Skip to comments.Indelible 'Incredibles'
Posted on 11/14/2004 10:33:17 AM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle
For decades, kids have enjoyed following the out-of-this-world exploits of comic-book heroes, learning along the way about courage and heroism, and the need for the forces of good to triumph over the nefarious plots of those possessed by evil. Every generation needs to learn their own duty to sacrifice and fight for the good.
But lately, ever since the first "Spiderman" live-action movie roared at the box office, fans of the long-lasting Marvel Comics stable of superheroes have been inundated with big, noisy, expensive blockbusters bringing these two-dimensional pen-and-ink heroes to life. Unfortunately, in attempting to dramatize Marvel honcho Stan Lee's formula -- paper heroes deepened on the page by troubled private lives in their worlds of secret identity -- these films have all suffered in varying degrees, growing ever more dark and gloomy, almost hopeless.
While the "Spiderman" films have retained a fraction of whimsy, movies like "Daredevil" and "The Incredible Hulk" have left many fans hoping they'd seen more righteous heroism and less sulky realism. In the final analysis, superhero comics work best when the reader is inspired, not left seeking Dr. Phil. Complex superheroes can make for a nice, dramatic storyline, but when they're so tortured by personal demons, they can't be very super, can they?
For those who do like their heroes a little less super-serious than the superhuman characters of old, there is a surprisingly mature option: Pixar's new cartoon "The Incredibles." This film unfolds like a comic book, with lots of action, but in between its animated lines, it offers real lessons about heroism, the use of talents and commitment to family. It's not often that a cartoon carries a line where a child worries, "Mom and Dad's life could be in jeopardy ... or even worse ... their marriage!"
Believe the critics on this one: It is a terrific film for the whole family. As with all the other Pixar movies, this film is not only brilliantly animated, but rich in character and plot. And yet the surprising thing about the new picture is how adult it seems. Instead of the parents struggling to find fragments of adult enjoyment -- often found in snarky asides -- it's more likely the grade-school children will fidget in spots that become so real you have to remember you're watching a cartoon.
The plot of "The Incredibles" starts with some surprising social criticism. After saving a man trying to commit suicide, the film's lead superhero, Mr. Incredible, is sued by the man, who didn't want to be saved. That suit is followed by a tangle of torts that causes the entire cavalcade of caped crime-fighters to enter a secret federal Superhero Relocation Program.
Demoted to the prototypical unspectacular job of insurance agent, Mr. Incredible (now known as "Bob Parr") gripes that "They keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity." He's hiding away with his wife Helen (formerly the stretchy heroine Elastigirl). His son Dash, blessed with super speed, is banned from competing in school sports, lest he betray the family secret. "Dad says our powers make us special," he protests. "Everyone is special, Dash," his mother replies. "Which is another way of saying no one is," Dash complains.
If that sounds like some Ayn Rand capitalist fable of the mediocre punishing the talented, there is always the offsetting fun the filmmakers have with Bob's insurance work. While Bob's oily supervisor wants every insurance claim rejected for the health of the company bottom line, heroic Bob can't help but whisper to his customers every tactic to circumvent company bureaucracy to ease their pain and suffering. This ends badly, with Bob losing his temper and tossing the boss through several walls, something even superheroes succumb to when their patience is taxed.
Bob loses his job, of course, and to make up for the lost income, he is recruited into secret superhero work with a slinky mystery woman named Mirage. (That's where the worries about the Parr marriage creep in.) What happens next draws the entire Incredible family -- father, mother, the son Dash, and the invisibility-powered teenage daughter Violet -- into a titanic superhero struggle with a super-villain, replete with a morality play of good versus evil.
Too often, we know what to expect from Hollywood, and we get it, in all its sensation-seeking, nihilistic glory. But it's a nice departure when someone in the entertainment world can dazzle us with a movie that everyone in the family can savor and enjoy. In fact, it's incredible.
I was amazed that this movie with its deeply-conservative themes got made. It's terrific, and the animation is way beyond incredible.
My 13-year old daughter has seen it twice so far and she loves it. She wants to see it again. She told me about the attempted suicide scene and the lawsuit and she said, "It's just like real life."
Yeah, I liked it a lot. Very fun.
Saw it at Cinerama last week. Enjoyed it immensely, both for the animation and the message.
Just wondering why #4 was removed. That was a real line from the movie, about how villians sometimes aren't make-believe, but are really out to get you. I thought instantly of al-queda, et. al., and I think most of the theater did, too.
Did you also notice that the main (symphathetic) government agent looked like Richard Nixon and was named "Dick?"
#3 and #4 were pulled per request. Thanks.
I am having a bad spell checking day - thanks Admin Mod. Let me try again:
The mom had a great line to her kids: "There are bad people out there. They AREN'T like the bad guys on TV. They WILL hurt you."
What an "Incredible" movie. As above posters have noted, I was quite surprised that some of the story lines made it passed the Hollywood PC censors. I guess the fact the Pixar has made them buckets of money must have made a difference.
Apart from the storyline, I have to say the animation was "Incredible" also. The nightime scenes on the island are some of the best I've ever seen.
I saw the movie Friday night.....animation, character artist effect, plot, etc. were exceedingly good!!!
But I don't consider it a 'whole family picture'....
...maybe I'm a bit sensitive, but I think it too intense and extreme for say....6 and under, or even 7, 8, depending on the maturity of your child.
At one point, the mom warns her 2 kids to be careful (while she runs to find dad).....as there are people out there who will kill you.
I also noticed several times, the dialogue included Oh my G-d"....
I've never heard this in a children's type movie before.
As an adult, I thought it well made enough.....would not recommend it to just anyone, animated or not.
The kids were kids and the adults were adults. Dad wasn't an idiot, and Mom wasn't an emasculating, uhm, witch. The kids, when first faced with danger, didn't become instant heroes; they freaked out, and had to learn how to best use their powers. (The scene where Dash is running away from the bad guys, looks down and realizes he's running across the water's surface, and nearly giggles in delight, was great!) And through it all, no matter how much they fought or argued with each other, it was very clear they were a family who loved one another. Very refreshing!
A great movie, I highly recommend it!
Maybe the writer thought the first SM was so bad that he didn't give the second a look. I thought the second was a dozen times better than the first...
Great movie. Way better than Shrek 2.
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