In the early 2000’s the magic making machine entitled Pixar hit another home run with The Incredibles after creating iconic moments in my childhood and anyone born in the 90’s with Toy Story, A Bug’s Life , Monsters, INC. and Finding Nemo. After the success of the Sam Raimi Spiderman films, Brad Bird and Pixar teamed up to create a superhero spoof film with the playfulness of a sitcom show with The Incredibles.

The Incredibles is brought to us by former Simpsons director Brad Bird, whose feature debut was the terrific animated version of  The Iron Giant  and taking his shot at a Pixar film is a logical step forward.  Although Pixar films are somewhat formulaic, but for the first time it seemed more of a collaboration between Brad Bird with a family -sitcom tone with the heart of a Pixar film. Straying away from the normal Pixar formula, The Incredibles still delivers due to the ahead of it’s time visuals, larger than life characters and the steady eye of director Brad Bird.

Up until the production of The Incredibles, Pixar has stuck to nonhuman lead characters in its previous five releases as animators have encountered trouble making human beings look realistic; from the mechanics involved in physical movements to the skin tones which look robotic in it’s nature. The animation that The Incredibles  brought to us was ahead of it’s time. The colours popped directly off of the screen and still holds up more than a decade later. The action sequences visually are captivating with fluid movements rather than robotic movements that often plagued previous human-based animated films.

Bob Parr also known as Mr.Incredible, the main protagonist is a superhero in the traditional mold and clearly jabbing at one Clark Kent(Superman), dashing around town fighting crime and saving cats from threes. The film follows the Parr family, transitioning to a normal life within the Superhero Relocation Program, Mr. Incredible (voice by Craig T. Nelson) moves to the suburbs joined by his wife Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and their children Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dashiell (Spencer Fox) with little Jack Jack (Eli Fucile, Maeve Andrews).

The highlight of The Incredibles is the struggle the family faces in attempting to have a normal life as a family but the inability to accept the fact that they are the furthest thing from it. Mr Incredible and Elastigirl are struggling transitioning from their lives as superheroes to Mr.Incredible struggling with complacency as an insurance broker and Elastigirl trying to convince herself and her family that their just like everyone else.

Dash and Violet also struggle to bond as the film displays the very real disconnect that you find with teenage siblings of the opposite sex. Their relationship as an arc culminates with them bonding and truly learning who the others are, agreeing that death itself might be preferable to their parents getting divorced. The pair bicker and fight as young siblings do, but by the end of the film are ready to defend the other when push comes to shove.

The supporting cast shines in it’s own right and elevates the film to one of my alltime favourite animated films. With supporting character Frozone, Brad Bird nailed it when casting Samuel L. Jackson to voice over the cool-as-ice Frozone . Frozone’s role isn’t huge, but when he’s on screen he steals just about every scene he’s apart of. He fits in as part of a great cast of supporting characters like super-hero costume designer Edna Mole, who in any other movie might not get much attention but in The Incredibles gets pumped up with all kinds of unique character details.

Edna Mode  who is tellingly voiced by Bird himself, is the visionary designer of superhero costumes that dressed up Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl in their heydays. She is a tiny, tiny lady who clearly is based off of Hollywood stereotypes is hysterical in every single scene she is in and provides the majority of the comic belief. Although all of the characters provide some type of comedy, Edna Mode’s well timed quips and frantic attitude is so out of left field that it fits perfectly within the context of the film,

The film is both satirical and most importantly it is inspirational. The Incredibles plays on stereotypes of superhero comic books and television series from the golden ages of the comics. Bird rejects current clichés and its part of what makes the film so special.

In a time when we’re being absolutely flooded with superhero movies, it’s hard to imagine there’s much originality left out there to be captured by the genre. We’ve had heroes who are bitten by radio active spiders, dress up as a Bat and even a King of a country secretly fighting as a cat-vigilante. In a landscape devoid of any uniqueness, The Incredibles provided a well needed influx to the superhero genre by being able to poke fun at itself and all around is an incredible film(sorry).

Grade:A-

Ananth Para
paramana@mcmaster.ca

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