervising animator Tony Fucile, production designer Lou Romano, story supervisor Mark Andrews talk about the challenges the film faced during planning and production, the original ideas, making things credible, the relationships of the characters, using humans in a Pixar film, storyboarding, a staff with energy depleted, impressions of how they feel about the film today and more.
* Elle's Anthem - (7:15) Composer Rolfe Kent talks about the 91-piece orchestra and recording the music for the film.
* Paths to Pixar - (5:53) - A featurette about the story artists, storyboarding for "The Incredibles", the importance of storyboarding, the pitch and getting your food into the door.
* Studio Stories: Gary's Birthday - (1:25) A story how a party for the group ended up with the group receiving a cake that said "Happy Birthday Gary".
* Ending with a Bang: Making the End Credits - (1:35) A featurette about the 2D expression of the 3D of the film ala '60s illustrations used for the ending credits and the making of them.
* The New Nomanison: A Top Secret Redevelopment Plan - An interactive map of the New Nomanison island. Featuring an introduction (3:30).
* Deleted Scenes in HD - (33 minutes) A total of seven deleted scenes presented in HD.
* Incredibles Teaser in HD - (2:01) The original theatrical trailer for "The Incredibles" presented in HD.
* The Making of the Incredibles - (27:30) The original making-of featurette of "The Incredibles".
* Classic DVD Content - The following are content that appeared on the original "The Incredibles" DVD such as Story (7:15), Character Design (5:30), Evolution (2:45), Building Humans (6:17) and Building Extras (2:00).
* Easter Eggs - Featuring the original easter eggs from the DVD release of "The Incredibles" including Incredible Socks (3:33), Dancing Bob (:30), Cake (:30), Buttons and Doors (2:30), H3A Classroom, Angus' Guards, Incrediblunders, Frank & Ollie,Ball & Scooter and Markisms.
* Publicity - Character Interviews (6:30) and Trailers (featuring theatrical and TV trailers).
"The Incredibles" comes with a slip-over cover case. A DVD is included and is presented in 2:39:1 - Enhanced for 16×9 televisions, English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, subtitles in English SDH, French and Spanish. Also, included is a digital copy of the feature film which works with iTunes and Windows Media Player.
Pixar is known for creating a good number of wonderful films but I have to admit that "The Incredibles" has continued to become one of my favorites and probably is the only Pixar animated film that I have watch possibly over a dozen times and have not gotten tired of it.
I remember when I first watched the film, I was just amazed not just by the animation and design but also the storyline and the relationship between Bob and Helen and just grown-up things that happen in the film that probably would fly over the head of children but make the adults smile.
And I'm sure that many people own this film on DVD, it's whether or not you want to upgrade to the Blu-ray version. And the answer to that is YES! You do want to upgrade as it is not only jsut a better video and audio transfer but you also have new special features featuring the crew of "The Incredibles" really giving us fantastic insight of what went on behind-the-scenes in the creation of this film.
We hear about the challenges and the long hours it takes to create an animated film but in the case of "The Incredibles", I never knew that a higher-up at Disney opposed the film, I never knew about the intense feelings the crew had and how morale was low at one point because of communication issues. There was a lot of things that happened during the making of this film and you start to realize how much of a challenge these individuals, these departments at Pixar had to face when creating this film. Definitely it was not easy but at the end of the day, the entire crew delivered another Pixar hit!
Not only was it well-received, not only did it make a lot of money but it was a film that managed to hook in both young and old. And it's important to note that at the time when Pixar Animation Studios had films based on toys, insects, animals, etc., to have an all-human based storyline that was well-planned, well-written and well-executed made "The Incredibles" so entertaining and fun!
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine wrote that "The Incredibles" was #6 on his list of the best films of the decade and to tell you the truth, when I think about films that I have watched more than 3-5 times in the last decade, there are not many. "The Incredibles", I have probably watched about a dozen times or even more than that. There are not many films that deal with many realistic issues that couples face and yet putting a superhero/sci-fi twist to it, "The Incredibles" is an exciting film that will continue to entertain generations to come.
"The Incredibles: 4-Disc Combo Pack" is an excellent release. A first Blu-ray disc with the movie and new special features, a second Blu-ray with new and all the classic DVD special features, a DVD and also a digital copy of the film. This is truly a magnificent release from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and fans should be happy with this release, especially with how awesome this film looks on Blu-ray and its wonderful lossless soundtrack.
on February 28, 2005
I have been and shall remain a lifelong fan not only of movies, but of comic books, heroes, etcetera. The delightful and refreshing The Incredibles blends both together for me - heroes and movies.
I'll be honest - in the past (with the exception of the first 2 Toy Story movies), when a trailer for a Pixar film was released, I was less than enthused. I have, however, seen every Pixar film and loved them all. The trailers never looked appealing to me until the Incredibles. Shrek, Shark Tale, Ice Age - they've got zip on Pixar!
Getting back to my review of this film, all I can say is The Incredibles is a winner on all levels. Animation is top notch (increasingly better with each film), voice acting (and the casting selection) is superb, cinematography (even though it's digital) is exceptional, and the score (especially with The Incredibles) is a perfect fit.
The premise is a fitting portrait of today's world. All the super heroes go into hiding and melt away into 'normal life' because of lawsuits pop up from individuals who didn't want to be saved, therefore causing a public superhero backlash. Naturally, it doesn't take long for heroes to re-emerge and once again save the day from terrible peril while being hoisted back into the public spotlight...that's enough premise/plot...just sit back and delight in the masterfully crafted film by Brad Bird (The Iron Giant) known as The Incredibles.
Whether you're an adult, child, or man-child, this movie will take you in and make you forget you're watching a movie. The visuals and story is captivating and well written. After just having suffered through about 1/3 of the 77th Annual Oscars (many thanks to the creators of TiVo), the highlight of the night for me was The Incredibles winning Best Animated Feature of 2004 (and Clint Eastwood winning Best Director and Best Picture for Million Dollar Baby). I was so worried that the vacuous Hollywood types were going to give the BAF Oscar to the vapid Shrek 2. Thank God the voting members have some sense!
If you like quality films, purchase this DVD now and don't look back. Enjoy!
I was completely unprepared to like this computer-animated film. A smart, witty script, excellent animation by Pixar, and the talented voices of Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson, and filmmaker Brad Bird have combined to create a winner that both kids and adults will appreciate, albeit on different levels. Mr. Incredible (Nelson) loves saving the world, even though he likens it to cleaning a room only to turn around and find it messy again. His soon-to-be wife Elastigirl (Hunter) is just as tough in her pursuit of justice, and often comes to her beloved's rescue. The city is full of super heroes who do the work of police and who receive thunderous applause after their life-saving exploits. Unfortunately for the super heroes, their glory days fade in a hail of lawsuits (people don't want to be saved and others use their injuries while in peril against the super heroes), and so all those with superpowers must enter normal life in a kind of witness-protection program. The Incredibles, now with three children, face a mundane life as Bob/Mr. Incredible supports the family with an insurance adjuster job, and Helen/Elastigirl struggles to stop sibling squabbles. Helen and Bob have become archetypal suburban parents, arguing about the kids and chores. Bob and his friend Frozone (Jackson) long for the good old days when they felt like real men. When Bob blows his cover, he is recruited by the mysterious Mirage (Elizabeth Pena) for some top secret superhero work. Of course, Helen knows nothing about it--she's too busy dealing with baby Jack Jack, risk-taking Dash, and reclusive teenager Violet. Predictably, Bob gets into trouble, and Helen has no choice but to don her old costume. Fashion designer Edna (Bird) gives the Incredibles both the push and the pizzazz they need to reclaim their rightful spots as superheroes.
The strength of this movie is the action-packed plot coupled with witty satire about contemporary American life. Like all aging suburbanites, the Incredibles have developed beer guts (Bob) and wide hips (Helen). They argue about issues that couples argue about everywhere, from financial concerns to not taking asked-for advice to ignoring the needs of the other. The young Helen is a feminist who refuses to leave saving the world "to the men," but she becomes a stay-at-home mom who shuttles the kids to and from school, cooks family dinners, and finds herself responsible for almost all of the kids' upbringing. The young Bob revels in his prowess, but in middle age he is beaten down by bureaucracy and a junky car. Small details, such as the "graduation" between fourth and fifth grade and the way lawsuits twist the truth, make these otherwise extraordinary people ordinary.
This sharp-witted adventure movie will delight both kids and adults. The hilarious extra "Jack Jack Attack" should not be missed, especially since it fills in some details referred to in the movie itself. Buy or rent this movie - and prepare yourself for some real entertainment.
on November 9, 2004
I just came back from seeing `The Incredibles' and must say that it is one of the best movies that I have watched this year! The people at Pixar have succeeded again in making a unique movie that is entertaining for both kids as well as adults.
Director Brad Bird (who also directed WB's `The Iron Giant' which is another amazing movie!) tells us the story of Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible), a superhero who is forced to give up using his powers and live a boring ordinary life (after litigations are made for any superhero from using his/her powers in public). However, things change when he gets a mysterious call from a secret agency requesting his help to sabotage a machine that has gone insane. Little does he realize that the person, who he is working for, is his worst enemy, and soon gets into trouble for it, for which his family (who also has unique super powers) has to come to save him. Will they succeed in destroying their nemesis? Will they be accepted as superheroes again?
Combining various elements of various superheroes like The Fantastic Four and X-Men, this amusing story provides us with adventure (an immediate scene that comes to mind is when Dash and Violet try to save themselves in the jungle), comedy (the character of Edna Mode was hilarious!), suspense and a moral, which is basically what everyone looks for in a good movie. The special effects and CGI for this movie is amazing. I couldn't believe that some scenes were actually computer animated because they seemed so real! Hey, the CGI is not enough though; the voices provided for the characters, from a talented cast such as Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Jason Lee and Samuel L. Jackson, are, forgive my pun, `incredible' and make they characters really believable!
All in all, this movie has a little of something for everyone, and is worth watching at least once!
on November 13, 2004
If I could sum up Pixar's latest offering in one word it would be, Incredible.
The film is a marriage made in heaven as most people would agree that Pixar animation films rock because of the animation. Most kids (and kids at heart) also mark out big time for superheroes movies and cartoons SO a Pixar animated Super Hero flick = $$$,$$$.$$
The movie opens up almost like a scene out of the Batman or Spider-Man or Superman cartoons with Mr. Incredible out and about saving the day.
From there the film takes a humorous twist with all super-heroes being banned from practicing their trade due to lawsuits (ah yes, only in the 21st Century can you SUE a super-hero for saving lives) and we fast forward to see the super-heroes fat and out of shape and bored.
We also see that our two main characters Mr. Incredible and Elasti-Girl are now married with three mutant kids of their own.
Mr. Incredible is tricked back into action by two old conniving rivals with a dastardly plot to destroy him and all the former superheroes. When all looks bleak with Mr. Incredible sidelined it takes the combined power of the Incredibles family to save him.
THE COOL THINGS:
I TOTALLY dug the vibe throughout the movie. With the initial Batman vibe as Mr. Incredible makes his way throughout town saving lives and helping people and the later "Fantastic Four" and "Bionic Six" vibe the movie TOTALLY rocked my world.
The plot villain is masterfully inserted into the film with a legitimate grudge against our hero and is brilliantly weaved in and out of the film. Awesome writing, character development and continuity from the Pixar gang. Plus, he's actually a cool (if geeky/dorky) villain.
Seeing the kids come out of their shells and display and use their cool powers was awesome. Pixar's animation gets better and better and most of all the movie's ending seems to leave open the possibilities for a SEQUEL.
Hey, if you dig Pixar animation or Super-Hero flicks or toons, you KNOW you'll see this one.
on March 22, 2005
This was an impressive film. I have not had the best of luck with PIXAR films lately. I didn't really see the creativity in Monsters, Inc and Finding Nemo literally gave me the sweats when I watched it, so there was some hesitancy to see what PIXAR could do to topple their past mega-hits. Well, what they crafted was something so out of left field that even I, the movie kinda guy, never saw it coming. They made a very witty, intelligently clever, powerfully smart adult cartoon. While there were elements throughout the film that I felt children would enjoy, I did feel as if 92% of this film was invested with the intelligent adult in mind. There is great respect paid to the superheroes of my father's generation as well as a specific intent to downplay the "cute" element and keep us glued to our seats with action, suspense, and some of the most ingenious animation to be seen this side of the Mississippi.
From beginning to end, this film reeked perfection in a way that other films only aspire to smell like. It not only gave us this huge pre-story about what was happening in the world of superheroes (a concept that seemed taboo in the past), but it also gave us this enormous family dynamic that allowed each character to be built from the floor up. Each of our characters has their own dilemma, their own style, and their own hurdles that they need to cross, and Brad Bird gives them each their moment to shine. While he does focus heavily on our "head of family" Mr. Incredible, he gives so much attention to detailing the rest of the characters and scenes that you never feel this uneven balance. This is a story about family, about realizing that you are "super", and that powers are not needed to realize this. These are huge issues to cover in a animated film, but Bird succeeds in these three ways:
First, he gives the film the time that it deserves. This is not some mere 89 minute film that never develops anything, never takes a chance, nor allows our characters to shine, but instead a very hefty 121 minutes of sheer pleasure. This is also why I think Bird had adults in mind while creating this visual feast, I know of very few children's films that are that extensive, normally you loose the child too quickly, but perhaps Bird wasn't aiming towards that audience. At least, that is what I witnessed.
Second, Bird gives us this huge world that is not surrounded by animated boundaries. We do not stay in just one city, we do not loiter around the superhero's house all day, and we do not get pulled into normal animated clichés like the man saves the day and gets himself that woman he has always wanted. The Incredibles went in a completely new, fresh, and somewhat tangent direction that gave it the power to grow before our eyes. That is what I completely enjoyed about this film was the fact that I could not forsee the future, meaning that there were no building clichés that gave me a direct path to the end. I had to guess, consider all possibilities, and reason with new ones that were unfolding before me. It was an adventure, not just a simple piece of cinema.
Third, and this is huge, was the main worry that I had with this film was the possible "baby" moments. I was so worried that we would find ourselves wasting time watching, listening, or gasp laughing at the "cute" baby factor. I thought that this was a path that Bird was going to travel towards, and would have ultimately caused this review to be a bit more tilted. But, this wasn't a film for a child was it? So, Bird left out most of the scenes dealing with the child and thus forced us to see the adults dealing with very mature themes and scenarios. This factor was huge in indicating that perhaps Bird had a separate audience in mind.
Overall, this was an amazing film to watch, experience, and enjoy. The bold use of colors complimented the sensation of the characters that carried with them similar attributes. Brad Bird skillfully crafted this film that had every possibility of being clichéd and overbearingly geared towards children, but instead he took a higher road and gave us this film that will last the test of time due greatly in part to giving us, the adults in the world, an opportunity to indulge and enjoy the power of animated cinema. In every attempt not to sound redundant, this film was "incredible". The characters were beautiful, the story was solid, and the powerful voice acting allowed this film to rank among the top of my PIXAR favorites. I highly recommend this film to anyone that is an avid superhero fan or simply is looking for an adventurous ride into the future of our movie business. WOW. That is all I can say ... "WOW".
Grade: ***** out of *****
on March 1, 2005
When Toy Story was released, I lived overseas and missed much of the initial hoopla over the new class of animated films that Disney was releasing. It was only after I was dragged to see Toy Story 2 did I see the light and agreed that Pixar was the true innovators of animated film. With each new release, I went in with doubts that it could never top the previous film, only to leave with such adoration for their latest work of genius.
This adoration is a double-edge, however, as I never believe the next film fits the mold. When I heard of the concept for The Incredibles, I was dubious that it would capture my imagination the same way Monsters Inc, or Finding Nemo would. Of course, my fears were unfounded as this film is genius and is perhaps my favorite of the entire Pixar catalog.
What makes Pixar films so different? How do they manage to do it? Why would I leap over wheelchair-bound nuns in order to buy a ticket for The Incredibles when you wouldn't catch me dead watching Shark Tale or Shrek 2?
Pixar films excel because they're storytellers first, animators second.
The stories in Pixar films are contained, but limitless in their appeal. Shrek has to rely on pop culture references within a fairy tale, which is either pandering or just lame. In film and television, there's the concept of the "fourth wall" which is the viewer. Pixar never destroys the fourth wall by breaking character or tone, while other animated films feel too self-congratulatory or self-aware for their own good.
Pixar doesn't cast their voices based on celebrity star power, but rather on talent that conveys the range of emotions their stories require. DreamWorks' films feel like they're cast solely on how many millions the combined cast has brought into their coffers. Do you ever notice that except for the Toy Story films, they don't list the cast on posters or opening credits? The actors are important, but not more than the story. Shark Tale hits you over the head with so many "stars" that it has to show them in ads to convince people to see the film. There is a difference between acting and just reading lines.
The story draws you in, makes you engage with the film and truly brings magic back to cinema screens. The detail is crucial, but not at the cost of the narrative.
Oh, and the part about animation being second? That doesn't mean that this film ignores that aspect of the movie. This film is fluid, but tight; relaxed, but not sloppy. You forget after a while that this is animation, which is as high a compliment as animated films deserve.
The Incredibles is a film that is lush with colors, swells with emotion, and scored with the right touch of relaxed swing to convey the era when superheroes captured the dreams of a generation. As a film, it puts regular features to shame with all of the elements of classic movie-making. Truly worthy of the Oscar presented to Brad Bird two nights ago, this film perfectly encapsulates why Pixar is the leader in the animated film industry.