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A Review of "The Incredibles" 500

Posted by michael
from the leave-the-cape-at-home dept.
erikharrison writes "Last night I caught a late showing of 'The Incredibles', Pixar's new computer animated bonanza. Here is a review, relatively spoiler free." Read on for the rest of Erik's review. I saw the movie yesterday too, and it's excellent - go check it out.

First off, this is Slashdot. You know, News for nerds, yadda yadda. So, let's start off with talking about the special effects, or more generally, Pixar showing off all that they have learned and accomplished.

The big hype in the animation sector has been the characters - real human people. Don't be fooled by the hype. Pixar has been doing humans as characters since "Toy Story". With the single exception of "A Bug's Life", human beings have featured as a major character in every Pixar film, and while the effect here is fantastic, it is evolutionary, not revolutionary. No, what stands out in terms of technical acheivement here is the movie's stunning use of light. Sure, "Finding Nemo" accomplished a lot here, but in that film, light was a tool to give depth to the water that surrounded the characters. Here in "The Incredibles" the light is a thing unto itself. Gorgeous shadows, warm red lava, sunlight against clouds, all of these things are breathtaking. The use of sunlight, especially in the jungle sequences, give objects a three dimensionality they have never possessed in a Pixar film before. It's clear that Pixar didn't have the chops prior to this film to do action sequences, because prior to this, the feeling of moving in a three dimensional space just wasn't there.

The movie itself is not just a breakthrough technically, it's a very different movie from previous Pixar productions. This is very intentional. All previous Pixar movies have been dreamed up primarily by John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton, Pixar veterans. So the story goes, these guys are looking back at Pixar history and while they see the series of wonderful made films that the rest of us have seen, apparently they also saw something else: an encroaching rut. There was a very real chance that Pixar could have become the next Disney in a very short time, making well produced and financially successful repeats of their earlier successes for years on end. They didn't want that to happen. And that takes fresh blood. Enter Brad Bird. Bird was an art student with Lasster, and had made one feature film five years ago - the sady underseen "Iron Giant". Brad Bird was challenged to make a different kind of movie, with complete creative control - he wrote and directed. This gamble paid off hugely.

This is not a kids movie. Seriously. Previous Pixar films have been consumate kids movies, movies so well made, and so funny that parents could enjoy them. And there are even a few adult gags the kids might not get. "The Incredibles" is a completely different tack. "The Incredibles" is an action movie, first and foremost, one of the best of the current crop of superhero films. Then it is a family film second, and a kids movie third, if at all.

To give you the basics: the world is full of superheros. The biggest are Mr. Incredible, super strong and invulnerable, Elastigirl, a Ms. Fantastic of sorts, and Frozone, a Silver Surfer/Iceman hybrid. Due to events that occur on Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl's wedding day, superheros wind up on the wrong end of - get this for deja vu - lawsuits. Lawsuits by the thousands. The government comes up with a relocation program, hiding the supers and pardoning them from actions performed in spandex, with the agreement that they hero no more.

Mr. Incredible becomes Bob Parr, an overweight insurance adjuster, with three kids. The symbolism is rampant. Once incredible, now he must suppress both his gifts and his insatiable need to help people, getting in trouble with his boss for actually helping their customers. From incredible, to just par. He's huge. He fills up the entirety of his cubical space, he fills up his entire car, he bends doorknobs, and cutting through his son's steak, he cuts through the table. He is too big for the small world that society wants to peg him in.

On the other hand, he's missing the one incredible part of his life - his family. His son Dash is tired of suppressing his lightning speed, and his teenage daughter Violet is tired of moving everytime the government needs to cover up her father's identity. When she can't hide behind her goth hair, she uses her powers to turn invisible. Managing the two of them and their third child, a normal baby named Jack Jack, Elastigirl is getting tired of being the only real parent.

Their marriage is strained, their kids are young and angry, his job is about to fall apart, and her patience is thin. It's a domestic situation primed to explode, and for the many of us out their who have seen couples divorce, we know exactly where it's going.

Except something happens.

And thereby hangs a tale. As you can see, this isn't some allegory about our lives from the point of view of a bug or a toy or a monster. It IS our lives. But with superpowers. Much like the also fabulous "Shaun of the Dead" the real story is a human one, but framed within spectacular events. The visuals are awesome, the special effects are fabulous, and the dialog not only funny but at times witty. I can bet that 90% of Slashdotters will see themselves on screen, most likely identifying with the daughter Violet or the villain Syndrome.

The performances are of course amazing. Pixar continues its talent of finding distinctive and expressive voices in the world of more traditional acting. Jason Lee as syndrome hints at his performance in "Dogma" and Craig T. Nelson shows us he can be so much more than just the coach from Coach. Holly Hunter shows her never ending flexibility (no pun intended), and newcomer Sarah Vowell as Violet (from National Public Radio's "This American Life") is quite delightful. And the only complaint about Samuell L. Jackson is that there isn't enough of him.

One sad difference between "The Incredibles" and Pixar's previous offerings is that it has a few minor niggles. Regardless of how you feel about Pixar's previous work, it was all carefully and consummately made. The movie's mixture of family interactions and superheros almost always works, but is slightly shakey with its villain Syndrome. He's got great lines, a good backstory, and a perfectly over the top performance from Jason Lee, but something just doesn't quite work, and that's the first time I've ever said that about a Pixar flick. But in the end it doesn't matter. So much works here, that the little stuff gets washed away.

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A Review of "The Incredibles"

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  • Don't get there late (Score:5, Informative)

    by citking (551907) <jayNO@SPAMcitking.net> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:18PM (#10747755) Homepage
    When you DO go to "The Incredibles", be sure not to arrive late. The "Revenge of the Sith" trailer is attached to the movie, and the cartoon short that appears before the show is absolutely hilarious! Adding to the hilarity of the movie is Jason Lee (of Kevin Smith fame) voicing a bad guy. I kept flashing back to "Chasing Amy":

    "I AM NOT A TRACER!"

    • by Ikn (712788) <rsmith29NO@SPAMalumni.nd.edu> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:22PM (#10747777) Homepage
      I'll second this. The short wasn't as great as some (The Birds!), but still very good. And I'll also mention there's a trailer for Pixar's next movie, 'Cars'. It definitely looks geared a bit more to kids than the usual Pixar flick, but I thought the same about Shrek, so what do I know?
      • by mog007 (677810)
        That Cars movie is probably geared toward kids because it'll be Pixar's last film done under their partnership with Disney. Disney is probably exacting creative control for the first and last time.
      • I was actually really excited by the Cars teaser. I think the animation really fit the subject (the animated cars looked great, in my opinion), and based on Pixar's prior teasers, I don't expect this teaser actually gives more than the merest glimpse of what to expect - it certainly didn't reveal any story.

        Indeed, MacNN on Friday (apparently crediting USA Today for the info) gave a very brief synopsis that indicates that Cars will not really revolve around racing (though it seems pretty obvious there will
    • On the SWE3 trailer front, not all prints have it attached. My wife saw The Incredibles at one show, and I saw it at another (we have a 4-mo. old, so we see movies in shifts :) ), and she got to see it and I did not. I'd ask before you buy your ticket if that's super-important to you.
      • by FlutterVertigo(gmail (800106) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:37PM (#10747886)

        Sith Trailer: the "code" on the film reels is "Sand Dog" or "Sand Dogs".

        If you ask the theatre which screens & shows have the trailer and they aren't certain, ask them to check the code name on the reels - they're supposed to be labelled clearly although not all of the threatre personnel know this is the distinction and have been confused regarding what the code means and have ignored it.
        • If you ask the theatre which screens & shows have the trailer and they aren't certain, ask them to check the code name on the reels - they're supposed to be labelled clearly although not all of the threatre personnel know this is the distinction and have been confused regarding what the code means and have ignored it.

          And if they refuse to go check the reels for code name to find out which theater is showing the new Star Wars trailer: well, then you are just a huge friggin dork for asking them to chec

    • Actually, it's only attached in certain areas; it wasn't there in Springfield, Missouri, nor did a friend of mine from New Jersey get it where he saw the movie.

      If you know for a fact that you don't have the trailer, or just don't care about it, you might actually want to arrive late, to miss the annoyingly twee "Boundin'" short that precedes the movie.
    • I, personally, would call Mall Rats as his greater "claim to Fame". Him as Azrael in Dogma was a great role as well (especially the cut footage of him in the bar scene towards the end of the flck).
    • by Unloaded (716598) * on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:07PM (#10749026)
      At this point this may be too far down the thread to get modded anywhere, but for you soundtrack fans out there, the music by Michael Giacchino is beyond stellar. Think of the great 60's spy thrillers. I was amazed.
    • Also don't bother waiting after the movie is over for outtakes, scenes where the Incredibles goof up on dialog delivery. The movie ended, more than half the theatre patiently sat through the credits waiting for those pleasant extras, but there were none. Too bad. On the other hand I guess you should just sit through the credits just to see how many people worked on this - hey even the software engineers are given their due!
  • Great movie (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ikn (712788)
    Pixar really does seem to know what they're doing. My 2 favorite lines are somewhat spoiler-ish so I'll keep them to myself, but they definitely have the whole 'market to kids, but the parents will enjoy it' routine down. I saw it with my 22-year old SO and was laughing as much as the annoying kids behind us (quit kickin' my chair!)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I saw it with my 22-year old SO

      Decided to take the 22-year old SO out this time? Guess you need a change from the 27-year old SO and the 19-year old SO from time to time.
    • Re:Great movie (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FlutterVertigo(gmail (800106) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:43PM (#10747919)
      I've seen questions posted elsewhere asking for advice about kids. Obviously, seeing animation in a commercial attracts not on the kids but makes the parents think it's likely apparent. I've talked to several people who have taken their kids & regretted it.

      Ebert & Roeper both stated it was not a movie for kids. Hopefully, the next time I see it the parents will learn to keep their kids occupied (not ooh, ahh, laughter, but chatter, chatter, chatter) or adjourn them outside of the screening room when it's far enough into the movie it would be time for a commercial were it to be on television.
      • Re:Great movie (Score:3, Informative)

        by reso (716467)
        I'm guessing ebert & roeper's kids must have really bad ADD, or you work for dreamworks.

        my nephews loved it.

      • The wife & I took my three-going-on-thirty year old to see it opening night. Mind you, my daughter is very well-behaved in movies and has recently sat quietly through (and enjoyed) Finding Nemo, Shrek 2, Shark Tale, and every IMAX science/nature film at our local theater. Additionally, much to my constant concern, she tends to have "no fear" in almost every aspect of her life - heights, noises, surprises, acrobatics, insects, nothing seems to faze her. She also typically understands and deals with th
  • Man... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:19PM (#10747759)
    "Mr. Incredible becomes Bob Parr, an overweight insurance adjuster, with two kids."

    I would commit ritual suicide if that happened...he really is incredible :p
    • Re:Man... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bl1st3r (464353) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:55PM (#10747986) Homepage Journal
      "Mr. Incredible becomes Bob Parr, an overweight insurance adjuster, with two kids."

      Good quote. I competely missed it. Mr. Incredible actually becomes Bob Parr, an overweight insurance adjuster, with three kids. Not two. The reviewer completely forgot about Jack Jack.

      Grammar Nazism aside, this was a completely thorough and delightful read. This should stand up as a model on how to write a review.

      I also missed the reviewers name. Erik Harrison. This is insanely creepy because my name is Eric Harrison. I wonder what his middle name is.
    • Re:Man... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MagicDude (727944) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:56PM (#10747996)
      Can an invunerable man commit suicide? What could he do to himself that supervillans couldn't?
    • Re:Man... (Score:3, Funny)

      by mbsurf (791581)
      [quote] I would commit ritual suicide if that happened...he really is incredible :p [/quote] I'm an overweight insurance adjuster with with two kids, you insensitive clod!
  • by Patik (584959) * <cpatikNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:19PM (#10747760) Homepage Journal
    There are so many details in the movie it's insane. The scenes where they run through the jungle are amazing. Every single tree and plant is highly detailed even though it rushes past you in the blink of an eye. The humans are just right -- not realistic-looking, but realistic enough. Their hair and clothes are excellently textured, while their skin and faces are comic book-like. The mechanical robot they fight looks like it is made of real metal, not drawn. The lighting effects, as mentioned in the review, are perfect. The whole movie is an animation masterpiece.
    • The humans are just right -- not realistic-looking, but realistic enough.

      I haven't seen The Incredibles yet, but I know what you mean. I saw a trailer for The Arctic Express the other day, and I really disliked the animation style it uses -- it's trying too hard, IMHO, to be realistic. The end result just looks creepy (especially the Tom Hanks lookalike train conductor ).

  • by thewiz (24994) * on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:21PM (#10747773)
    And absolutely LOVED it!

    It's nice to see that Pixar is sticking to it's guns on having a great story/script BEFORE they start making a movie out of it. Too bad Eisner & Co. didn't get that clue and I think Pixar will be all the better for it now that they've told Disney to get lost.

    As Steve Jobs would say, the movie is "insanely great"!
    • by Octagon Most (522688) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:09PM (#10748071)
      Eisner & Co. may get the last laugh. The Pixar deal has one more picture to go, "Cars" in November 2005. Disney has said that the previous offer that Pixar rejected was the best they would offer and if they return to the bargaining table will not even be that generous again. Of course there is a lot of corporate posturing going on here by both sides and both companies are run by men of extraordinary egos. Pixar stands to gain huge by owning their movies and just cutting a distribution deal - as George Lucas has with Fox for the Star Wars franchise. But Disney has an Ace up their sleeve. They will retain the sequel rights to all the Pixar movies made under the current contract. So they can churn out straight-to-video sequels to Toy Story at will. The Incredibles practically begs for a sequel. But ask yourself if you want the company responsible for The Lion King 1 1/2 or The Return of Jafar (aka Aladdin II) to make them. Can the Pixar talent that crafted these films bear to see that happen? Can they cut all ties to their creations and move forward with the same drive and determination? And will they continue to create new films that are both critical and commercial hits? While they are contemplating this Disney has a lot of time and money to build a new kind of animation studio to compete with Pixar. Maybe they will even find some of that old time Disney magic and start prioritizing great storytelling. I'm still willing to bet on Pixar in head to head competition, but I think Disney is in a much better bargaining position than most people realize.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Except that Eisner is on the way out, which gives Jobs the upper hand.

        Disney has a very poor bargaining position, regardless of the posturing that Eisner has been attempting. The corporate culture is now concerned with profit first and story-telling last, unlike when Walt Sr ran the place.

        IOW, Disney is now fat-n-lazy since they've "made it big" and have huge cash flow from past accomplishments. Middle management becomes way more concerned with defending turf rather then trying to achieve the corporat
      • by bencvt (686040) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:07PM (#10749023)
        So basically what you're saying is that it's coming down to blackmail?

        Disney: "Renew the contract or we'll crucify your characters by releasing a dozen straight-to-video crapfests!"

        If I were a Pixar executive, I would call Disney's bluff. Disney is going to milk Pixar's previous creations for all they're worth, and then some, regardless of whether Pixar decides to play ball with Disney.

        If the continued creative genius exhibited The Incredibles is any guide, Pixar continues to look forward rather than backward. I'm not worried about Disney's inevitable retaliation; Pixar will continue to innovate with or without Disney's cooperation.

      • by gozar (39392) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @07:42PM (#10749764) Homepage
        But Disney has an Ace up their sleeve. They will retain the sequel rights to all the Pixar movies made under the current contract. So they can churn out straight-to-video sequels to Toy Story at will.

        And this is why Disney probably won't be able to make a deal with Pixar. Disney has never dealt with a company that can consistantly come up with new and interesting characters. The Disney way is to re-hash successful characters. The Pixar way is to create new. Disney can not understand this way of business.

        While Disney could re-hash direct to video Toy Story movies, Pixar will continue to turn out interesting new characters and stories, and make a killing at the box office and through home sales. Pixar operates more under the original 17 year copyright law, while Disney operates under the current copyright law.

  • I have many reviews, but Erik's one one of the better ones. (His review, not the movie itself). I am looking forward to the movie, not just because it looks good and also because the "Sand Dogs" trailer appears with it in the U.S.(That would be the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith)
    • Actually, when I saw "The Incredibles" in the theatre on the 5th I saw no Star Wars trailer.

      Now I'm kinda disappointed . . .

      ps - Thanks for the compliment.
      • by meburke (736645)
        Actually, if you are the same Erik Harrison who does the reviews for the Houston Chronicle, I've been pretty impressed with your ability to analyze a movie and write coherently about it. Those reviews are usually entertaining and cover more ground than simple opinions. I have a certain dislike for people who take the title "movie critic" too seriously. I believe "movie reviewer" is a better description of what you do, and I appreciate reading reviews that are seldom one-sidedly negative (or positive), an
  • Don't lie (Score:3, Funny)

    by MrP- (45616) <rob@elCOBOLitemrp.net minus language> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:23PM (#10747781) Homepage
    We know you didn't actually watch the movie, you just went in to see the new Star Wars trailer on the big screen, then you left.
  • Wet hair rendered (Score:5, Informative)

    by morcheeba (260908) * on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:23PM (#10747783) Journal
    I was amazed at the rendering of long, wet hair. I dug up this cool paper [unc.edu] on the subject.

    With every movie, computer graphics takes another step. Antz had water, Lion King had computer-generated herds... Although we're really close, we'll get to a point where the animation no longer constrains the story.
    • by debrain (29228) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:13PM (#10748097) Journal
      Although we're really close, we'll get to a point where the animation no longer constrains the story.

      Well, if we look at some recent Star Wars and Matrix film achievements, I'd say current animation far exceeds constraints of the story. Or rather, it's not the animation capabilities holding back the story. No amount of CG would have made Star Wars good, or The Matrix better. Titanic might be a good example of CG gone right.
      • Re:Wet hair rendered (Score:3, Interesting)

        by morcheeba (260908) *
        Good point. I was referring to only pure-CG movies where, if it can't be realistically rendered by a computer, it'll look bad and won't be done. Star Wars and the Matrix had great effects, but they used a lot of non-CG - multiple cameras, wires, acrobatics, etc. Wet hair would be done the old fashion way (a can of water and an actor), while only the stuff that was better done by CG (light sabres) would use it.

        Toy Story lacked some stuff, but the story worked around it - people, hair, and water were all mi
    • Just because Antz was the first one you saw that had water doesn't mean that was a big step.

      Water is actually very easy to model because of what we know about fluid dynamics. Easier than almost anything else, actually. Fire is also pretty easy for precisely the same reason.
      Clouds are also easy because they're governed by a particular fractal - the plasma fractal.

      The only problem, I think, is that everything else looks so cartoonish by comparison to the realistic water, fire, and clouds.
      • by elmegil (12001)
        You clearly didn't see the bonus material about animating the water on the whale's tongue in Finding Nemo. Water is NOT very easy, because sometimes it acts like particles, and sometimes it acts like sheets. The problem is convincingly switching between them. You couldn't do the whole movie as individual water particles, because that would simply be compunationally impossible, regardless of what we know about fluid dynamics.
  • by blamanj (253811) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:25PM (#10747801)
    ...was that the scene in the teaser trailer, of Mr. I attempting to buckle his belt, is not in the film.

    Other than that, a pretty good movie, though perhaps not in the same league as Toy Story and A Bug's Life.
    • Uhhh...actually it is. When he puts on his old super suit and goes on the secret mission.
      • by Robotech_Master (14247) * on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:28PM (#10748194) Homepage Journal
        No, he's talking about the teaser trailer [apple.com], which was an extended sequence of Mr. Incredible putting on his shiny red supersuit, being unable to buckle the belt no matter how hard he tried...and when he finally got it and relaxed, the pressure of his girth made the buckle fly off the belt and go ricocheting around the room like shrapnel.

        It seems to be Pixar's practice to render a short mini-film that has little to do with the movie itself for a teaser trailer as a way of introducing the character and piquing interest. (If you'll recall, the "Outer Magnolia" bit with Mike and Sulley emerging into the wrong bedroom was nowhere in the Monsters Inc. movie either.)

        Note that this sequence is totally out of continuity with the movie itself--in the scrapbook wall that the teaser starts by panning over, Incredible is shown in his red costume, which he only gets about halfway through this movie, and not the blue "hobo suit" that he actually wore in bygone days. And, since the new costume is custom-fitted to his paunch, there shouldn't be any problem with the belt. (There's also no Incrediphone, alas, but that's just a detail.)
        • And, since the new costume is custom-fitted to his paunch, there shouldn't be any problem with the belt.

          His suit was NOT custom fitted to his paunch. By the time he asked Edna for a new suit (I got a real kick out of that lady!), he had already been lifting train cars to get rid of it. The scene where he measured his waist was the one that immediately preceded his visit to Edna.
  • Probably the Peak (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DumbSwede (521261) <slashdotbin@hotmail.com> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:27PM (#10747819) Journal
    While The Incredibles is indeed incredible, I was much less impressed with the Jackalope lead in, which I'm guessing was more for the kids as an offset to the more adult story line of The Incredibles itself. Unlike previous Pixar previews, Cars left me cold. I suspect The Incredibles will be the Apex of Pixar and Disney's union. Here's to hoping Pixar going alone will continue to amaze and innovate.

    Ironically, Disney's solo "Chicken Little" looks to be pretty good (previewed at The Incredibles also).

  • by DoorFrame (22108) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:31PM (#10747847) Homepage
    I really enjoyed this movie, but it had a weird streak of Ayn Randism running through it. I actually rather liked that, but each time it caused to step back from the movie a little bit. There were a couple of lines thrown in like "And when everybody's super, then no one is," announced by the bad guy. Or when Dash is told by his parents that everyone is special, he retorts with "that's just a way of saying that nobody is."

    This movie encouraged exceptionalism in a way that was striking for a kid's movie. It actively lobbied against the idea of everybody being unique in their own way, it argued in favor of there being Nietzchi-esque supermen among us who should be lifted up above the masses for the betterment of society.

    Whether or not you like the message, it was kind of fun to see what I was expecting to be a kid's film making an arguement about philosophy. Fun stuff. Good movie.
    • by Alien54 (180860) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:45PM (#10747929) Journal
      This review on the blog Backwards City [blogspot.com] has an interesting take on the Nietzchien implications of the movie.

      Which point is an interesting philosphical problem in itself: the ethical question of what do you do with the gifted in the first place?

    • by KalvinB (205500) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:20PM (#10748646) Homepage
      a lesbian complained that Chasing Amy made it sound as those homosexuality were just a choice and that a lesbian just needed a "deep dicking" to be converted.

      Kevin Smith pointed out that the Jason Lee character said that because his character is so WRONG about everything. Kevin Smith was making a point that such a line of reasoning is WRONG.

      "Syndrome" said that because the idea is WRONG. If were were coming out of Mr Incredible's mouth then it might possibly be construed that Pixar was trying to convince people that were the way things are.

      What made you think that the villian in the movie was the one to pay attention to for some kind of moral lesson? Pixar had Syndrome say those lines because he's the bad guy and HE'S WRONG. Dash says it because he's young and ignorant. And he later finds out he was WRONG. His entire family has special abilities that make them unique.

      All the Incredibles are unique in their own special way. The heros are like that because that is the CORRECT moral lesson Pixar was putting out there.

      Seriously. I can't think of any movie where every character good and bad speaks only moral truths that the audience is supposed to take as correct. This like every other movie ever made has characters which have incorrect world views which are then demonstrated to be wrong by events of the film.

    • by Hizonner (38491) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:31PM (#10748743)

      Ayn Rand is in the movie. Accent, silly cigarette holder, polemics, and all.

      ... but I think people are oversimplifying the message a bit.

    • I liked the movie, and I also liked the moral, that mediocrity is bad, and exceptional people shouldn't be pulled down to everyone else's level.

      What bothered me was the implication that being exceptional is effortless. The super-powered people in the movie are all born "super." In reality, if you want to be a concert violinist, sure, having the optimal genome for a violinist is great, but you're also going to need to practice a heck of a lot. I don't want to make a spoiler, but the scene with the baby near

  • by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:32PM (#10747853) Journal
    While I enjoyed "The Incredibles" very much, I couldn't shake the impression that the movie storyline is just a bit too close to the storyline of the classic Alan Moore graphic novel. "Watchmen" also tell the story of superheroes whose activity was banned by law - thus ending the Golden Age - and they were given new identities by the government just like in the witness protection. Even the idea of portraying the Golden Age and the contemporary narrative in different graphic styles, reflecting differences in aestethics of contemporary graphic novel and 1930's comics is present here - in "Incredibles", we have contemporary CGI animations and hilarious spoofs of "retro" cartoons of the Golden Age.

    I had the opportunity to ask Brad Bird directly about this similarity on "The Incredibles" junkt in Santa Monica. He said he has never read "Watchmen". I believe him, but... it's just too close.
    • by Quarters (18322) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:17PM (#10748114)
      XMen features regulation of mutants by the government as a central theme. The now out of print but still excellent Wild Card series of novels deals with super-heroesque mutations and how the government and the rest of the world deals with them--including segregation and registration.

      The juxtaposition of racism to superhero-ism isn't that hard to conceive...for anyone. Moore's take on it in Watchmen is as good as the rest, but it's not overly unique in any way.

    • by MyHair (589485) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:32PM (#10748235) Journal
      I'm not familiar with Watchmen, but the litigation stopping superheroes and the relocation program seem fairly obvious to me. Not in a bad way.

      For example since I've grown up diving boards are no longer at public pools and playgrounds went from towering slides of metal to rubberized containment rooms. (Due to litigation leading to skyrocketing liability insurance premiums.) In a way the loss of diving boards and tall slides and flying jennies has taken away some feeling of power/exhiliration that hasn't been replaced. Superheroes grounded by legislation seems a logical extension of the concept to me.

      As a kid, when you're different from others you are pressured to conform often to the point of supressing who you think you are. (Actually we get this as adults, too.) The relocation program is a logical implementation of this and humurous when likened to the WPR program.
      • by Saeger (456549)
        I have fond memories of my elementary school's tall metal slide. What the "cool kids" would do -- like me for a brief instant in time -- is go down the icy slide in the winter... balancing ON OUR FEET, like a surfer dood. "So cool man!"

        Would I deny my kids the right to take the same fun risks? Nope. But the safety nazis and their lawyers have already spoken.

        In fact, I bet that ~30ft slide isn't there anymore. I'll have to go back one day to find out.

        --

  • I almost cried (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ballresin (398599) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:34PM (#10747865) Homepage Journal
    The movie was able to jerk emotions out of me much more than expected. I come from a divorced family and there's lots of kids. I somehow had a weak spot for this and it shows when I watch it. Very Very VERY well made. Gotta love Pixar. Don't know what I think about Cars yet. Looks kinda goofy and stupid. But Incredibles' trailers didn't give anything away about the content of the movie either....
  • Saw it last night... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by herko_cl (533936) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:34PM (#10747868)
    ...and I have to agree with the comments so far. The movie is extraordinary, one of the best I've seen so far this year. It may be an even better superhero movie than Spiderman 2, and that's saying a lot.
    The effects are there to help the story along, not to shine by themselves. At lots of times I completely forgot that it was CGI; it's not animation, not live acting, but something in which you can get utterly absorbed. A must-see for any self respecting film geek, Pixar fan, CGI fan, or all of the above.
  • by mughi (32874) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:39PM (#10747892)

    Ever since the early days, one thing that has annoyed me about Pixar is their strange love of over-saturated light. From their early TV commercials on they've had it. The one part of Toy Story I didn't like was that lighting (most often in sunset scenes, etc.), especially since I had just figured out that general problem in some 3D work I had been doing myself at that time and was very attuned to the look.

    However... as the review pointed out, in this picture the lighting is just beautiful. The choices are great, and the look enhances without intruding. Basically it's moved up to being a strong supporting character

  • I'd go see it just for the "Revenge of ths Sith" trailer!

  • My favorite line is when Syndrome (when he is just a boy) after Mr. Incredible telling him "Everyone is special," says "Which means no one is special."

    My biggest issue with the movie was the modeling of the character's ears. It sounds small, but considering how well modeled the rest of the characters' facial features are, the lego-looking ears are really distracting.

    And of course, my favorite thing about the movie was the RotS trailer...
    • The nostrils are the same. Then I thought: action figures. These heroes look like action figures, not actual humans. Hence there isn't a deep hole where the ears and nostrils are.
    • I also noticed the ears as being very toy-like. I thought it was odd that they chose those ears when virtually everything non-human was about 95% realistic.

      The jazz soundtrack was a great idea (to complement the quasi-1960s style cars, architecture, James Bond-esque villain, and other period references) but I thought it could have been a stronger presence in the movie.

      The story itself was compelling enough that I almost wanted to see live action characters. While both Violet and (bad guy's girlfriend?

  • Better than Shrek 2 (Score:3, Informative)

    by GQuon (643387) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:45PM (#10747926) Journal
    Better than Shrek 2, in my opinion.
    The Incredibles has less of the movie spoof scenes, but makes up for it with a more compelling story.
    The pop culture references are mainly about 50s/60s era super-heroes, but you won't miss it once the story gets going.
  • by MajorBlunder (114448) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:47PM (#10747944)
    I too saw the move at a late showing last night. I found it thoroughly enjoyable in all respects. The story was great, the acting (both vocal and animated) was supurb, and the effects were spectacular. I agree with the review in that while I would have no hesitations in bringing children to see this movie, it is not a "kids movie." There are some very mature themes in this movie that deal with family dynamics, middle age crisis, and the use of force/violence.

    One of my favorite parts of the movie (spoiler alert) is when Elastigirl is talking to her children while hiding from the bad guys in a cave and warning them:

    "You know those Saturday morning cartoons you used to watch? Well the bad guys here are not like that. They will not exercize restraint just because you're children. They will kill you if they can."


    Again, while I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, I have a sinking fear that Disney is going turn this into another franchise that they will milk for all its worth. Until it has none of the spark which makes this movie so enjoyable.

  • I loved it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by catdevnull (531283) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:51PM (#10747968)

    I think there is something silly about the critics (and wanna be critics) finding funny faults with something that isn't "so believable" about movies like this.

    You can suspend disbelief about the super strength, the elasticity, the super speed, and invisibilty of cartoon characters but you have a hard time with they straw-man villain of the story?

    Hello?

    It's called "EN-TER-TAIN-MENT" --say it with me.

    Save that kind of criticism for Start Wars: Revenge of the Sith

    :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 07, 2004 @03:51PM (#10747970)
    Undoubtedly the best Pixar movie yet. Sure, it has beautiful visuals and a great story, but there is something layered much deeper than hit right with me while I was watching it.

    I think it's the message.

    In public schools, kids who are incredibly intelligent and wish to progress forward in learning are discouraged to do so because it would be "unfair" and what have you. Because of that, they are sent down to the same classes as those who are, to put the bluntly, stupid(or just not as gifted).

    It's the same thing in this movie, the unique(or "super") are sent down to live with those who they were once helping because they don't want it anymore.

    Now MAYBE I'm just reading too much into something that isn't there, but it sounds like it is a metaphor for an ignorant populace that no longer wants to be helped by ones who can, which could be a metaphor for those who are creative and intelligent. Essentially, scientists and engineers(and the combinations of the two).

    They all celebrate mediocrity and everyone being the same. It's a rather socialist point of view, and the Incredibles finally pull themselves out of their stuper and go back to helping mankind.

    That's my view on it. Which is why I'm going to go see it again.
    And again.

    Many, many times over.
  • The phone number on the Mirage business card appeared to be a real 866 number - anyone get it?
  • probably because I was in a theatre with kids.

    Evil Minion: Let's take a shot evertime we see people run.

    Adult humor in a Pixar film, now that's comedy.
  • by AaronBS (685204) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:01PM (#10748031)
    Another hidden gem in this movie is Wallace Shawn (Vizzini from The Princess Bride) as "Bob Parr's" boss in the insurance company. Fortunately, his role includes the lightning quick monologues that he's famous for.
  • ...has been posted to my journal [terrania.us], for what it's worth.
  • ... is that he is truly a nerd. Small wonder that Michael has a problem with him. I felt the same way about it. Nevertheless, the best Pixar flick I've ever seen.
  • I went with some three year olds and it is a bit violent. Kind of like the other Brad Bird film The Iron Giant, everything is awesomely rendered, great story, but then things start blowing up. People really seem to get hurt in this one and it's made quite clear the bad guy really means to kill to family. It's not like most cartoons or toy story, where you know they can't really get hurt.

    Especially when the invisble girl is being hunted by a guy with a machine gun...
  • by (void*) (113680) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:28PM (#10748195)
    Comic book aficionados might recognise it, but "The Incredibles" is an origin tale. That it, it tells the story of the origin of The Incredibles. Most origin stories start with the hero not having powers, and then supply the powers and their motivations to be a hero. This origin tale does it differently, anchors in the family-themed element right at the center of the story.


    I really want to see Pixar do more stories of The Incredibles. But please, not so many that they become mediocre.

  • by yerdaddie (313155) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @04:39PM (#10748296) Homepage
    The movie is really clever in how it visually references other films. Particullary good was a portion of the film which is a shot-by-shot remake of the Rocket bike chase in Return of the Jedi [miami.edu]. It also spoofs You Only Live Twice in some really humorous ways too. In short, good movie for film nerds.
  • Please (Score:4, Funny)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:18PM (#10748638)
    I haven't seen the movie yet, although I plan to this week, but would one of you, any of you, PLEASE say something negative about this movie? Anything. Seeing dozens (nay, hundreds) of Slashdotters all agreeing with each other all at the same time is disconcerting at best, and frankly is scaring the hell out of me.
    • Lip synching? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MachDelta (704883) on Monday November 08, 2004 @04:11AM (#10752679)
      One thing I think Pixar has yet to perfect is speech. If you watch closely when the characters are talking, some of their lip movements seem stiff, or too simplified for what they're pronouncing. I think part of it might be under use of the tongue, or lack of depth on the lips... it's really hard to say. I know its a really difficult thing to pull off flawlessly, but I did notice it a couple times (like when Violet calls her brother a "little insect", it sounds like it was said through clenched teeth, but the character onscreen opens her jaw wide for the E). I wonder if Pixar ever records video of the actors pronouncing their lines at the recording studio... it might be handy in better matching the characters lips to the actors accents. Anyone know?

      Either way though, its just a little nitpicking. Overall the movie was fabulous. I enjoyed it a lot!
  • by James Lewis (641198) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:21PM (#10748662)
    I don't fully agree with everything the reviewer said, so I thought I'd just point a few things out.

    "It's clear that Pixar didn't have the chops prior to this film to do action sequences, because prior to this, the feeling of moving in a three dimensional space just wasn't there."

    I don't see how you can make that argument. Video games, which have long been focused solely on action, and are far behind the quality seen in this film, have been doing action quite successfully for a long time now. If anything, action is MORE suited to poorer quality graphics, because everything whizzes by so fast you don't have time to notice any details. For the stylized cartoonish animation that Pixar does, the technological enhancements really aren't that noticeable anymore. I think Pixar is reaching a point of diminishing returns here... which isn't bad, it's just to say that things are just about as good as they are going to get doing this sort of cartoon animation.

    "Previous Pixar films have been consummate kids movies, movies so well made, and so funny that parents could enjoy them. And there are even a few adult gags the kids might not get. "The Incredibles" is a completely different tack. "The Incredibles" is an action movie, first and foremost, one of the best of the current crop of superhero films. Then it is a family film second, and a kids movie third, if at all."

    I mostly agree with this. While I think that this movie would be very entertaining to children, they weren't it's focus. The movie was told from the perspective of the parents, with the children being the supporting characters. A lot of the issues that the parents deal with will fly over the heads of the children, which is ironic in a sense, as you see the same thing happening to the child characters in the movie. Still, it should be made clear that this movie doesn't really go any further than that, and most likely couldn't and remain a kid's movie. Non of the adult characters are really faced with any complex situations or moral dilemmas. There's a firm line between good and evil. Things go down a rather predictable path. Things are spelled out mostly and little left to our intuition. So don't go to the movie expecting anything like that. The ADD kids will have their attention kept by the action, and the ADD adults will have their attention kept by their identification with the adult characters and jokes (ya and the action too =P).

    The movie's mixture of family interactions and superheros almost always works, but is slightly shakey with its villain Syndrome. He's got great lines, a good backstory, and a perfectly over the top performance from Jason Lee, but something just doesn't quite work, and that's the first time I've ever said that about a Pixar flick. But in the end it doesn't matter. So much works here, that the little stuff gets washed away.

    OK to discuss this I'm going to have to throw out a few spoilers here, so you should probably stop reading here. I think his character worked quite well... for a kids movie. He was a two dimensional villain, [SPOILER] which was somewhat disappointing given that they had taken the time to make him be a childhood fan of Mr. Incredible. It almost looked like they were leading up to a sympathetic villain, but then decided they wanted a very firm line between good and evil in this movie. If perhaps they had made Mr. Incredible more at fault for Syndrome's turn to evil, and have Syndrome struggle a bit more instead of being totally evil, he could have been made into a more interesting character. It would also have been nice to show a change in Mr. Incredible, from a young man who didn't really like children or understand them, to a father. They could have made Syndrome's attack on the city not be a totally evil move, but rather have his intention to be to put on a show and be a hero (with the attitude of collateral damage being just "breaking a few eggs"), and the machine goes out of control. Take out his serial killing of heroes, and he might be able to be a villain you could have s

    • by FroBugg (24957) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:30PM (#10749187) Homepage
      They could have made Syndrome's attack on the city not be a totally evil move, but rather have his intention to be to put on a show and be a hero (with the attitude of collateral damage being just "breaking a few eggs"), and the machine goes out of control.

      **SPOILERS**

      Did you watch the movie? That's exactly what did happen. Syndrome wasn't trying to kill random innocents or take over the world, he was trying to make a name for himself as a hero. Once he was a hero, he wanted to use his technology to eliminate the edge heroes had over the common man.

      I thought he was a rather sympathetic character. The wanton killing of earlier heroes in developing his machines was a bit much, but everything he did was a backlash against Mr. Incredible's original rejection of him.

      Syndrome's character was defined by his anger over the treatment of the common man (particularly himself) by heroes. He took things way too far, but his goals do make a modicum of sense.
  • by Tildedot (137711) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:31PM (#10748747)
    Okay, I've seen it twice already, and (damn!) have to go again with my wife tonight. I simply can not believe the talent and insight that Pixar brings to the medium.

    GEEK ALERT
    So, the thing that really stands out for me is the slight "involuntary" movement of the eyes when Mr. Incredible is listenting to his wife. It's about half-way through the film.

    It's subtle. He's looking at her. Then, there's the smallest of movements of his eyes when she speaks...and he's looking at her. Seriously, he's watching her speak.

    It's just so lifelike...a tiny, delicate detail... that it absolutely blows my mind. I got a cool chill when I noticed it, like the first time I saw 'Al' the toy collector, sleeping on the couch in Toy Story 2. So very "real", extremely cool.

    And as for the preview for Cars, hey, I liked it! My son will probably enjoy it, he really digs that stuff!
  • Very Enjoyable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Raven (30575) * on Sunday November 07, 2004 @05:33PM (#10748764) Homepage
    I was not let down. I keep waiting for the first Pixar flop or let-down... and I'm still waiting. To be honest, the car movie doesn't look all that interesting to me, but I'm perfectly willing to give it a chance.

    I enjoyed how they portrayed the mothers domestic use of her powers. Elastigirl makes the best use of her powers through the movie I think, in many various ways. A superfamily trying to be normal... perhaps not the most original premise, but very well executed and hilarious nonetheless.

    You can tell when someone makes excellent characters... you want to see more of them. You wish there was a longer movie, or a sequal, or something. And at the end of this movie, I was very much wanting to see Incredibles 2.

    But... I am glad to say that there's a good chance we'll never see that. Pixar is very good about creating a new world with every movie... Toy Story 2 was a mandate from Disney, not a Pixar choice. And there's no real need to revisit the Incredibles... their story is done. I just loved the story, the world, and the delivery... impeccable.

    I'm a Pixar fanboy, I admit. :-)
    • Re:Very Enjoyable (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rdean400 (322321) on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:10PM (#10749040)
      Toy Story 2 was a mandate from Disney

      Actually, it wasn't a mandate so much as a request. However, Disney screwed Pixar on the contract by saying that TS2 couldn't count against the number of movies on the agreement. This is what really caused the wedge to form between Disney and Pixar.

      Also, I think we will see a The Incredibles 2, but it will be done by Disney (as apparently is their right under contract...expect Monsters Inc 2 and Finding Nemo 2 also, along with other soulless Disney rip-offs of itself and Pixar).
  • note to parents (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kpharmer (452893) * on Sunday November 07, 2004 @06:03PM (#10748997)
    If you were thinking about bringing an infant or toddler, please don't.

    This isn't "Finding Nemo" - it has people getting killed. It shows parental fear & inability to protect children. Scarey stuff for a four or five year old.

    I saw (and thoroughly enjoyed) the film yesterday, but it was partly spoiled by screaming babies. If you're the couple at the Colo Springs showing with four kids under five, that allowed the one baby to cry continuously - please don't do that to a theater again. Next time someone might say something awkward to you. Like "hey man, go be a dad".

    And next time, don't assume that because something's animated it's great for kids.
  • by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Sunday November 07, 2004 @08:53PM (#10750362) Homepage Journal
    The Incredibles is the first superhero movie that I have seen where the super powers were 'just right'. Usually powers are given that are so great that the either the hero 'forgets' to use them at a critical moment (which annoys me to no end... "you know, if he remembered that he could see through walls he would have caught the bad guy an hour ago") or arbitrary reasons have to be invented to prevent them from being used ("oh, the pseudoultramicroneutroniatron field is stopping your super powers again? guess we have to do things the hard way"). In this movie each individual power was not enough to overcome every obstacle, and every power was used to its fullest to overcome each obstacle, singly or via teamwork. As I walked out of the movie I remarked to a friend that I did not notice a single time in the movie where a power was stupidly forgotten or otherwise kept out of the action.

The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it. -- E. Hubbard

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