Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Incredibles movie review


I took my wife, three children, and in-laws to see The Incredibles last night. To avoid possible sell out and argument with the in-laws about paying, I bought the tickets at Fandango for the first time ($1 service charge on each ticket, which you only regret if you arrive and have no problem walking up and buying tickets, which we wouldn't have).

The Incredibles is a computer-animated film made by Pixar, makers of Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc.

Superhero Bob Parr (Craig T. Jones), Mr. Incredible, fights crime and saves people from themselves with his super powers. In one scene he catches a man who is jumping from a building, crashes through a window and lands on him in the process. The man grumbles and Mr. Incredible says, "With time and counseling you'll learn to forgive me." He works with Helen (Holly Hunter), Elastigirl, who can reach around buildings and punch crooks. She also impresses Mr. Incredible, they marry and have three children. There's just something about Holly Hunter--that accent and her manner, that draws you in, disarms you, makes you laugh and smile.

The man Mr. Incredible saves from the building, however, sues Mr. Incredible and a frenzy of law suits ensue against all the superheroes. Public opinion sours against the superheroes and the government puts them all into regular life. Bob Parr becomes an insurance claims adjuster with a heart but a desk too small for his widening, once ripped and now flabby body. Parr and friend Lucius Best (Samuel L. Jackson), also a superhero turned regular guy, go out on Wednesdays ostensibly for bowling but Helen finds out they've been listening to a police scanner and doing their civil service to society in emergencies.

Helen, who is committed to the domestic life, tells her children, Dash (Spencer Fox), Violet (Sara Vowell) and baby Jack Jack (named after director/screenwriter Brad Bird's son), not to use their powers--Violet can turn invisible and Dash is fast. She also doesn't want Bob to use his powers, yet she uses hers to stretch across the room or under the table to grab all the kids while telling Bob, "engage, Bob--I need you to engage and help here!"

A secret message to Bob from an unknown source leads him to a remote island where he is asked to return a covert operation's stray robot that seems indestructible. He's flattered to be back into work but he's blind to the dangers ahead for himself and family. It turns out the robot is the least of Bob's problems. The family gets wind from suit designer maven Edna Mode (voiced by director/screenwriter Brad Bird) that Bob has walked into a trap.

I laughed out loud dozens of times in the movie, particularly in this scene of Bob running across the island tugging at his now-too-small super suit and holding his back. In one hilarious scene the robot is stretching him limb from limb and it pops his back in place and he breaks free and figures out how to disable the robot.

The Incredibles is like an animated Spy Kids with witty writing and fast family-involved action. The children are drawn into the fray when they find out their father is in trouble. Speaking of family, the movie is not rated G as many of the Disney and Pixar movies are. It's rated PG and several scenes are vivid may not be appropriate for children. For instance, a man jumps from a building to commit suicide and near realistic scenes of guards shooting at the children. I don't think it's rated PG because of the language but Edna says "God!" at least twice in the expletive sense.

Because of the laugh out loud humor, Pixar animation that moves into action territory yet unexplored, and imaginative storyline, I recommend the movie with the reminder about the PG rating for families with very young children.

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