(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from The Incredibles)
Doug (vo): I have real mixed thoughts about The Incredibles. My guess is this was because it was bringing a lot of stuff to the big screen that I wanted to see for a while, but maybe that got me a little too overhyped. For example, it was great seeing a computer-animated film by Brad Bird, whose work I really enjoyed in Iron Giant, The Simpsons, hell, even Family Dog. It was great seeing a comedic superhero movie which, at the time, we only sort of got The Tick and maybe one or two other ones that didn’t really go anywhere. So it was great seeing an awesome team of writers from Pixar take on a subject matter like this. I also like the idea that it’s a superhero family. We haven’t seen that before. And it allows for a lot of creative characters and powers and abilities and, oh, gosh, this is just gonna be awesome.
Doug (vo): In the golden age of superheroes, Mr. Incredible is one of the most famous. How did he get his superpowers? [Scoffs] Who cares? They just exist. And apparently, they exist for a lot of other superheroes who, apparently, just have superpowers. It’s cool, I’ll buy it. Mr. Incredible gets married to Elastigirl and it looks like they’re gonna live happily ever after being superheroes with their secret identities and so forth. But then, things go awry when the people who are saved starts suing the superheroes for property damage, physical health, mental health, all sorts of American bullshit. Soon, everybody starts suing superheroes, and all the superheroes, or Supers, as they’re called, have to go to a protection agency where they can’t use their powers at all. Mr. Incredible is now Mr. Parr and he has started a family with Mrs. Parr. They have three children who, as you’d expect, also have superpowers. And while the rest of the family, for the most part, seem to fit in okay without using their powers, Mr. Parr is going through the always-popular midlife crisis. He misses the golden days, the sense of adventure, hates being in an office and hates turning people down. In fact, he even performs superhero jobs on the side, but never lets his wife know. Things start to change, though, when he gets a letter from a woman named Mirage, who has a ton of secret missions lined up for him and wants him to return to the glory days of superhero-hood. Mr. Parr agrees, going behind his family’s back, but little does he know that a villain named Syndrome is actually planning the whole thing.
Doug (vo): It’s nice to see a Pixar film that actually focuses on people for once, and what I like is that they don’t try to make them look like actual people, they try to make them look like 3D cartoons. Brad Bird always had great designs for his animations, and they show here. It doesn’t look like something that started being designed in a computer, it looks like it was drawn first and then turned into a 3D model. That makes the designs as well as the characters much more memorable. It’s also nice to see Pixar continue with its dramatic tone. Incredibles actually doesn’t have as many laughs as you would think it would. It focuses more on Mr. Parr’s midlife crisis, how all the color is sucked out of his world and how he wants a little sympathy from his family whether it’s really deserving to him or not.
[The Incredible family, mostly showing the wife and kids, are shown in most clips]
Doug (vo): But that’s kind of my main problem with the film. The movie is called The Incredibles, but really, it should have been called "Mr. Incredible and his Family", because the focus is mostly on him, and to be honest, you can kind of give the just-always-going-through-him in maybe the first 10 minutes. The family gets focused, too, but not until the last third, really. And I like the family a lot, I like Mrs. Parr, I like Dash, I like Violet, I like that baby that has that psychotic breakdown at the end. I really wanted more of them. I wanted more of their powers, I wanted more of their personality, I wanted to see more of their interactions. And like I said, we do get a lot of that in the last third, but the majority of it is dealing with Mr. Parr’s midlife crisis. And for me, I think it just has too much focus.
[One of the film's side characters, Edna Mode, is shown]
Doug (vo): There’s still some redeeming qualities in the first two thirds, though. For example, there’s this really great designer character that’s actually voiced by Brad Bird as well. She designs the costumes for the family, it’s a lot of fun just seeing her almost psychotic passion for what she does. But voice acting aside, one of the sad weaknesses of Brad Bird’s work is that the stories are often a little choppy. As much as I love Iron Giant and a lot of his other works, I’ll be the first to admit that the narratives are not very flowing. I mean, they work okay, and the characters I think are ultimately what pulls it through, but they always seem to jump around a bit, and I always feel one more rewrite would probably make these films a little stronger.
[The film's action sequences are shown]
Doug (vo): But again, that’s in no way saying that The Incredibles and his other films are by any means failures. They’re not. The strongest point of the movie is the last third, where you see the powers being used, you see the family interacting, you see the comedy, you see the action, you see the villain, you see all the stuff that you’re waiting for, and it is well worth the wait. I only wish I could’ve seen more of this in the first two thirds. I think if they did that, I probably would have really loved this movie. But for what it is, when it does get to the parts that it does really well, it’s a ton of fun. And it’s smart, and it’s emotional, and it has good jokes. I think Brad Bird’s biggest strength is his connections with families. I love how the mother talks to the kids very much like how a mother would talk to her kids, even if it is a very bizarre setup. I also like the way he writes kids. They’re very energized, but they’re insecure as well. They’re troublemakers, but they’re not stupid, and they have a lot of personality.
Doug (vo): Do I wish there was more focus on them and Mrs. Parr? Absolutely. But for what it is, it’s very entertaining and very creative, even if it is a little inconsistent. It’s a good film if you just manage to get through some of the slower scenes, and like I said before, it’s great to finally see Pixar branching out and actually working with human characters. They don’t have to keep the focus on creatures or toys or materials that just come to life. This is opening a whole new door for... [A picture of Lightning McQueen from Pixar's next film Cars is shown, causing Doug to groan] Oh, yeah. Join me in the next review.
[A scene showing the Incredibles ready to fight the bad guys is shown]