Incredibles, The (USA; 115 min.)

directed by: Brad Bird
starring: Craig T. Nelson; Holly Hunter; Samuel Jackson
The Incredibles
Tom says: "I am a big fan of both Pixar and Brad Bird's feature-film debut (and what I
consider to be America's best animated film) THE IRON GIANT, so I was as excited as could be when I heard Pixar tapped Brad Bird to write and direct their next film, The Incredible. I was a bit worried that my anticipation would lead to a big let-down, but The Incredible exceeded my highest expectations.

"Without giving too much of the story away, the movie starts as the twilight of the super heroes begins, kind of a Watchmen, jr, as the public turns against them and they are forced into retirement. Two super heroes (Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible) marry and have three children (two with superpowers) and live a mundane life in the burbs of the fifties. As you would expect from a movie like this, it doesn't last long, but the way the
story unfolds is both familiar to those of us who grew up on hero comics yet wholly original. A great balance. What follows is a great action movie with character depth you'd expect from any Pixar movie.

"Despite being a Pixar movie, Brad Bird's style shone through. His characters looked very similar to the designs in THE IRON GIANT, while his fondness for fifties design and music is also prevalent (no pop songs here. Michael Giacchino, who has composed music for the game series Medal of Honor, composes an excellent mix of jazz and bossanova reminiscent of the times). And he has no problem wearing his influences on his sleeve. The superpowers of the hero family echo those of the Fantastic Four. Do the
shape and movements of the characters remind you of the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials such as Rudolph? Gosh, the villain bears quite the resemblance to the Heat Miser. frank Thomas and OIlie (?) Johnson, two of the animators from Disney's classic era, make a cameo near the end.

"And how far has Pixar come since they first dropped my jaw at the Spike and Mike festival back in 1988. I always have to see Pixar movies at least twice, once to watch for the story and once to watch absorb the technology and details. I really tried not to let my eye wander in the first viewing and pay attention to the main action, but the fact that I found these cartoony actors more believable than the ultra-real characters in the FINAL FANTASY movie. I know they got hair down in MONSTERS INC., but good lord!
Two years later and they're still surpassing the bar they set.

"Put THE INCREDIBLES high on your must-see list."

Janet says: "I'm not a fan of superheroes, action stories, or adventure movies, but I enjoyed this Pixar tale for its strong character development, which comes through in both the writing and the visuals. The character of Bob Parr is especially well conceived, as he tries to confine his superhero bulk to a stingy, gray insurance company cubicle with only a blue Hi-Liter for color. (Chlotrudis icon Wally Shawn does the voice of Parr's hectoring boss.) The story is aimed at the middle-class family, with something for every member to relate to, but the real scene-stealer is flamboyant costume designer Edna
Mode, a cross between an Edith Head/Diana Vreeland type and Chris Kattan's character Mango on Saturday Night Live. I tried to identify her accent and figure out what famous actor could be voicing this character---it turns out to be the director, Brad Bird, using a combined German/Japanese accent. Clearly a labor of love. I was less impressed with the villain, Syndrome, whose appearance and dialogue lack a really timeless quality. The renderings of teenage daughter Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell) and femme fatale Mirage clearly owe a lot to Tim Burton. All in all, if you like Pixar movies or superhero flicks, you'll have a great time."
Diane says: "Coincidentally, I saw this yesterday too. First off, it's no GOODBYE DRAGON INN I was pretty much uninterested in the action plot, but the concept of superheores struggling with normal lives is great and was carried through perfectly. Loved the anexoric teen, the timeworn arguments between mother and father over care of the kids and driving directions.

"Can animation be _too_ good? I was amazed by the hair in this movie. Saw that 'hair and cloth simulation' had a lot of special credits. Well worth it, esp. for Edith Head (as I like to call her) who was my favorite character, too. Recommended."

Michael says: "As a fan of superhero comics (and a long-time reader of The Fantastic Four, upon whom the Incredible Family are loosely based) how could I not love THE INCREDIBLES? I don’t have too much to add to the things people have already commented on. The movie is a lot of fun, remarkably well-written, filled with humor, and all the things we comic book geeks love. Director Brad Bird, who did the woefully underseen, but beloved-by-Chlotrudis, THE IRON GIANT (nominated for a Chlotrudis Best Movie) presents a masterful telling of the super hero genre merged with such themes as family and the importance of being who you are, while keeping the humor-level high.

"I’m with Diane regarding superhero costume designer Edna Mode. She had me in stitches almost continually. Did you notice that she was voiced by the director? Holly Hunter was also wonderful as Elasti-Girl, and I too was surprised at how well Sarah Vowell worked for daughter Violet.

"See it. You’ll enjoy it. 4 cats"

Howard says: "I thought I'd throw a few thoughts about this fine film. I apologize
upfront if I repeat anything not being able to read all the posts between 3 jobs and running an improv troupe. Although I did find time to see THE INCREDIBLES four times. (I saw it a month and then a week before it opened and then twice with friends).

"As a big fan of Brad Bird's THE IRON GIANT, I had high expectations and was not let down.

"For me, the movie was incredibly (pun intended) adult. The film is about mid-life crisis. Not normal fodder for animated film unless you're watching anime. And being Pixar first PG film, it was far more intense than expect. I think the scene in the jet with the mom and the two kids on board plus having dad watching the villian push the button to launch missiles was the most heart-pounded scene of anything I've seen in 2004. It was beautifully edited.

"If THE IRON GIANT is Bird's 50s film, then The Incredibles is definitely his 60s. 4 Cats"