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Michelle Thomas

Published November 19th, 2004 | by Michelle Thomas

The Incredibles Review

Pixar. How do they do it? From the studio that bought you Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc and Finding Nemo comes another blooming masterpiece. You wonder if they get ever bored of perfection. Imagine the Monday morning meeting: guys, how about making a crap film, just to keep everyone on their toes? Once again Pixar’s team of geniuses have harnessed technological innovation in the service of damn good storytelling. Watch it and weep, Jeffrey Katzenburg…

Once one of the world’s top superheroes, Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) fought evil and saved lives on a daily basis. But fifteen years later, due to government cutbacks and pending lawsuits, he and his wife Helen (Holly Hunter) – the former Elastigirl – have moved to the suburbs where they live as ordinary mortals. Of their three children, only baby Jack Jack has yet to reveal his powers, while Violet and Dash struggle to appear ‘normal’ and fit in at school.

As Bob Parr, clock-punching insurance agent, Mr Incredible gets to fight nothing more exciting than boredom and a bulging waistline, and lives for Wednesday night ‘bowling’ with his old buddy Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson). (They like to sit in Frozone’s car listening to the police scanner, longing for their glory days.) Itching for action, Bob is thrilled – and helpless to resist – when a mysterious communication summons him to a remote island for a top-secret assignment.

I don’t want to say any more about the plot, but Pixar have done it again! Director Brad Bird, legendary in animation circles from his work on The Simpsons and The Iron Giant, has pushed his creative team to new and giddy heights, producing a film that not only looks amazing, but is a joy and a treat. (Animating fur in Monsters, Inc. was a breakthrough – here they pull off the same trick with human hair and skin.) Adults and children alike will love it.

Bird is a big fan of the 60’s spy genre, and the production design is that cool blend of future-retro so beloved by Bond fans – tiki bar crossed with space ship. The supervillain’s lair is especially fab and all boys will want one. But Bird’s comment that he set out to make a film that is a blend of all the spy and action films that he loved and a domestic, family story rings true. For every explosion there are lots of nicely observed character moments – Violet’s crush on the cute boy at school, Dash’s frustration at not being allowed to participate in sports, Helen’s struggle to keep morale up – that make for fully rounded, true-to-life characters. The Incredibles may be fantastic but they feel real.

The Incredibles is another instant Pixar classic, and I for one can’t wait to see it again.

Related:
Making The Incredibles


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