‘Incredibles’ fun for all ages
Ever since Pixar paired up with Disney a decade ago, well, the little Bay Area company that could is making quite a dent in the Hollywood market on its own. After this project they may be going off on their own. For years it seemed liked only Disney had the market cornered when it came to anything animated, but lately they have been yielding to other studios such as Dreamscape and soon Pixar.
I have noticed that even animated films can be appealing to both the kids and adults without sacrificing integrity. One only need to see the “Shrek” movies to see that animation can be entertaining and smart, too, when it comes to the story. The story in “The Incredibles” is very humorous and something that parents will probably get a kick out of, along with single folks with no kids.
Where do superheroes go when they retire from the business? Do they change careers? What happens when the entire family is a group of superheroes? Meet Bob Paar (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), alias Mr. Incredible – defender of the good. He has been saving the public from those who would cause harm for years, such as crooks, petty types and all those bottom feeders in society. Unfortunately, some of the people he saved have filed grievances against him seeking damages of unspecified amounts. Now, when was the last time we had lawsuits against the good guys, let alone superheroes? Oh wait – this is America, so I guess it is to be expected. Deep pockets reside in the garments of a caped crusader. Who knew? At any rate, the family of do-gooders here (known as “The Incredibles”) have to be placed into the Witness Protection program to protect them from a past nemesis. No, not the lawyers, although who knows? Times are tough.
This premise is very amusing. Art imitating life.
The rest of the family consists of former superhero wife, Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter), formerly Elastigirl, and their three children: Violet, Dash, and Jack Jack. And what occupation does a superhero aspire to? An insurance-claims adjuster! Now, the idea that any superhero would “retire” to a normal existence I find humorous. The fact that the central character is an animated comic book hero having to hide out seems not right. They never get hurt, so why hide? Never bothered the coyote every time he went over that cliff, so what up? And, if that wasn’t enough, over time it becomes apparent that Mr. Incredible doesn’t exactly watch his carb intake and winds up looking more like a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade than a superhero here.
Writer/director Brad Bird has a creative way of making things seem natural, especially when it comes to our aging heroes. This from the same guy who gave us TV’s “The Critic” and was also executive consultant for several “Simpsons” specials. If you blink, you may miss many of the inside jokes here that are sure to please the adults. The animation is very good, if a bit over-produced at times, but the action scenes are very entertaining. Not going to mention any specifics, but suffice to say each family member has a unique talent, and combined with the animation, it’s pretty impressive.
The message is a positive one for the children, too, that love conquers all enemies and that bad guys never win. The usual stuff.
This is Pixar’s first PG-rated movie, because there are a few moments where the family is placed in harm’s way, so the little ones might be scared for a brief moment, but nothing that takes away from the entire picture. Those who are real fans of the genre are going to make a comparison with the characters in this movie and those from a certain Marvel Comics family called “The Fantastic Four.” I could totally geek out here and say that there are similarities with some of Brad’s other creations from television, but you know what? Just enjoy the picture for what it is. Your kids certainly will.
– Howie Nave is host/manager of The Improv Comedy Club inside Harveys and reviews films for seven radio stations throughout northern California and Nevada. He hosts his own comedy and movie show every Friday and Sunday on Tahoe’s KRLT radio.