“The Incredibles” stars Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Spencer Fox, Jason Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, and Elizabeth Peña. Released on November 5, 2004, the film is about a superhero family who comes out of hiding to save the world from a powerful villain.
The film is directed by Brad Bird, who also directed films such as “The Iron Giant” and “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol”. Are you tired of Fox and their mediocre attempts to bring the “Fantastic Four” to the big screen? Well, the folks of Disney and Pixar have got the perfect solution to those troublesome woes. Enter “The Incredibles”, one of the finest animated gems that Pixar had to offer. OK, so it’s not an actual “Fantastic Four” movie, but I have been hearing some similarities between this film and the Fantastic Four, such as the character’s powers. So, I guess you can say that this is Disney’s take on the “Fantastic Four”. With “Incredibles 2” finally making its way to the big screen this weekend, I decided to revisit the first film to see what makes it a special treat for both kids and adults. It has been more than a decade since I last saw this film. I remembered liking it when I first saw it in theaters, and I remembered owning it on DVD (which I still have, by the way), but I haven’t gotten the chance to view it again as the years went by. This year, I figured that now would be the perfect opportunity for me to rewatch it in preparation for one of the most highly-anticipated sequels of the summer. With that said, it’s time for me to suit up and see what makes this film incredible.
The story starts off with Mr. Incredible (Nelson) performing some heroic deeds and enjoying his life as a genuine superhero. But when his latest mission causes some collateral damage to the city, the citizens quickly turn their backs on the supers and as a result, the government forms a relocation program to force superheroes to live normal lives as civilians. Fifteen years later, Mr. Incredible is happily married with three children, but misses the good old days of helping people. He finally gets a chance to be a superhero again after receiving a mysterious message regarding a giant, savage robot on a remote island, but gets more than what he bargained for when he comes across a former fan-turned-villain known as Syndrome (Lee) and unexpectedly draws his entire family into this dangerous mission. While the film draws heavily from the superhero genre, it also contains elements from the spy genre as well as some depictions of family drama. It’s sort of like a three-for-one deal if you’re a fan of these types of genres. After rewatching it for the first time since...forever, it’s undoubtedly clear that I’ve been missing out on a lot. Even though it’s not aiming for an emotional experience like “Toy Story” or “Up”, it has that sort of uniqueness that made this film what it is, most notably Brad Bird’s storytelling and his ability to blend the three main genres together: superhero, spy, and drama. It does feature plenty of action-packed moments that you would normally see in other superhero films, but it mainly focuses on Mr. Incredible and how his attempt to relive his glory days can affect his family in a world where superheroes are banned. This is the type of story that manifests the superhero essence, but goes slightly above its usual tropes. Not only were the characters well-written and likable, but they were also wonderfully voiced by some talented celebrities, with Nelson, Hunter, Jackson, and Lee being the main highlights as Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Frozone, and Syndrome, respectively. The voice actors worked really well together in terms of the drama and the humor, and I got to tell you, I didn’t remember how much I enjoyed the latter until now. The humor was displayed in a way that both kids and adults can appreciate mostly because of the witty interactions between the characters, and after 14 years of release, it still managed to bring a big smile to my face. In addition to the humor, the film’s animation was able to hold itself up after years of release for a number of reasons, including its visually stunning world of “The Incredibles” and its action sequences, with the one involving Dash (Fox) being one of my favorites. The film marks the first collaboration between Brad Bird and composer Michael Giacchino, who went on to create music for Bird’s other films that came after it. As always, Giacchino knows how to make some great music when it comes to films like this. It had that unique jazzy feel that brought me even closer to this world, but at the same time, it made the experience feel more exciting and fun. It made me think I was watching a classic spy film, but with superheroes (sort of…).
Overall, with its relatable characters, stunning animation, inventive storytelling, and a memorable score, “The Incredibles” still lives up to its name. It also shows that an animated Pixar film doesn’t always need to be emotional to be great. Sometimes, animated films that are considered masterpieces can rely on a story that is well-told, fun, and exciting, and “The Incredibles” is definitely one of those films, in my opinion. It’s actually quite amazing that my personal view on the film hasn’t changed after watching it again as an adult, but I guess I should’ve known better given the fact that it’s made by Pixar. If you’re one of the few people who has not seen this film yet and you’re planning on seeing its sequel this weekend, this is definitely worth a look at.