The Incredibles Review

Dedication to an entity or person in the public sphere is frighteningly developed throughout The Incredibles. Buddy (Jason Lee) is a freak of nature that so many in the pop culture remit will have to deal with. Patrick Stewart must be tired of all those Star Trek fans, while others that have featured in Star Wars and Harry Potter have open contempt for the mega fans and freaks that follow it. That is what the eponymous character of The Incredibles hopes to show to those that follow him around, and it soon bites back. A feature from Pixar’s golden age shows not just their adeptness for featuring strong, culturally relevant tones, but also engaging with an exciting new wave for animation.

The Incredibles comes at a period when the animated genre was still finding its feet. Toy Story was turning ten years old, which feels like a long enough time for the CGI and 3D animation to take hold and really capture the future it would hold, but it is not until the scope of The Incredibles is realised that that feels true. Brad Bird directs a great looking film that pops visually not through unique costumes or fantastic events but the subtle changes that come from the period The Incredibles looks to adapt. Its coordination and aesthetic for the culture which it adapts is more impressive than the vaguely represented superheroes and villains that are shunned into hiding after lawsuits are dropped on do-gooding heroes.

The 1950s aesthetic is fascinating, the grainy film footage showing newsreel of what happens when superheroes are hounded. But the passage of time does not feel all that long. Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) has an addiction to the abnormal. He is unable to pull himself away from the glory days, the back and forth between him and Helen Parr (Holly Hunter) is exceptional. At the core though is a fear of the unknown. The scene showing Mr. Incredible taking a look at the terminated Supers is a fantastic one, not because it tee’s up the action-packed second half nicely, but because it is surprisingly dark. Much of the film is surprisingly sinister, the loveless marriage, the departed superheroes killed off for a massive supervillain looking to take control and the rekindling of a former strength of character. Strong themes for a film catering to children.

Most surprising of all is that The Incredibles tackles dark subject matters but paints over it with its superhero antics and sharp wit. At the core is a struggling family plagued by the banal lifestyle raising a family, working a nine to five and refusing to break from the mould brings. For all the danger and dynamism thrown out into the final third, there is much to be said for the first act, which deals with superheroes struggling to adapt to an everyday lifestyle. Those out there that are more than super will no doubt struggle to, not those who are trapped by the ability to throw a car through the air or parachute themselves into the ground, but those with a bit more talent stuck in the pencil-pushing jobs. A necessary agony for some, but that will and desire to break free is strongly and soundly explored in The Incredibles.

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