100 Days of Superheroes- Day 52: The Incredibles (2005)
Mr. Fantastic might need to have a mid life crisis, maybe then his team can have a good movie.
“Mr. Incredible! I can’t believe this! You married Elastigirl…and got busy! Awe man this is too good.”
Our first major animated theatrical superhero film is none other than Brad Bird’s critically acclaimed, The Incredibles. A movie that walked away with the Best Animated Picture Oscar in 2005. It couldn’t have been more deserving of it either as it combines some of the highest grade animation of the time with an awesome superhero story at its core. Pixar is at their best here and deliver one of the greatest films in this review series so far. So let’s dive in.
The movie opens to a world filled with Superheroes and top of the list is Mr. Incredible, perhaps one of the greatest heroes who ever lived. On his way to his wedding he gets caught up in bank robberies, train crashes, and getting cats out of trees. Thanks to the interference of an overly enthusiastic fan, he ends up getting sued by a man he saved. This opens the floodgates for superhero lawsuits and the government makes a deal that if they cease hero work they will pay up the money owed and forgive damages. Thus Mr. Incredible and his newly wed Elasticgirl hang up the tights and prepare to raise a family.
The film then jumps ahead fifteen years. Mr. Incredible, now the mild mannered Bob Par is unhappy with his life and longs for the glory days once more, sick of his cubicle job at an insurance company. After getting fired Bob gets a mysterious message from a woman named Mirage who needs his help getting rid of an out of control robot on a mysterious island.
Par is quick to jump back in his new tights and head for the island. Unfortunately it does not go as planned and he ends up trapped in a twisted scheme. When his family comes searching for him Par must put away his lone wolf ways and work as a team with his loved ones.
The name Pixar and great animation kind of go hand in hand so there really isn’t any reason to go in depth into it. The only issue is that Pixar as gotten so good at their craft that their later films have made this one start too look a little dated in quality. But it is a mute point because it still looks fantastic.
The film has a great collection of characters, not just from the Par family. You also have their longtime friend Frozone voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, who sneaks out with Bob for crime fighting when they get restless.
Mr. Incredible is an interesting character and center for the film. He is a man going through a mid life crises and unsatisfied with his lot in life. He ignores his family and can’t keep a job. Even his kids are worried that their parent’s marriage won’t last as a result. He has great development in the film as he struggles between reliving the glory days and finding some sort of balance with his family.
His wife is just trying to be a stay at home mom and keep her three kids in line. Her youngest has no powers but her other two are forbidden to use theirs. Each has their roll to play in the movie and none feel shoved in the back and unused.
The villain here is fantastically original. Syndrome was once Mr. Incredible’s #1 fan before being turned down as his side kicked. Furious Syndrome came to hate Mr. Incredible and plotted to become greater than him by using his inventions to become his own superhero. But first he must get rid of the competition. Syndrome is funny without feeling hammy and always seems like a threat, his mind twisted and sadistic. In some ways he is highly reminiscent of James Bond villains with a touch of Doctor Doom.
I can’t write this review without also mentioning Edna, voiced by Brad Bird himself. An eccentric fashion designer who once made many superhero costumes and gadgets. Essential she’s Bob Par’s very own Morgan Freeman. Now she is stuck doing work for fashion models. She is hilarious and entertaining every moment she is on screen, contributing to the plot in the process.
For being a kids film the movie has a lot of mature themes interwoven within it. There is death, unrest in a family, suspected affairs, more death, and infant kidnapping. Yet the film still manages to take these mature themes and have them hold up in a film targeted at kids. The movie, though with its darker moments, still remains largely upbeat. It really is a perfect blend of drama, action, and comedy with clever scripting and dialogue.
When looking at it, this just makes me wonder if they really need a Fantastic Four reboot. After all the similarities are staggering between the two (though not enough to claim this film as being derivative). The idea of a superhero family and even the villain are all kind of call backs to those comics and it sure as hell was more well done than the live action version. But then again maybe this is the model the FF needs to look at and go the direction of animation for their next film.
The music in the movie is great. Rather than being the traditional orchestration and flowing music of most superhero films, instead it takes props from spy flicks with jazzy undertones. It gives the film a unique feel in many scenes.
There is very little bad I can say about this movie. The only thing that might stop people from liking it is that action is definitely NOT the main purpose and it takes a while to get to it. Also those who don’t care for animation or want their superhero films more gritty and angsty will likely not enjoy it. But for every other sane person on the planet, The Incredibles is a kick ass film anyone can enjoy. In fact, I just got done watching it and I’m already wanting to put it in the blu-ray player again.
FINAL RATING: 9.5/10- 95%
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