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The Incredibles



The Incredibles
Year: 2004
Director: Brad Bird

First The Iron Giant, and then this? Brad Bird is a living genius, right up there with Miyazaki and Andrew Stanton as one of the greatest animators ever. I mean, this guy did Ratatouille as well! He doesn't make bad movies. And The Incredibles is definitely a good movie, a really good movie. The thing about The Incredibles is that it feels like a film that's written for adults with kids as a second thought. That's Pixar's main "thing" (started with Toy Story, still going strong with films like Up and Ratatouille), and The Incredibles is probably the prime example of an adult film for children.

Maybe that's why I'm appreciating it more and more as I grow older. When I was younger I loved the cool action sequences (that opening scene - it's like the opening of an Indiana Jones movie in terms of excitement), and I loved the powers and technology of everyone. It was just a blast to watch, and I'm sure it's a blast for almost everyone to watch. But when you get older you notice the subtleties of this film, the deep human truths that lie beneath the surface. The Incredibles is a fast, fun, and action-packed ride that's also hilarious. But it's also deeply profound.

The superheros have failed, apparently, in this alternate version of the '50s. Oh wait, before I even go into more of that, I love the setting! It could have worked in modern day, too, but Brad Bird set it in the 50s or 60s and it makes it great. We get this old-timey feel, with no overused technology (well, at least in normal life, not speaking of Syndrome) and great looking old cars. I mean, the whole vibe of this movie is just great. It kind of reminds of Wall-E's vibe in the beginning, the usage of post-apocalyptic visuals paired with old music.

Anyways... oh yeah. The superheros have failed, apparently. No one wants them to be heroes anymore. After the opening scene, we get a shocking montage of lawsuits, newspaper clippings, and much more, that lead to the outcome that superheroes no longer exist. This will set us up for the themes and layers of the story that is to come, and it's done beautifully.

This is one of the longest Pixar movies, at about two hours, but it feels like the time flies by. We get a rather complex story - several possible protagonists - and interesting places and things to look at. The first half I think is better, as it is almost a slice of life film. Bob's scenes in his insurance company are gold, and every scene with the family is done to perfection. Gosh, that family fight scene, that's one of the best things Pixar has ever done!

Bob's arguments with Helen I bet even made some parents uncomfortable watching it with their kids. It's bitingly accurate at times, specifically when Bob comes home and they get into a shouting match. And that brings me back around to the screenplay. The screenplay is one of the things that makes this by and far the best superhero movie ever made. The issue with a lot of Marvel/DC movies is that they rely too much on visual effects and action, and they get away with a lousy and boring screenplay. That's why the most famous quotes from these movies are things like "Avengers assemble," and "I am Iron Man." Great quotes there. What The Incredibles does differently is that it has quotable and interesting dialogue, some of it can be chilling with its power as well. Take for instance a series of quotes during an argument between Helen and her son Dash. Helen says, "Everyone is special, Dash." His response? "That's just another way of saying no one is." Basically The Incredibles is saying that true talent should be recognized, and that covering up your abilities is just not helpful to you or anyone else.

There are so many other great quotes. Mirage: "If you want to bet on something, bet your own life!" Yeesh. "Honey, where's my super suit?!" Classic Samuel L. Jackson. Anyways, I haven't said half of the things I want to say about this masterpiece, but if you somehow haven't watched The Incredibles by now, watch it. Now. Do it.