The Incredibles

The Incredibles movie poster

 

Like writer/director Brad Bird’s Rata­touille, The Incred­i­bles is a vir­tu­ally per­fect movie. Bird’s aston­ish­ing one-two punch for Pixar builds on the ani­ma­tion studio’s rep­u­ta­tion for deep emo­tional res­o­nance already earned by Andrew Stanton’s Find­ing Nemo (read The Dork Report review) and later recon­firmed by Wall-E (read The Dork Report review). But Bird’s films add a wel­come matu­rity that proves the medium of ani­ma­tion can be, at its best, truly for all ages.

Although packed with action, spec­ta­cle, and chase sequences, it’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine how lit­tle kids would react to such a rel­a­tively dark movie. Note the middle-aged anx­i­ety, mar­i­tal strife, and sur­pris­ingly high body count (granted, most deaths hap­pen off­screen, but only just!). I can eas­ily imag­ine most kids tun­ing out dur­ing the many long dra­matic sequences obvi­ously pitched at adults. Just to name one scene that might be hard for young­sters to grasp: Mr. Incred­i­ble saves a sui­ci­dal man who doesn’t want to be saved. Guest Dork Reporter Snark­bait asked her two lit­tle boy cousins what they liked best about their movie. They relate most to the char­ac­ter Dash, and prob­a­bly selec­tively ignore the bits they can’t yet under­stand. So per­haps I’m under­es­ti­mat­ing how well the movie works on mul­ti­ple levels.

The IncrediblesThe fam­ily that fights robot drones together stays together

Even the voice cast­ing is so per­fect, it’s impos­si­ble to imag­ine any oth­ers in their place. Craig T. Nel­son is as per­fectly suited to Mr. Incredible’s middle-aged anx­i­eties as Tim Allen was to Buzz Lightyear’s inno­cent blus­ter in the Toy Story films. I could go on to praise every sin­gle other voice actor, but spe­cial men­tion must go to Holly Hunter as sassy spit­fire Elasti­girl, Sarah Vowell’s per­fect expres­sion of teen anx­i­eties as (shrink­ing) Vio­let, and Brad Bird’s gut-bustingly hilar­i­ous impres­sion of Hol­ly­wood fash­ion leg­end Edith Head as the super­hero cos­tume designer Edna Mode.

Brad Bird and Holly Hunter in The IncrediblesBrad Bird steals his own movie as the unfor­get­table Edna Mode

If forced to find one thing to cri­tique, I would point to the rel­a­tively minor details of the char­ac­ters’ hair. On the DVD bonus fea­tures, the Pixar ani­ma­tors and soft­ware engi­neers brag about the tech­nolo­gies they invented to sim­u­late real­is­tic hair, but none of the vir­tual coifs sit well upon the delib­er­ately styl­ized car­toony faces. The char­ac­ters have cute lit­tle dim­ples instead of hairy nos­trils and waxy ear canals, so why give them such pho­to­re­al­is­tic hair?


Offi­cial movie site: www.theincredibles.com

Buy the DVD from Ama­zon and kick back a few pen­nies to The Dork Report.

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