The Incredibles Retrospective Review
The Incredibles is a computer-animated superhero film written and directed by Brad Bird, produced by Pixar Animation Studios, released by Walt Disney Pictures. It stars the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Spencer Fox, Jason Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Bird, and Elizabeth Peña.
The Story/The Direction:
The film is about a family of superheroes who have to hide their powers and live a civilian lifestyle. This is because the city government has had a lot of lawsuits from people injured during rescues and this forces the superheroes to be forced into early retirement. The main protagonist is Bob Parr aka Mr. Incredible (Nelson) who is living the life of an insurance claims adjuster. The only positive aspect of his life is his similarly closeted superhero wife, Helen aka Elastigirl (Hunter). They and their children have to pretend to be ordinary until one day when Mr. Incredible is called to stop a killer robot on a deserted island. Bird's ability as a director makes this Pixar movie shine through not only as a superhero movie but also as a family one. The action sequences are inventive, and exciting, especially the robot ones. Each scene is a make fun of previous and future superhero and spy films. It is also hilarious with jokes ranging from young to adult humor. While it is mainly a superhero origin film, it also shows the importance of family and the superhero aspect is a side point.
Mr. Incredible is bored out of his mind and essentially goes through a midlife crisis while Elastigirl is a stressed out stay at home mom. He is no longer incredible and she cannot be as flexible as she wants to be as they have three children. Furthermore, their kids have secret superpowers too. Their son, Dash (Fox), has super-speed running abilities and their daughter, Violet (Vowell), has invisibility and turn on shields. They are typical teenagers with abilities that they are not able to control but also speak to their personality as each power demonstrates their nature as children. The parents are opposite of who they are and as such the children are too as they have to hide their powers. Out of the family, the star is Elastigirl as she represents women in a male-dominated world both real and fictional. She is able to be that feminist that has not existed in a lot of other superhero films. However, the best character is the fantastically funny Edna Mode (Bird) who designs the costumes of the heroes but with the attitude of anyone in Silicon Valley. She is the driving force behind the film's true message of family and being true to yourself.
The only small flaw is the justification behind why the supers were outlawed. The reason is similar to that of Watchmen, however, this film does not have as strong a sentiment. In Watchmen, the "heroes" used their powers to bring out people’s worst tendencies and thus should not be trusted with powers putting them on the same level as real dictators. Here, there is nothing like that and they are pushed to retirement by a select few people that get upset. Furthermore, this film tries to push the idea of having superpowers is the ONLY way to be a superhero. Syndrome's (Lee) main mission is to make everyone a superhero so no one is by giving them technology that essentially gives them "powers." Stronger superhero stories have the hero learning that "with great power comes great responsibility. What they do with those powers is what makes them a hero, not the powers themselves.
While that flaw does bring down the superhero aspect of the film, it does not take away the strong overall messages of family and being true to yourself. This film's animation, music, and cast are great plus it has fantastic dialogue that is both funny and meaningful. Put all of this together and the result is a great film worth watching over and over again.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties
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