Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Incredibles - A Superhero Movie With a Heart of Gold

As stated previously on this blog, Pixar is an animation studio with a very impressive track record. With at least one exception, every movie they have made has been heavily praised to some degree, especially in regards to the Toy Story trilogy. This weekend is the studio's new movie, Brave, which I look forward to seeing. In the meantime, I have decided to watch one of Pixar's older movies, The Incredibles, that also happens to be one of my favorites from the studio. Though I've seen it numerous times since it first released in 2004, I never get tired of it.

Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) is one of many superheroes (referred to as "supers" in-universe) that exist in the world, protecting civilians from various supervillains using his super strength. When we first meet him, he is performing hero duties, such as rescuing a cat and facing a villain named Bomb Voyage, while still making time for his wedding, where he will marry a female super named Elastigirl (Holly Hunter). After the wedding, however, Mr. Incredible is sued by injured civilians as a result of that night, which ends up causing a domino effect on all the other supers. This leads to the creation of the Supers Relocation Program, in which supers will not face charges for past actions so long as they behave like average citizens. Though Mr. Incredible, aka Bob Parr, has a wife and three children, he still craves for the old days of the supers. After he is observed during a late night rescue with his friend Lucius (Samuel L. Jackson), who was formerly the super Frozone, Bob receives an invitation to relive his golden years, which he takes advantage of. Though he keeps this a secret from his wife Helen (Elastigirl), he later realizes the importance of his family when he faces a villain named Syndrome (Jason Lee), who, it turns out, used to be his biggest fan.

Though the movie is all around good, I believe I should still break down why it is so. For starters, the story is very well-written, neatly combining elements of a family movie and a superhero movie with a revenge plot. The concept of a world in which superheroes are turned into normal people by the government isn't new, having been done before in the graphic novel The Watchmen, but The Incredibles puts a spin on the dynamic by focusing on a family with superpowers instead of an unrelated group of people, aided by the lighter atmosphere of the product compared the heavy tones of The Watchmen.

Then there's the animation quality. It was impressive for the time it came out, and amazingly it holds up after 8 years. Free-flowing hair moves very realistically on the character models, and even those with shorter hair see a lot of detail. Character movement is also very fluid and there is a wide range of facial expressions that accurately convey what everyone is feeling by way of subtle movements. This is supported by strong voice acting all around and a musical score that perfectly matches each scene. At times the music takes some cues from James Bond, though they are integrated rather well and don't feel out of place.

This being a superhero movie, it is also important to bring up the action. Whenever a character uses their powers on-screen, you will often see some sort of creativity with how they are utilized, especially when two or more supers are working together. An example of said creativity is when, after helping his friend Bob rescue people from a burning building, Lucius is able to use his ice powers against a police officer after drinking a cup of water. While there's plenty of enjoyable fight scenes to go around, Bob's strength powers also make for good comedy, such as when he gets frustrated while trying to exit his car.

The Incredibles is a fantastic movie that I think anyone would enjoy, if they haven't seen it already. The movie has a strong message about the importance of family and the inclusion of superheroes makes for some really nice action scenes along the way. Overall this is a very smart and funny movie that should not be left out of one's DVD/Blu-ray collection.

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